Designing my own planet

Asked to design my own planet, the first thing that came to mind was to design a planet with life that I can control and observe from the outside. It would be something similar to having my own personal aquarium or pet zoo of sorts. As tempting as it were, I thought of designing a planet that I would be able to inhabit with my friends and family when I wanted to. Like a home away from home, a planet away from this planet. This meant that I would have to have a planet that would be able to sustain life in a manner similar to Earth. While it would be fun to have it in a different manner, it wouldn’t be so much more fun to relax entire weekends in a space suit. For this to happen, we would need a planet with a similar atmosphere.

I quickly rubbished the idea that any size of a planet could have an atmosphere. I mean look at the Moon. While not a planet, it is however a body smaller than Earth. It doesn’t have enough gravitational force to hold an atmosphere. A planet can only have an atmosphere if the escape velocity is larger than the atmospheric gasses’ molecules. The escape velocity of Earth is 11.2 km/s, which means that something must be travelling at least that fast to escape the gravitational field.

Now Escape Velocity is calculated by the equation Ve=sqrt (2GM/R)
where G = Gravitational constant, M=Mass, and R=radius of the planet

For a sustainable atmosphere, we would need the Gas Velocity to be less than this Ve.

Gas Velocity Vg=sqrt (3kT/m)
Where k = Boltzmann constant, T is the minimum temperature in Kelvin, and m is the mass of the gas molecule.

Since I want a habitable planet I believe that a difference of ten times would be sufficient.

On comparing 10*Vg=Ve to calculate, we have to unknowns M & R. Since I want to have a planet similar to Earth, I can give a value to M. A quick reminder of high school science: Density = Mass/volume. We know the average density of Earth is 5.52 gm/cm cubed. We also that that the volume of a sphere is (4/3)*Pi*R^3. This gives us a value for M as 23122.12*R^3.

We can now compare Vg and Ve to get an approximate value of 2845 kms. This would mean that my planet would need to be at least of a radius of this size to have a sustainable atmosphere.

Now that I have a lower limit on my planet size, I began to think of a higher limit. If I had a larger radius, I would have more mass. This would mean more gravity. Not only would more gravity make it more difficult to walk and move around, it would affect my future generations should I choose to move to the planet for good. You see, the more gravitational force a planet has, the shorter will be the beings born on it. It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, as the heart would have to face lesser resistance against the gravity to pump blood to the top most part of the being. It would cause the great grandkids of my great grand kids (I really don’t know how many generations would have to be born for it to make a noticeable change) to be short and stocky.

Now that the planet size has been finalized. I do want my planet to be different from Earth in one particular way. The days and years on Earth are defined based on Earth’s rotation on its own axis, and its revolution around the sun. Instead of having just one sun, I want two. I would have 1 large sun around which a smaller sun revolves, and my planet would revolve around this smaller sun. Quite like how the Moon revolves around the Earth which revolves around the Sun.

Earth is habitable also on account of its magnetosphere. The molten metal core of the Earth generates a magnetic field that protects us from much of the harmful particles of the Solar wind. Since I will have two suns, the planet would need a magnetic core sufficient to create a protective layer against both. Of course this would need to take into account the size of both the suns, the distance of the smaller sun from the larger, the distance of my planet from both, their orbits, and what is the safest habitable zone for my planet from them.

As much as I did read upon it, I couldn’t calculate these aspects and ended up with a headache. Sigh, my planet design will have to be a work in progress for now.

Written for the “Interplanet Janet” Open Prompt at Project 365.

Thanks to Robert Frost’s answer at Quora for solving the equations, without which I would spend a good five more minutes doing the math. 

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Dear Tejaswee

Dear Tejaswee,
One of the few letters that I have been absolutely certain about writing since I read about the challenge, is this one. It is truly sad that we didn’t talk while you were still alive. It’s not that I didn’t know that you existed, I did read bits about on your mother’s blog and that was all of it. I know that there are many of us who would love to have known you from before, and it makes me wonder. Would you like have been different had so many different people been your friends? Would it be different enough, for you to have been here right now, causing me to write this letter to someone else entirely?

