Notable Locations in Space
Belt 3842 Mine Station
This station is on the very fringe of human space, farther from earth than any other known colony or station. The station itself sits on a large asteroid within a slow-moving belt in the Hori-7 system. The asteroid belt surrounding it seems to be the remnants of a planet that was teeming with valuable minerals and precious metals, but these days many of the asteroids have been picked dry. Still the station remains, catering to a large amount of miners and freelance pilots – the station does see a large amount of unregistered spacers and ships, leading to rumors that pirates and illegals frequent 3842.
Europa is a very large, free-floating station located very closely to the center point of many different colonies or stations in human space. It’s population is large for a station, and it’s been growing steadily over the decades, the revenue made by the local officials being spent on expanding livable space and adding new sections to the station itself. It’s impressive on the inside and out, the former being the hub for many different shops, bars, restaurants, and gathering places for all sorts. The culture is a literal melting pot, the station trying to offer the experiences from long-defunct countries and people of planet earth. A lot of spacers with families treat Europa as a vacation spot when they have extra time and money to spare, but the stations size makes enforcing the law more difficult than average, leading to a higher than average crime rate.
One of the nearest planets detected by NASA in the 21st century that was potentially habitable due to it’s climate; one that allows it to sustain liquid water. Once they were able to probe the planet, they were surprised to find oxygen levels very similar to Earth’s own, as well. The plant life and native animals are strange, but not sentient, so the search for intelligent life continues. There are exotic diseases that were discovered after colonizing the planet, which proved fatal for a few, but antibodies and medicines were developed to help combat them. Now it’s a matter of getting over the illness and building up immunity to the diseases.
You can live fairly comfortably on Gilese 581c, which some people have called New Earth – the gravity is close to the same, at .9G, the air breathable, and life sustainable without EVA. There are small establishments and colonies forming on the planets surface, already, and a burgeoning economy forming around trades and services – a popular profession is cartography, as people are mapping out the planet, still. The planet itself is one of three in its system, circling a Red Dwarf star, which gives out a lot of noise and radiation that can make communicating or finding other ships within the system difficult.
Unity Station was the first major citizen installation in space, built directly in Earth’s orbit. It’s decently sized, though it acts more as a hub than a place to live at, with plenty of places to eat, drink, or find a bed for the night as you’re passing through. There’s little crime in the station due to the high concentration of CSTP officers inside and out, as well as the battleship Washington which is frequently stationed at or around Unity. The reasons for this are its proximity to Earth and its accommodations make it a perfect spot for politicians to stay when visiting space. There aren’t many mining jobs available in this area of space anymore, so most people who live on Unity have to find other ways to make a living, though for a good number of people that involves signing up for CST or CSTP.
Ferrous-3 is a unique system in known space, with every small station and colony within operating as one legal unit. All are represented by one political representative, who takes their concerns and requests to GCES. Part of the reason behind this is the ad hoc nature of living in Ferrous-3, since the system itself is very dangerous. All of the desirable approach vectors for mining hotspots or colonies come close to, or go through dangerous obstacles such as asteroid belts or miniature singularities. The cause of the singularities found in the system is unknown, and is the subject of great scientific interest for a number of reasons – as a result, the more daring scientists work in research labs located in this system.
Another attractive quality of Ferrous-3 is the mineral ore located on the otherwise barren landscapes of the local planetoids, as well as inside the asteroids within the numerous belts in the system. To survive in a place like this, it requires the ability and readiness to move at a moment’s notice, so most equipment and emplacements used there benefit from being either highly mobile, or expendable. People that are born in Ferrous-3 tend to have a higher tolerance for danger, since they grew up with fear, and were made to accept and deal with it from the start of their life.
Tau Ceti 2
The second planet of the Tau Ceti star system was predicted to be a potential habitat to some form of alien life, as well as a good source of minerals. Because of this, the planet was the first target of the EEM initiative after CST developed the Gap Drive. They discovered that they were right on both counts, but not in the way they had hoped; at first reading, Tau Ceti 2 seemed to be survivable without EVA or rebreathers/life support, so a few brave colonists settled in on the rocky surface. In less than two weeks, all of them succumbed to an unknown toxin in the air that was not previously detected – it was discovered that these toxins were emitted from the local flora.
Curiously, a large amount of these alien plants seem to emit similar toxins and poisons into the atmosphere, making it impossible to terraform without destroying all plantlife on the planet. The animals on the planet have an immunity to these toxins, and there is an ecosystem that is otherwise similar to earths: Herbivores, Carnivores, all operating on a food chain, though no “sentient” life has been discovered. The planet is a good source of highly valuable minerals, however, so it is still mined by teams that land and drill while in EVA. As the first real mining operation outside of the solar system, Tau Ceti 2 is practically a household name, and the orbital station and processing plant is represented by a member of the GCES.
One of the first pushes for a lot of EEM companies was to get to Mars, and it was something that was achieved without Gap Drives. It took a large ship with a small crew, but they achieved touchdown on Mars in roughly 6 months. Their ship contained all the necessities predicted to survive the trip, as well as observe the planet for a number of factors that would help determine how feasible it would be to inhabit the planet. After their year-long stay on the planet, they had all the calculations and observations they needed to confirm it’s habitability. By the time CST was able to collect and assemble the resources to begin building a colony there, the gap drive was discovered.
The process of finishing the colony – which is expanding to this day – was a quick one after the fact. With more livable areas in space, more people were able to leave Earth, and thus Martian life began. The lower gravity (approximately .38G) on Mars has been maintained due to the people of the planet being used to operating without the familiar pull. Mars serves as a good zero-G training academy, and as such a lot of would-be spacers and pilots go to Mars to make that career move. Artifical gravity has been developed since the colony was established, but most places on the surface forgo it, since they’ve become accustomed to living that way – as a result, Martians tend to be a little weaker than people from Earth, but they are more naturally comfortable in low-to-zero-G.
After colonies had been established first on the Moon, Mars, and in other systems, eyes turned back inward to other sources of minerals and ores within the Sol system. Ganymede, the largest moon in the system, was known to contain a large amount of sodium, sulfur, and a core of almost pure iron. With a large surface area to inhabit, it was easy to build mining colonies on the moon, facilities designed to collect the salts and sulfurs from the upper levels of the planetoid’s surface. There are also deep mining facilities using cutting edge technology such as plasma and laser drills to actually mine the core of the moon itself for it’s iron.
While risky, it has turned out good results so far, providing needed metals for continued spacecraft and equipment development. There are plans to stop mining the core before they remove too much of it, in order to prevent a collapse or any other adverse effects, such as a shift in orbit that would put the moon in danger. Ganymede overall is a profitable mining operation, and the colonists there live comfortable lives. Those involved with the deep mining facility are usually engineers, either hardware or software, since it’s the first of it’s kind it requires bright minds to work on the project.