The Solar System

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Salmoneus
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The Solar System

Post by Salmoneus » 27 Jul 2015 23:13

Following some questions in the Leewefraaka thread, here's a revised view of the current settlement of the planets and moons of the solar system (other than Earth) in my SF setting:

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Mercury
Population: tens of thousands. Around half are permanent residents.

Mercury was originally settled with a few military bases in the 24th century, but only developed its current importance in the 25th, after the Invasion. Mercury is an expensive place to live, but these are not private residents: around half the inhabitants are military personnel on assignment and their families; the other half are military personnel who have retired, or the descendants of retirees. The culture is extremely regimented and loyal. There are no ‘sights’ here, as tourism is extremely low (only classified military personnel and dignitaries are allowed to visit, and the occasional ‘cultural’ figure visiting for propaganda purposes; all inhabitation here is underground.
Mercury is entirely controlled by the Fleet.



Venus
Population: over a billion

Venus was first ‘settled’ by sub-light craft in the 22nd century, as the ultimate luxury tourist destination, but its population exploded with the development of FTL in the 23rd. The Venerean Revolution (‘Venusian Revolt’ to Earthicans) temporarily damaged the tourism industry, but it has long since recovered. Venus remains a high-cost tourist site, despite lack of local attractions – beauty, art, luxury, gambling and a range of available degenerate vices bring in the visitors. Venus has a thriving heavy industry sector (its lower atmosphere being essentially an immense forge, and its clouds composed of powerful acids), and it also exports handmade luxury items, as well as having considerable expertise in chemistry and zymology (the science of yeast, an important food-production technology). Venus sees itself as standing apart from the rest of humanity, and has a distinctive, neosyndicalist economic system, as well as having its own currency (which is little used by locals in practice, in favour of the array of guild credit systems). However, it also has disproportionate influence within the Fleet – Venus is home to a sizeable military presence, and traditionally produces a significant fraction of the Fleet’s officer corps (though few rise to the upper echelons of power).
Venus is an independent planet (under Fleet suzerainty), comprising alliances of floating city-states, ruled by their trade guilds. It is a highly multilingual planet, but its own notoriously difficult language, ‘Jargon’, is the language of prestige.



Luna
Population: a couple of hundred million inhabitants, of whom maybe 10% are permanent residents

The Moon was settled by sub-light in the 22nd century, for both industrial and tourist purposes. Its population exploded in the early 23rd century. Luna has long been humanity’s largest shipyard – materials can be mined here, or shipped from asteroids, and either assembled on the Moon or else assembled in the Moon’s orbit with workers commuting from the surface – low gravity means low transport costs. The Moon’s native water sources also provide conventional rocket propellant for low-speed space-travel in Earth’s neighbourhood. Tourism is of two kinds. From Earth, Luna is an expensive but not exclusive holiday destination, perhaps analogous to a 21st-century cruise ship. From outer space, Luna is a far cheaper destination for shore leave for ship crews in the system than Earth would be (again, thanks to gravity costs). Entertainments are therefore mostly of a populist, affordable nature – although there are of course a few more highbrow galleries, museums and the like as well. As most people on Luna are transient workers from Earth, the health risks of low-G living are low, and low-G is an important selling point of the resorts and factories; there are, however, rotating habitats for permanent residents (all subterranean, of course!). Thanks to the transient population and low-cost attractions, the whole place has a rather utilitarian, rough-and-ready feel, and an exciting mingling of cultures as industrial specialists, drunken holidaymakers and military personnel looking for relaxation all mix together. There are also very extensive battle emplacements on Luna, although their personnel do not really mix with the rest of the planet.
Luna is theoretically controlled by the Fleet, but in practice they delegate to an array of ‘corporations’ owned by the permanent residents; these endeavour to be profitable, but are prevented from being exploitative by Fleet supervisors. Unusually, there is no united civilian government – different facilities are run by different corporations, an echo of the colony’s origins.