I still remember that night when I got the call from Shail Di. I was walking back to my desk from the office canteen when I answered her phone. Something about that call made me feel anxious, and I wondered if something had happened to someone I know. She told me in a very broken tone that you had passed away. Back then, a bunch of us were following your updates on your mom’s Google Buzz. I knew that you had not been well, and were later admitted to the hospital with Dengue. We had hoped that you would recover.

It is after this call that I started reading your blog. There are still times when I find myself reading your blog, knowing that there will be no new posts, but still chuckling at the ones that you had written. One of my fondest posts, is actually from your mom’s blog. She wrote about how you wanted something ‘nice’ to eat which would also be something unhealthy. She tried to offer all sorts of ‘healthy’ stuff like milk instead. Mothers, I know 😛 But you got it right, the unhealthy foods taste so yum. I want to high-five you for that.

Has anyone told you that animals love you? While pets do love their family members, what you shared with Proton and Sher Khan was just marvelous. One look at the lot of you together, and it is obvious that there is a special bond. A part of me is a little bit jealous too, seeing the way Sher Khan bonded with you. Isn’t he such an adorable cat?

The letter that you wrote to your future daughter, is one of the most beautiful pieces that I have ever read. It has such a free flow of emotions to it. I think why this letter is special, is the fact that you wrote it when you were a teenager yourself on the cusp of adulthood yourself. You wrote it in a manner that made one relate to their own life, and what they would like to have from someone older than them at such a point in their life.

You wanted to adopt a girl. It was your one resolution that you knew wouldn’t be broken. Now, a girl has a loving family because of you. A family where she will be loved and cherished as much as you were. Your legacy 🙂

Love,
Hrishikesh

Tejaswee Rao is the daughter of IHM. Fondly called TJ by friends, she died from complications as a result of Dengue. You can read the posts she wrote at her lovely blog. This letter was written as part of the 30 days 30 letters prompt: A letter to A Deceased person you wish you could talk to.

Dear (Ex) Roomie

Dear (Ex) Roomie,

While I’ve had many roommates over the years, you were the last one I shared an apartment with. It was an odd turn of events that I spoke to a common friend about wanting to shift to a different part of the city because I didn’t want to live alone, when we didn’t even know that we existed. Two meetings later, we had moved in together because we were looking for a new place. What followed was years of companionship and endless talks.

In spite of our initial observations of each other, it wasn’t difficult to start talking. Once we got on talking, one topic would lead to another and we would end up forgetting what we had started off in the first place. While it is rare to have this with someone, it is rarer to have it on for the amount of time we did. And I can say this from my experience of having gone through roommates. Compound to this the fact of our wide difference of beliefs and you have got some interesting conversations.

Of course I put up a lot with you because you routinely got me chocolates, the cookies from Karachi Bakery, jawbreakers and those big lollipops with swirls in them. I also like to think that you put with me because you were basking in the awesomeness that is me. There might be a difference of opinion on your part about that, but then that is ok. You must be confused by all the awesomeness that I speak of 😛

I fondly remember the nights we spent at Barista. Sometimes they would have loads of conversations while we sat on the ledge outside with our backs to the glass, and the other times we would spend time inside with hot chocolate by your side, and latte by mine; reading our own books instead.

It’s of course ironical that we don’t share apartments now is the opposite of the reasons that I moved in, that I want to live alone now. When under the same roof, we would always run into each other even with different work timings. Now that it doesn’t happen, we will catch up with dinner sometime this week then.

 

Written for the 30 days 30 letters prompt: A letter to someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like to

 

Dear Bindu kun & Pixie

Dear Bindu kun,

I wrote a letter to you some time ago, because I had a brand new fountain pen and ink flowed from it so smoothly that I couldn’t help but write. Now that I am doing this blog challenge, I cannot help but write this as well.

We met as fellow members of a book group which I was inducted in to by my lovely sister after I had sent her a book. There are so many ways it could have not happened. It could have been a different book, or sent a different time, or perhaps she could have graduated to a Kindle sooner, or might have missed out her morning tea that day, but certain set of events took place in the right order, with the right people for me to have found you.

