I've been enjoying the challenges the editors are giving me, even though they're more work. One of the things asked for was more detail with the world building. I had lots of notes--not much of it made the final cut with the book, but now some of it is back in.
My main character, Jonah, is a planet whisperer. He can harness the energy around planets and redirect it so that the planet develops a liveable atmosphere. I thought I'd share what he does with you.
Before I go any further, I should tell you I don't have a science background at all. I haven't studied science beyond junior high school. I've asked scientists about this so it's not totally made up. Anything I say that isn't right is because my understanding is sketchy. I just make it sound plausible in fiction.
Firstly, you need a planet that has a few specific elements either in the atmosphere or trapped under the surface. These elements are ammonia, methane, hydrogen and helium. Some water ice would be good too.
So my six easy steps are:
1. Increase the speed of the planet's rotation. Manipulating the planet's magnetic fields can do this, so that's what Jonah does.
2. This causes the crust to bulge and volcanoes form and erupt, which releases the gases.
3. The gases react with each other. For example, Methane and water will give us carbon dioxide and hydrogen (apparently). Carbon dioxide is important for plants. Hydrogen and helium are too light to stay in the atmosphere, so float away.
4. We need some electrical storms in the new gaseous atmosphere so that NH3 (ammonia) + lightning + CH4 (methane) will give us longer chains of amino acids, which is the base of proteins.
5. Amino acids + H2O (water) = cells.
6. Plant some plants in this new place that has lots of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Through photosynthesis, the plants will create oxygen.
And there we have it--a liveable atmosphere.
It took the Earth six billion years to do it. My guy can do it in three weeks.
Isn't fiction a wonderful thing?