Mars
Population: a few hundred thousand, around half of whom are permanent residents

Mars is a ghastly place to try to live – all the disadvantages of the Moon, without its selling points. Other than the occasional geologist, Mars is home to three groups of people: very strange religious folk, who like to live as hermits out in the desert, often in low-G; tourists; and those who cater to tourists. Inhabitation of Mars has always been expensive compared to that of Venus, so does not appeal to most travellers (though it briefly boomed in the aftermath of the Venusian Revolt). Most tourism on Mars hinges on its spectacular geology – its immense peaks, and terrifying chasms; casual visitors come here for the views, and there are also some more dedicated climbers and hikers. A couple of extremely high-end luxury resorts/residential homes also exist here, but for the most part the ethos is ‘high quality, but simple’.
Mars is independent. Each of the eighteen resorts (most found are around the Valles Marineris) is independent, but co-ordinate global policy through a joint council – there’s not a lot to co-ordinate. Most of the resorts have a semi-hereditary monarch, and a Grand Emperor of Mars is elected from among these monarchs; however, the monarchies are largely a sales gimmick. As a large part of the population (and all the visitors) are transient workers from elsewhere (young Earthicans in particular are drawn to spend a year or two working at a resort on Mars – it builds character), the planet is necessarily multilingual, and Leewefraaka is spoken by everbody. However, native citizens of many resorts still maintain Martian, an Anglic language.



Ceres and Pallas
Population: tens of thousands

The asteroid belt was settled in the late 23rd century, primarily by ideologues. The settlement companies were half capitalist enterprise (sustaining the colonies, and making profit, through asteroid mining) and half ideological project (escaping from the restrictive socialism of Earth of that era). There have been several attempts to found colonies in the asteroids, but only two are significant: the Cerean and Palladian movements. Ceres is a dwarf planet with a subsurface ocean, colonised with relative ease. It is a single colony (with some outlying mining communities), which has developed a theocratic caste system. The Palladians are a more diffuse group in the region of Pallas (but not actually on Pallas, which they consider sacred). They live in relatively small communities, which are fiercely communal internally, but highly competitive between themselves. Both groups of settlers are highly suspicious of outsiders.
The asteroid colonies continue to rely on asteroid mining for their wealth, and have many luxury items. However, they are poor in many ways: they make spartan use of electricity and food, and the Palladian structures are perhaps rather less robust than they ought to be. Their trade is profitable, but far harder to grow than the mining on distant colony worlds, and thus their economic niche has stagnated. Palladians speak a Japonic language, while Cereans speak their own Anglic language.




Europa

Population: one hundred million

Europa was the fourth human settlement, after Mars, Luna, and Venus. Originally a scientific outpost, the invention of FTL turned it into a small but flourishing tourist centre thanks to its native wildlife. Later, interstellar travel gave Europa paramount importance as the system’s main port town. Europans even came into conflict with Earth in the early 24th century, having supported the Venusian Revolt; the following Europan Wars were cold (no pun intended), economic affairs, and eventually reconciliation was reached.
Europans are wealthy, and take pride in their independence and glorious history. Historically, Europans have been at the forefront of human exploration of space; more recently, however, their prominence has dwindled due to resentment toward Fleet suzerainty (which some radicals portray as conquest by Earth). Nonetheless, they still contribute disproportionally to the Fleet officer corps. Europans have a reputation for being left-wing, but technocratic, and rather aloof and repressed. They prize education and culture.
Europa is independent, and ruled by an unelected council of technocrats; consulting with a low-profile, low-paid body of part-time elected representatives. Europans speak Europan, their own Anglic language, which unusually is of Antipodean origin, reflecting the age of the colony.




Ganymede
Population: a few tens of millions

Ganymede was founded in the middle of the 24th century, to break to power of Europa. Initial attempts at landing were prevented violently by Europa, until a compromise was reached that limited the size, expansion rate, and dock fees of the new colony. The inhabitants have been hostile toward Europa ever since, although in recent decades a nascent ‘Jovian’ common bond has been emerging – they still hate each other, but in a more fraternal way than once was the case.
Ganymede is much younger and smaller than Europa, in terms of population, with a less distinctive culture. Like Europa, it is economically a port town (and shipyard), and it welcomes ship crews with open arms – it is much more decadent than Europa, and likes to think of itself as more exotic than Luna. Most ships still put in at Europa, but most crews would rather put in at Ganymede (although of course even staid Europa has plenty of leisure establishments for visitors).
Ganymede is controlled directly by the Fleet, although there is a military/civilian advisory panel, and issues only affecting residents are dealt with by an elected council (and its unelected president). Ganymede’s native language is a dialect of Leewefraaka, but Fleet has become more common.