I have said this before, and I will say it again that I am in awe of you. How you are able to manage work, a family, consuming books with that voracious appetite of yours, and cook is beyond me at times. Particularly when I struggle with something like making Maggi on certain work days. While we are on the topic of food, the pictures of your weekend kitchen are just not fair. Nuh uh. How do you expect us to sit on this side of the screen, and look at all the delicious cakes you bake, and stews you simmer? The only silver lining is that we don’t have it as tough as your immediate neighbors who even have to manage with sounds and aroma of the food being prepared. Well boo-hooo for them.

Do you know that you’re the person who’ sent me the most number of books? I liked the irony of you having sent American Gods and Religion for Atheists together 😛 . Oh and the cake and cookies you sent around new year’s were absolutely yum. One of the few rare moments that my friends or colleagues were explicitly forbidden (and I saw to it) from having even a single bite of the load. I had it all for myself. My precious.

When we do meet, I am looking forward to your cooking the most. I want to take in the sights and sounds of you getting about to making food. I have always believed that cooking for someone, is converting your thoughts and feelings for them into something physical, and then sharing it with them. I am sure I would end up licking something shamelessly 😀

Thank you for the food, the books, and the friendship.
Love,

Count Santulan

 

 

Dear Pixie,

For someone who got so involved in naming a rat snake that liked to say hi to the sister of mine, you don’t like the crawlies so much. But they’re so cute, no? Scuttling towards you just to say hi or hug you 😛 . Ok, I will digress from this topic lest you get tempted to want to punch me. Not that you don’t have reasons already 😀

Someday, when I have saved enough money to, I would like to make a trip to your place. I would like to sleep in at your place at least once, so that I can wake up early and kick you awake, or just yank off the covers if I am feeling kind. On second thoughts, I might prod you with a stick instead so that you didn’t kick me when I do wake you up. Or we can let you sleep in peace if you’re willing to bribe me by making Akki roti and hot rasam. Yeah, that should work out real well 😀

You’re another person who’s like family but we haven’t met in the flesh yet. Had we been in the same city, I would be eating a number of meals at your place. Or call in with ice cream at impromptu times, because ice cream.  Then you would tell me off on how so much ice cream is not good for me, and would end up eating half of it so that I don’t have to eat all of it. Such a generous soul you are 😛

But seriously, you’re the person who genuinely cares about people in your life in a manner that is not over bearing, and makes one feel warm from the inside. When you do get here, I can dump a bunch of books at your place for you to read. Personal recommendations from my personal collection, that I think you’d like to read.

Thank you for sending me pictures of the creepy crawlies that you meet on your walks (and in turn creeping out your husband in the process). I promise to treat you to puffs and patisseries when we meet.

Love,

Hrishi

 

 

Written for the 30 Days 30 Letters prompt: A letter to someone you wish you could meet. Other bloggers can add their links to the linky below:


 

Dear B

B is an entirely different person from D, whom I wrote to here. I will use B instead of her name for confidentiality reasons.

 

Dear B,

I remember writing a status update quite some time ago in which I was ‘A’ and you were ‘B’. The status was about how much A likes B among other people, and sometime later you addressed yourself as B in our chats. It wasn’t that I hadn’t expected you to get it, but your mentioning it in such a nonchalant manner made me smile.

I had expressed my feelings to you online in one of our chats, since you were in a different city. You replied that you love me like a friend. The feeling sunk in after I woke up the next morning and was having a bath. I felt a strange sense of frustration a punched the bucket of hot water really hard, which caused the hot water to spill over me. It brought an important realization to me, about me and you that made me laugh the very next moment. I had seen a bunch of guys, some of them my friends go from loving to hating someone in the snap of fingers because they had refused to reciprocate the feelings.

And here I was, doing the same. I realized that as much as it would seem natural, I couldn’t bring myself to hate you. I liked you because of who you are, and the fact that you were being yourself, only made you appreciate you even more. The idea that you don’t feel for somebody just because they feel the same for you, seemed so unnatural all of a sudden.

