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A desert planet or dry planet is a theoretical type of terrestrial planet with a surface consistency similar to Earth's hot deserts. The concept has become a common setting in science fiction,[1] appearing as early as the 1956 film Forbidden Planet and Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune,[2][3][4] and more recently in the Star Wars franchise as the planets Tatooine, Geonosis, and Jakku.


A 2011 study suggested that not only are life-sustaining desert planets possible, but that they might be more common than Earth-like planets.[5] The study found that, when modeled, desert planets had a much larger habitable zone than ocean planets.[5]

The same study also speculated that Venus may have once been a habitable desert planet as recently as 1 billion years ago.[5] It is also predicted that Earth will become a desert planet within a billion years due to the Sun's increasing luminosity.[5]

A study conducted in 2013 concluded that hot desert planets without runaway greenhouse effect can exist in 0.5 AU around Sun-like stars. In that study, it was concluded that a minimum humidity of 1% is needed to wash off carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but too much water can act as a greenhouse gas itself. Higher atmospheric pressures increase the range in which the water can remain liquid.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Touponce, William F. (1988). "Intellectual Background". Frank Herbert. Boston: Twayne Publishers imprint, G. K. Hall & Co. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-8057-7514-3.
  2. ^ Wright, Les. "Forbidden Planet (1956)". (Internet Archive). Archived from the original on May 7, 2006. Retrieved May 7, 2006.
  3. ^ Hladik, Tamara I. "Classic Sci-Fi Reviews: Dune". Archived from the original on April 20, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2008.
  4. ^ Michaud, Jon (July 12, 2013). "Dune Endures". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d Choi, Charles Q. (September 2, 2011). "Alien Life More Likely on Dune Planets". Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  6. ^ Andras Zsom; Sara Seager; Julien de Wit; Vlada Stamenkovic (September 4, 2013). "Towards the Minimum Inner Edge Distance of the Habitable Zone". The Astrophysical Journal. 778 (2): 109. arXiv:1304.3714. Bibcode:2013ApJ...778..109Z. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/778/2/109.