Saturn
Population: a couple of hundred thousand

Saturn seems like a strange place to live. For one thing, it takes almost twice as much speed to escape its gravity than that of Earth... and with a temperature 140 below, it takes a lot of energy just to keep from freezing. Living here doesn’t seem to make much sense. And it doesn’t.
Saturn was settled primarily to provide human control (both by radio and by supply of manpower to satellites) over tholin mining on Titan. It was also hoped that energy availability on Saturn (thanks to trace methane in its atmosphere combined with 1800kph winds) would make energy-intensive industry viable here, and a tourism industry was also nurtured (a ‘new Venus’, peaking in popularity after the Venusian Revolt temporarily blocked access to the old Venus). Five immense ‘ships’ were built to hold up to a million inhabitants... but all three industries have foundered, and other than a brief refugee influx after the Invasion (the vnaorn didn’t bother attacking Saturn) the population has been declining since the middle of the 24th century.
The ships, however, are still viable, having been built for robustness. They are not like the graceful garden bubbles of Venus at all: the needs of temperature insulation and protection (hitting something at 1800kph is a bad idea) led to thick walls and non-breathable gas tanks of helium (rather than the breathable atmosphere in Venusian cities), as well as an elongated design. The effect is therefore much closer to a ship than an open city. All five ships still operate, but they are massively under-populated.
Saturn does still have a tourist industry. Its tourism was always founded on decadence and licentiousness (when the tourists have nothing to look at but corridors, you need something to get their attention), and this is still the case... just more spasmodically now. Most tourism to Saturn is for the annual month-long ‘Saturnalia’ festival, which promises every pleasure and delight imaginable, and the popularity of which has only been growing as the rest of humanity has become more conservative under military rule; the rest of the year, however, the ships are a rather quiet place. The nature of their tourist industry has led to a highly liberal, rather ‘hippy’ atmosphere, but also one that values self-discipline the rest of the year. Saturn also makes money from the sale of industrial diamonds, which, conveniently, rain from the sky every now and then, and from the sale of low-volume, high-price items, particularly jewellery.
Saturn is independent (the five ships have no formal united body, but manage to work things out), and the Fleet doesn’t even both to send monitors, though it does provide some military police for Saturnalia. Saturn’s native language is Krono, a constructed language originally used as an advertising gimmick.
Saturnians have long been devotees of transhumanism, and although few will confess to being devout followers today (transhumanism being considered a form of incipient treason by the Fleet), genetic modifications are widespread – almost all natives have small horns on their head, and variations in colour and texture of skin are ubiquitous, alongside occasional rarer modifications like (ornamental) wings and tails.



Uranus
Population: half a million

Uranus is not friendly. It’s the coldest planet in the solar system. Fortunately, it’s also stuffed full of methane. Settlement of Uranus imitated that of Saturn, hoping its energy wealth would allow its industry to prosper – and indeed it prospered more than that of Saturn, as it has more methane, and travel costs are much lower – subtracting the orbital velocity, the net escape speed required is only slightly more than that of Earth. Several ‘structures’ were built – insulated like those of Saturn, but more like circular buoys than ships, as they are located in a band of near-zero windspeed. However, as technology has moved on, Uranus has been unable to compete with other manufacturers. Its interests instead moved toward a very particular form of tourism: religious hermitage. Uranus is home to dozens of small monasteries, of dozens of religions, some worshipping Uranus itself (having a reputation for monasteries is a good way to make a place seem holy...), and varying in size from a few hermits to small cities of tens of thousands. The monks got on surprisingly well with the factory workers, and the two groups largely merged. An influx of refugees after the Invasion, however, has produced lingering tensions, and nor are the scions of non-celibate monks always wholly holy. Many parts of Uranus are therefore rather less than safe for strangers.
Each monastery is independent; theoretically there is a local assembly of representatives from each monastery, but this rarely even assembles. A military overseer attempts to maintain order.



Oberon
Population: hundreds of thousands (of whom around three quarters are permanent residents)

The thin band of ocean beneath the ice of Oberon is home to an immense military base. Oberon is in use as an inbound port, as a shipyard, as a military redoubt, and as a home for retirees and their descendants. Little distinctive culture has yet developed on Oberon.



Triton
Population: a few tens of millions

Triton was originally founded as a mining camp, to mine tholins and methane ice. Triton’s tholins, however, have much lower energy densities than those of the outer dwarfs, and this industry was short-lived. At one point in the late 23rd and early 24th centuries, it attempted to compete as a tourist resort, but had too little to offer. Its enduring role has been as an inbound port: originally as an accessible port to transfer tholin ice from FTL ships from the dwarfs to sublight slow freighters, when inner-system navigation was still a major issue, and more recently for incoming interstellar craft. Neptune makes an easy waypoint on the journey into the inner system, and many ships go no further than this: cargoes can be transferred to cheaper, intra-system craft for the inbound journey. As a result, Triton is an important port town, and makes money both in shipping and in providing shoreleave facilities.
Triton is intensely energy-rich – its tholins and its methane may not be worth exporting in bulk, but they make local life much more pleasant – its submarine habitats are kept at tropical temperatures, and every space is filled with light. Although many leisure facilities are of course available for ship crew (and sometimes visitors from elsewhere in the system), Triton sees itself as a more sophisticated establishment than, say, Ganymede or Luna, albeit more liberal than Europa. A particular attraction for first-time visitors (and its main draw for inner-system tourists) is its ‘crystal city’, a labyrinth of low-G viewing galleries coated in fantastical figures in polychromatic ice, traditionally considered one of the wonders of the world.
Triton does have a small industrial export sector as well, specialising, perhaps unsurprisingly, in low-temperature engineering.
Triton is independent politically, although economically highly dependent on the Fleet; it is ruled by an unelected council, checked by a biennial elected assembly. In practice, Triton mostly speaks Fleet, but many inhabitants are bilingual in Tritonid, an Anglic language, and most are at least functional speakers of Leewefraaka.

