Enrichment Arts & Culture

Scientists built a computer model of ‘Dune’ to see whether humans could live there

Story at a glance

  • “Dune” is a sci-fi book series written by Frank Herbert and was recently adapted into a movie, starring Timothée Chalamet.
  • Scientists created a simulation of desert planet Arrakis, the setting of “Dune.”
  • The simulation found that the imaginary climate of Arrakis isn’t too far off from Earth’s own climate.

You can now see for yourself if the desert planet of the sci-fi film “Dune” is actually liveable by humans.

Scientists with expertise in climate modeling created a visual simulation of Arrakis, the far future desert planet that the movie “Dune” takes place in.

Users can manipulate different settings of the simulation by changing weather conditions and seeing how Arrakis changes in real-time.

The creators of the simulation outlined how they were able to create this unique model on The Conversation. They started with a climate model used mostly to predict weather and climate on Earth. Then, they input certain characteristics of Arrakis, based on Frank Herbet’s novels, like the planet’s topography, orbit and atmosphere. 

After plugging in all of Arrakis’ elements, the scientists found that the imaginary planet is, “basically plausible.” 


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The simulation would get temperatures in the tropics up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months, and would not go below 59 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter time, pretty similar to Earth’s seasonal average temperatures. 

One bigger discrepancy is rain, which Herbert’s books say isn’t possible on Arrakis. However, scientists found in their simulation that there are in fact very small amounts of rainfall possible. 

They also found that the mid-latitudes and polar regions, where most people on Arrakis live, have pretty extreme temperatures. Summer temperatures here can get up to 158 degrees Fahrenheit and winter temperatures would also get incredibly cold, down to -40 degrees in the mid-latitudes and -103 degrees in the polar region. 

But, based on Herbert’s novels, all humanoid life on Arrakis that are outside of habitable zones wear “stillsuits,” which are designed to keep people cool and reclaim body moisture. 

All around, Herbert’s creation of Arrakis is pretty accurate, especially given he wrote the first “Dune” novel in 1965. 


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