Author Topic: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?  (Read 610 times)

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Online Desert Fox

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Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« on: April 23, 2017, 05:08:39 PM »
I am trying to come up with ways to describe a planet like Mars without using the term "Like Mars."
One thought is using the term "Sub-Terran" type planet. What does that make people think of?
Any alternate suggestions?
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Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2017, 05:51:42 PM »
I am trying to come up with ways to describe a planet like Mars without using the term "Like Mars."
One thought is using the term "Sub-Terran" type planet. What does that make people think of?
Any alternate suggestions?
"Grade C Terrestrial"?
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2017, 07:18:08 PM »
People have an idea what Mars is like. Call a planet "Mars-like" and people will understand you. Call it "sub-terrestrial" or "Grade C terrestrial" and nobody will understand what you mean. Of course, at this stage, if we do manage to detect a Mars size planet, we will have no way of knowing whether it's Mars-like, other than its mass and maybe its size and density. Mars-like connotes an extremely thin atmosphere, soil loaded with perclorates, a certain temperature range, as well as size, mass, and surface gravity.

I don't think we will need to worry about categorizing exoplanets with this level of detail for quite some time, and to use any term that suggests properties we don't know seems a bad idea.

Of course the news media will say "Mars-like" about any exoplanet said to be about the mass of Mars.

One could simply say X% the mass of the Earth, or X times the mass of the Earth.
Daniel
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Online Desert Fox

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2017, 07:41:10 PM »
It is related to my science fiction project but wanted a wider audience than just asking under member creations

The idea is that the ship that the characters are on are visiting a solar system with one Earth like planet and one  Mars like planet.
The plan to dock on a space elevator on the Mars like world.

Problem is that the crew has likely never been to Earth and might not even know about Mars. Earth is the home world for all humans so they would at least know about it.

I am trying to figure out how I might describe the planet from their eyes? I am planning a more complete description later when they dock but wanted a quick word or two to describe it.
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Offline The Latinist

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2017, 08:28:46 PM »
Arean.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2017, 09:14:52 PM »
On the one hand, I'm not sure you need an actual term for it. Just describe it by its mass and characteristics, and give it a name. Do that for both planets, and they will be clearly distinguished from one another.

On the other hand, a spacefaring civilisation that encounters new planets all the time is likely to have a method of classifying them for convenience. Trek is an example of that (Mr Kim, scan for a class-M planet!). It depends on how interstellar travel is handled in your universe. The downside of this approach is that your readers will either need these terms defined, or will need to glark their meaning from context. Otherwise, as daniel suggests, the term will be more or less meaningless.

From what you've said, I get the impression that these two planets are already inhabited, what with the pre-existing space elevator and all, so I think I'd suggest going with just a physical description when the planets are introduced, and referring to them by name thereafter.

Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2017, 09:39:45 PM »
People have an idea what Mars is like. Call a planet "Mars-like" and people will understand you. Call it "sub-terrestrial" or "Grade C terrestrial" and nobody will understand what you mean.
Unless it is presented so they can understand it.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2017, 09:43:14 PM »
The problem with calling it "Mars-like" is that it breaks the reader's immersion in the fictional universe. The characters in the story don't know what Mars is like, so it doesn't make sense to describe a planet that way in the narrative.

Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2017, 09:53:55 PM »
You could sneak some teaching in. I liked the "pop quiz" system of informing the reader.

Lt.: Name planets that match "terrestrial grade" for types A through D.

Midshipman: A - Earth, B - Proxima Centauri 3, C - Mars, D - Hestia.

Etc.
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Online Andrew Clunn

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2017, 11:01:51 PM »
Arean.

Aryan.  The planet blue oceans and golden rings, but tends to go to war with planets that don't have them.
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Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2017, 11:14:19 PM »
It already has a classification of sub-Earth, or subterrestrial
https://arxiv.org/abs/1308.6308
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub-Earth
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 11:16:34 PM by Alex Simmons »

Online Desert Fox

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2017, 11:33:07 PM »
It already has a classification of sub-Earth, or subterrestrial
https://arxiv.org/abs/1308.6308
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub-Earth

Interesting, I could just describe it as a Sub-Terran planet at twelve light minutes
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2017, 10:23:33 AM »
So basically, you're telling us the planet is Mars-like, and you want a very brief description your characters, who've never heard of Mars, might give of it. And that depends on how Mars-like it is.

It's 1 1/2 times the size of Planet Globtrox (their home world, which they do know, but your readers don't, until they've been introduced to it) but has virtually no atmosphere, so we'll need exposure suits, and nothing will grow there, so the inhabitants, who live underground, produce food synthetically using thermonuclear power for energy... Hey, wait just a minute! Let's get the hell out of there. I don't even want want to visit. ... Space ship turns around. The End. Oops. Very short novel.

Sorry. I'm probably going to be no help at all. My one foray into writing sci-fi had a spaceman with an unpronounceable name coming to Earth to get sea water to take back home, and being shot out of the sky with a cannon by a pirate ship. It was not a very good story. I didn't even bother submitting it anywhere.
Daniel
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Online Andrew Clunn

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2017, 11:27:47 AM »
I'm reminded of in A Tale of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones when a particular garment is referred to as having French sleeves or some such thing.  Which seems odd, considering there is no France in this world.
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Offline Shipwreck

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Re: Any good terms for a Mars like planet?
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2017, 11:29:26 AM »
Non-habitable igneous spheroid.