Life on Phorcys

2013 University Physics Competition submisssion. “In this article, we investigate the possible forms of life that may exist on planet Phorcys. Our approach is to determine key parameters describing the planet: temperature variation, ice cover, surface pressure and ocean presence and depth. We find that Phorcys is covered in a global ocean, with large ice caps and the possibility of an ice free equatorial region. The presence and size of this region is determined by a combination of the salinity of the ocean water, which affects the freezing point of water, and the day length of the planet, which affects how temperature varies with latitude. earth levels of salinity and day length lead to an ice covered planet, but salinity levels tolerable by many known species lead to an ice free region. Alternatively, an ice free region is predicted if the day on Phorcys is three-quarters that of earth. After gaining this understanding of the climate on Phorcys, we investigate life. Our approach is to investigate life through the various layers of the deep oceans of Phorcys, which we find extend to 33 km, three times deeper than earths oceans. At 7.5 km on Phorcys we identify an unusual behaviour in the viscosity of water with implications for life at this depth. Additionally, we identify a depth bound of 22 km for organisms with a cell membrane similar to earth life by estimating the magnitude of pressure fluctuations at depth."