After all these days, I never find it uncomfortable talking with you. I still feel the urge to send you a picture of the yummy spicy paneer wrap from Goodies, when I pass it. I remember your reaction the first time I told you about it, and rubbed it in your face that you don’t have a Goodies café in your city. Well, it didn’t help that they would be out of the wrap for the next entire week whenever I would go to the café, so I am afraid of that happening again. 😛

One of the fondest memories that I have was of when we had been to chocolate room. We talked, talked, and talked to no ends. We laughed so heartedly, I am surprised that no one asked us to tone it down. One of the few times when I lost track of what I had ordered, how hungry I was.

Many people do say what we have as you friendzoning me. I don’t understand why the term is used in such a derogatory manner. On the other hand, there were times when I worried that I had relationship-zoned you, put you in an awkward situation where someone you are great friends with, asks you out, and you have an awkward moment thinking of how to respond. If I could take it all back, then I would. However that would mean taking back some of the memories I have of us, and our conversations we have had since. I remember how we spoke the peace that comes from coming back home tired and just spend the night staring at the stars. The idea of it made you so happy.

Here’s to more conversations, and memories till we meet next time. It goes without saying that you have to get me chocolates.

 

Written for the 30 Days 30 Letters prompt: A letter to your Ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/love/crush. Other bloggers can the links to their posts in the linky below:

 

Dear Old man who sat next to me on the bus

Dear Old man who sat next to me on the bus,
Of course I don’t know if you actually read my blog, because I never mentioned my blog in our conversation in the bus. If by some means you did stumble upon my blog, neither of us do know for sure that it is the other person on the other side of the screen. Maybe this letter is something that might hit a familiar chord with you.

You and I met on a bus ride from Ahmedabad to Baroda one evening years ago. The bus was incredibly slow and took almost twice the time it normally takes. Both of us could have still not had had this conversation, had my mobile not been on low battery. I generally keep my earphones on, or use some app if I am not sleeping on the bus. On account of not having a good charge, I pulled out a book from my bag. I still remember that it was ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by ‘Ayn Rand’.

You could have kept to yourself but luckily for us, your curiosity got the better of you. You asked me with wonder how people of my age were reading the book. I confess that my initial feeling was that of contempt, primarily at the idea of being disturbed by a stranger while I was reading. However, better sense prevailed, and I told you that this book had been a recommendation from my mentor. He had in fact repeatedly insisted that I do read it.

While we did discuss the book, as to why I liked it and why you didn’t, you began to ask me about my job. It was a different manner in which you asked questions. We discussed processes, systems and control mechanisms. How the cost spent quality control ends up more than paying for itself in the long run, and what your personal experiences had been about it from your time at your own work place.

To this day, it remains one of the freest flowing discussion I have ever had with a stranger. Thank you, for the conversation that day. Thank you for the time that felt that it passed faster than it did, and for the re-assurance that not all old people who chat with you have marriage or settling down to discuss.

 

 

I wrote this for the 30 days 30 letters prompt: A letter to a stranger. Other bloggers can add the links to their posts in the linky below:

Dear Dreamworld of mine

Dear Dreamworld,

Thank you for being there. For someone (or something) that isn’t a sentient being which I may address, I sure have a lot of thanks to give. Like just now, I had fallen asleep without planning or realizing. I was having a dream which had me in the same universe as The Mentalist TV show. The realization that I was in the universe of a fictional character, made me wake up. I have woken quite a few times like this when I have been sleeping when I shouldn’t have all because I realized that I am in a dream. So there’s a thank you for letting me be on time for this letter 😀

As something that is a part of my sub-conscious, you’re very important me. Not that I remember all or most of my dreams, but what I do remember of my time spent in you, is very important to me. I have had very scary nightmares, but when I do go ‘astray’ or do something that I do not want or believe to be wrong, you are there to show up with it and make me feel all uneasy about it. For it is worth, it helps me wipe dust off my own moral mirror and get a clearer picture of myself. At worst, I have woken up in a nervous sweat to realize how bad I was doing.