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Re: The Solar System

Post by shimobaatar » 28 Jul 2015 06:39

Salmoneus wrote:Mercury was originally settled with a few military bases in the 24th century, but only developed its current importance in the 25th, after the Invasion. Mercury is an expensive place to live, but these are not private residents: around half the inhabitants are military personnel on assignment and their families; the other half are military personnel who have retired, or the descendants of retirees. The culture is extremely regimented and loyal. There are no ‘sights’ here, as tourism is extremely low (only classified military personnel and dignitaries are allowed to visit, and the occasional ‘cultural’ figure visiting for propaganda purposes; all inhabitation here is underground.
Are the retirees and their descendants paid through pension plans or some similar system?
Salmoneus wrote:Europa was the fourth human settlement, after Mars, Luna, and Venus. Originally a scientific outpost, the invention of FTL turned it into a small but flourishing tourist centre thanks to its native wildlife. Later, interstellar travel gave Europa paramount importance as the system’s main port town. Europans even came into conflict with Earth in the early 24th century, having supported the Venusian Revolt; the following Europan Wars were cold (no pun intended), economic affairs, and eventually reconciliation was reached.
What is Europa's native wildlife like?

In addition to those specific questions (and I'll probably think of more as time goes on), I'd be very interested in hearing more about the various languages and religions you've mentioned, as well as the Fleet and the Invasion (and the aliens that carried it out).

This is all immensely impressive, and I hope we get to learn more soon.

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Re: The Solar System

Post by Bristel » 30 Jul 2015 02:59

I feel like this should definitely turn into a book series or tv show... :3

I'm very interested in hearing about the vnaorn.
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Re: The Solar System

Post by cntrational » 30 Jul 2015 06:44

Nice.

Question, though, why didn't they just directly settle on Titan's surface?

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Re: The Solar System

Post by Darvince » 30 Jul 2015 11:14

Are there populations on any other bodies? Is there a "planet X" out there which explains the odd orbit of things like Sedna and such or is it just coincidence? How far has humanity reached? What is Earth like?
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DesEsseintes
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Re: The Solar System

Post by DesEsseintes » 30 Jul 2015 14:20

What is the population on Earth?

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Re: The Solar System

Post by Salmoneus » 30 Jul 2015 15:35

Thanks for the interest, guys.

Pensions on Mercury: I'm afraid I've not fully worked out the details of the military pension system yet! I assume that there are some sort of pensions; but I'm also assuming that these old guys often have employment of their own as well. On the broader scale, the Fleet likes to have (trustworthy) civilians around the place - it makes these bases nicer to live in and keeps up morale.

Europa's wildlife is primitive - I'm thinking 'eel' is a popular shape. Some of them, however, are extremely big eels.

Titan: you can't settle straight onto the surface of Titan, because it has no gravity. Well, not enough to make your body work. [A conceit of this setting is that low gravity is unhealthy. In reality, we know it can be, but we don't know where the threshold levels are or how much medicine and exercise can overcome the health risks. I've assumed a pessimistic scenario. Likewise I've been pessimistic about the costs of radiation shielding. I don't want this to end up just 'everyone lives in a space station']

So, you need a rotating habitat on Titan. You could put this on the surface, or under the surface (there's likely to be a subsurface ocean there), but it's all expensive and complicated, and I'm guessing the rains of liquid methane and the like are probably a right bugger for a surface settlement (would you like to build a house where it rains petrol?). So they just thought it would be easier to build a big balloon-ship and drop it into Saturn. [There are also simpler space stations around Titan, but these are cheaper - temporary crews means no need for gravity and radiation shielding is less of an issue]

However, clearly their changed their minds by the time it came to Triton/Neptune...


Population of Earth: not sure exactly. Probably in the region of 35-45 billion.

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