The Planet Ksufesh(First WIP)

Ksufesh is the second of three* planets orbiting Gzietsia3741C*, the least massive of three* stars in the Gzietsia3741 system.

Of the other two* stars in the system, Gzietsia3741A* is the most massive and is currently in a red giant stage. Gzietsia3741B* is the neutron star remnant from the supernova that destroyed the formerly largest star in the system around 4-5 billion years ago*. Consequently, Gzietsia3741B* is a fairly old neutron star and has cooled and quieted considerably since its violent origin.

The supernova certainly disrupted the young system even as it was forming. The Gzietsia3741A system is only orbited by one 50 Earth mass gas giant, although it is possible that it had once had more planets closer in that were swallowed as it expanded into its red giant stage*. Gzietsia3741A and B orbit each other fairly closely, but well beyond the Roche limit even of the greatly expanded red giant star.

Gzietsia3741C has an orbit widely separated from A and B. Currently it only has three planets. The innermost planet of Gzietsia3741C is a tiny scorched ball of rock only about the mass of Earth’s Moon*. Ksufesh is the second* planet in the system, with a mass a little bit greater than that of the Earth. The third* planet in the system is a small gas giant(gas midget?) similar to Neptune, with about nine Earth masses.

All of these planets may have been considerably larger before the supernova scoured the system, or, conversely, they may have been enlarged or even created from the gas and dust injected by the supernova itself. In any, the surfaces of all the planets in the system have been greatly enriched with heavy metals in the aftermath. These heavy elements include lead, gold, strontium, mercury, arsenic, tantalum, lanthanum, thorium, uranium and even some of the longer-lived isotopes of plutonium and other transuranic elements, possibly including some Island-of-Stability aka-metals. All of this would make this system a motherlode for miners from Earth while at the same time making Ksufesh rather toxic to humans.

Any habitable planet’s atmosphere would be sufficiently thick to absorb the x-rays from a neutron star most of the time, but frequent burst of hard radiation have stripped Ksufesh of its ozone layer several times, exposing its surface to ultraviolet radiation from its own star and cosmic sources, including the neutron star. This has forced life on Ksufesh to evolve means of handling the effects of that radiation. In spite of several mass extinctions traceable to the effects of the neutron star, life on Ksufesh has largely been successful in adapting. Deep sea organisms are mostly immune to the effects of extra-planetary radiation. Many photosynthetic organisms in the shallower seas are capable of functioning for a time without the benefit of sunlight in deeper layers of the sea. What land life there is has concentrated elements like lead into their outer integument or shells to protect from radiation and some also limit their active lives to times when the neutron star is below the horizon. Interestingly, the biochemistry on this planet is fairly Earthlike. If everything wasn’t so toxically imbued with heavy metals a lot of the lifeforms on the planet would be edible to humans. As it is, food derived from this planet would have to be heavily treated to leach out those heavy metals so they can be filtered. People on Ksufesh would do well to stay covered and not breathe too much of the dust.

I am currently researching whether such a planet is strictly possible and just how extreme the environment may be. If it proves realistically impossible for such a planet to exist, I will have to move the Moh’s scale of science fiction hardness for this world a bit more toward the Star Trek end of things and consider this planet to be just a bit more hostile than initially planned.

*A lot of numerical values for this planet and its system are still uncertain. Although, I find having the red giant in the system interesting, I’m concerned that it may be causing too much mass infall onto the neutron star, which may pump up activity that would ruin the chances for Ksufesh, even given Star Trek-level scienciness.

Thank you for reading,
The Astrographer

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