There is however one particular moment for which I will be eternally grateful to you. This was months ago, and I had begun to get very close to a particular woman whom we know as B. A frequent dream would be about B and me having dinner and some form of attack or invasion taking place. While it started with humans, it went to be more dramatic with armies, aliens, and supernatural elements. In it in self, there is nothing spectacular about that. I read online that it is common to have such dreams, particularly for men about women. Initially, I thought the only manner it stood out was about the manner I dealt with the attack to save her, and began to display an array of super human abilities to do so.

However, in this particular dream while the same thing was happening, everything paused and I was able to have a moment of clarity in which I spoke to myself. Dream me, was able to converse the inner conscience me. I am still amazed as to how I was able to have this conversation, particularly since it involved having two versions of me speak to each other as corporal manifestations. I asked myself the point of these dreams, and proceeded to answer that it was all manner of showing how much I cared for her by showing that I would want to defend her.

In this conversation in dream land, I told how I don’t want my feelings and care for her to be defined by me defending her particularly because it was me who was imagining different situations for her to be defended from. I was putting her in danger to defend her to show what I felt. It was then I realized how much I was de-valuating her by defining her as someone who would constantly need me instead of me liking her for being her own independent self. That was when I realized the extent of the feelings I had for her, and my own internal double standards.

For that one particular dream, and the realizations that followed, I want to give you a big thank you. It’s not that I am not otherwise grateful for you being there for me. Apart from getting to do so many things in my dreams that I wouldn’t get to otherwise, you act as a mirror to who I am, and what I have become.

 

 

Written for the 30 days 30 letters prompt: A letter to your dreams. Other bloggers can add the links to their posts for this prompt in the linky below:

Dear Carrot Tyrant

I came across Shail Mohan in my early days of blogging around 2005 or 2006. Back then we used to blog on Yahoo! 360 (which was sadly shut down by the folks at Yahoo!). One of my early memories is that of her coming in my dream as a lecturer in college, who proceeded to order me to eat carrots as they are good for eyes. You may call her the Carrot Tyrant for that, but be prepared for any red bricks that come flying your way.

Dear Shail Di,

When I first saw you on 360, you came across as a person who was generous in the use of virtual red bricks. Soon my curiosity got the better of me, and I started frequenting your blog more. One thing lead to another, and a friend request later you were my adopted blog sister. And what fun times we’ve had since then.

I guess I was lucky that your (formerly) bald sister was in Baroda, which mean we could meet when you made your trips to the city. I loved the dosas you made for me. Having someone cook for you is such a delight, which is why those dosas were extra yum. Come think of it, it was my first trip to Baroda when I came to meet you.

Meeting her in person for the first time
Meeting her in person for the first time

 

What was even better that when you came back again, I had a job. This meant that if I couldn’t host you in my kitchen, I could at least take you out for food. I remember that you didn’t have ice cream, I should probably have had your share instead 😛 .

shailsev

But apart from the meeting in person, what we’ve really bonded over has been our conversations. I think you’re responsible for a chunk of my views changing when it comes to feminism. Reading your blog in the early days, made me see things that were so obvious but were either hiding in plain sight, or what I was choosing to be conveniently blind to.

I love your devotion to photography. I now know the names and identification of some birds because of the pictures you take. It is actually refreshing to see someone put in time and effort like this out of choice and not because they have to do it. You’re so lovely that you even brave out to take pictures of chameleons for me, in spite of the fact that you think that they’re icky at best.

When people say that family is not just blood, they are right. We’re example of the family we choose. I have always felt a form of kinship with you in a manner that you’re one of the few select people that I feel strongly about. Which is why I write this letter to you, the closest someone I have to a sibling.

With Love,

Count Santulan.

PS: I am not going to stop with sharing spiders on your wall any time soon. You’re going to have to put up with that for longer 😛

 

Written for 30 days 30 letters prompt: A letter to your sibling (or closest relative).

Other bloggers can share the links to their posts in the linky below:

Dear Pins & Ashes

I met Pins And Ashes in the comments section of one of my blog friends. We got along after we started talking about Cadbury Silk on her then blog post, which only had her mention it once it.
Dear PnA,

First of all, I want a Silk now. It’s almost 12 in the night, and I am craving for something sweet. The fact that I am too lazy and go get some from the store is another thing 😛 . It has been so much fun in this ride together. The times spent on chat, Whatsapp, group chats and phone were fun. What was even more fun was to have finally met you in person. I should however be thankful that I made it out of meeting you without being punched 😛

The idea of a best friend has always been interesting. The idea that a person gets along so well with another is so comforting at times. I should have realized this when you spent comments describing in detail the Silk you were eating, while I was reading that particular post. When we’re not talking about food, we still have so many things to talk about. I think this is why when we did meet in person, it wasn’t like meeting someone for the first time, but like meeting an old friend instead.

I think what I cherish is the manner in which we click together. One such moment that I am going to remember is when I was travelling from Ahmedabad to Baroda and we were chatting in a group chat and you told me that you’d message me in Baroda. What followed was a discussion about a secret trip that you had planned to Baroda, and the places we would hang out at. All this just to have fun and make others jealous. It wasn’t something that we had planned on, but something that spontaneously came to us both.

For a long time, I had been wondering what I would write to you in this letter. It is now that I realize that I am at this loss of words because we’ve never shied from telling something to the other at face (or screen). Which is why I think that there isn’t something ‘new’ for me to write to you that I wouldn’t express to you in one of our chats.

Love,

Someone who shares your love for chocolates.

Other bloggers who are participating can add their links to this linky:

30 Days 30 Letters

Letter writing was the best part about English exams in school. Apart from the fact that they carried the most marks for the least amount of effort, they offered me a chance to get creative in an otherwise short and boring exam paper. Where else could I ramble to the municipality about the dangers posed by the mosquito infestation I had made up because the society gutter had begun to over flow. I could write letters to my cousins making them jealous of the fictional snow ball fights I was having in Shimla while they had to make do with the annual weeklong trip to the beach.

There is truth to the fact that a vast majority of letters that I have written have been for official purposes, and most communications with family or friends being relegated to phone calls, chats, or the occasional odd email (which was to plan a time to come on chat). Of course nothing has ever stopped me from actually writing letters or emails to people, but I never came around to doing it.

During one of my searches for a quote, I came across a blog (which sadly no longer exists) and found that that particular post was a letter written as part of a prompt or writing challenge. This is when I came to know of the 30 days 30 letters challenge, where you write a letter a day for 30 days. Each day is associated with a different person. Some days are for specific people like your parents and some for people that you would associate with a feeling or emotion, like a person you miss the most. The list for the 30 days is:

1 – Your Best Friend

2 – Your Crush

3 – Your parents

4 – Your sibling (or closest relative)

5 – Your dreams

6 – A stranger

7 – Your Ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/love/crush

8 – Your favorite internet friend

9 – Someone you wish you could meet

10 – Someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like to

11 – A Deceased person you wish you could talk to

12 – The person you hate most/caused you a lot of pain

13 – Someone you wish could forgive you

14 – Someone you’ve drifted away from

15 – The person you miss the most

16 – Someone that’s not in your state/country

17 – Someone from your childhood

18 – The person that you wish you could be

19 – Someone that pesters your mind-good or bad

20 – The one that broke your heart the hardest

21 – Someone you judged by their first impression

22 – Someone you want to give a second chance to

23 – The last person you kissed

24 – The person that gave you your favorite memory

25 – The person you know that is going through the worst of times

26 – The last person you made a pinky promise to

27 – The friendliest person you knew for only one

28 – Someone that changed your life

29 – The person that you want tell everything to, but too afraid to

30 – Your reflection in the mirror

 

While I have been meaning to do this for close to two years now, I got the final nudge when sister of mine  (who blogs at Shail’s Nest) asked me for blog challenge suggestions. This was followed by a thinly veiled threat of me having to write for all 30 days should I choose to join in as well. Since my blog has been largely dormant for some time now, and I have been meaning to exercise my brain with this for some time, I agreed to join her in this.

What is interesting is that while you have to write 30 letters, you may end up to writing more or less than 30 people. This is because there might be a person whom you will associate with more than one prompt, or there might be two people you might associate with one prompt. I will start with the first letter some time tomorrow today, and link the individual posts to the list above as I move ahead.

If you like this, feel free to join in, add your name to the linkup below: