Eclipse Phase: Million Year Echo

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The simple truth is that the environmental range that unprotected and unmodified transhumans thrive in is severely small, and thus quite rare. Thankfully various synthetic shells and bio-modifications expand the environmental ranges that transhumans can exist and even thrive in, though such conditions often have a major impact on the lifestyle of transhumans that do so.

There are literally hundreds of billions of exoplanets in the galaxy. Despite advances in exoplanetary research via long-range astronomy, and the direct experience with thousands of extrasolar systems via the Pandora gates, transhumanity still has much to learn regarding the origins, evolution, and environments of exoplanets. This is in fact, a major component of gatecrashing programs, collecting and cataloging data on new systems.

Some lessons can be drawn from the existing data, however, providing gatecrashers with a small measure of what to expect—with the caveat that nothing is certain. For all that we know, the Pandora gates may be placed around systems that are unusual or exist outside of standard norms.

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Most exoplanets that gatecrashers come across orbit main sequence stars, similar to our own sun. This is because other star types tend to have had conditions that were detrimental to planetary formation or underwent changes such as a supernova that destroyed any planetary bodies in the vicinity. There are occasional exceptions, such as the cryoplanets around brown dwarf stars, rogue planets, and non-main sequence stars and other stellar bodies. Many of the known exoplanets can be grouped into typical categories, described below. It should be noted that these are just some of the larger and most notable groups—they are many exceptions on record.

These massive planets, often easily ten times or more the mass of Earth, are known for their dense atmospheres and turbulent cloud layers. They are uninhabitable by transhuman standards, with unbreathable atmospheres and severe radiation, and even their core surfaces have crushing atmospheric pressures and high gravity.

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Gas giants commonly have a large number of moons, however, some of them reasonably habitable. Numerous gates are situated on gas giant moons.

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Transhumanity's primary interest in these gates is resource extraction from the gas giant atmospheres notably helium-3 , mining of heavy metals on the moons, and colonization. They feature thick, heavy atmospheres of helium and hydrogen swirling above dense rocky or metallic cores. Their planetary system typically features numerous moons and sometimes rings.

The moons are often more habitable, though the region is plagued by radiation. Their thick atmospheres tend to be heavy in hydrogen and helium, and sometimes nitrogen and hydrocarbons, with numerous cloud layers. Upper clouds tend to be methane, giving them a blue color. Their rocky surfaces feature solid water, ammonia, and methane ices.

They commonly have ring systems, a magnetosphere, and multiple moons. Eccentric orbits around their parent star are not uncommon.

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They tend to have a much higher surface temperature as a result, in additional to bleeding their atmosphere away eventually becoming chthonian planets. The telescope is already picking up signs of other moons. Choose the synthmorph-heavy team. Tell them to pack lead aprons. Terrestrial planets tend to have orbits closer to their parent star and are composed of either silicates or carbon rocks. Much like the planets of the inner solar system Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars , they feature a solid metallic core usually iron , a rocky surface mantle, and a thin atmosphere compared to the gas giants, at least.

The larger terrestrials will develop their own secondary atmospheres thanks to volcanism and comet impacts, as icy materials in the surface sublimate. These atmospheres vary greatly in composition, but are usually dominated by nitrogen or carbon dioxide, depending on various factors, though methane and ammonia atmospheres are also possible.

Even if the conditions are not Earth-equivalent, terrestrial planets are much more habitable than others, and so are ideal for colonization and resource exploitation. They are rocked by more vigorous geological activity volcanoes and earthquakes and have higher surface gravity typically between 2 and 3 g. The remaining core planet is similar to terrestrial planets, though more like Mercury than Earth. The chthonian planets discovered so far have been ideal sources for heavy metal mining.

We seem to have a quadruple star system here. That looks like a ring around the two stars too—probably the inner two. But how would the multiple suns affect it? White: The atmosphere looks thin, so we should expect cool temperatures and higher levels of solar radiation. I could see modified desert plants here. That might be a chief concern for any terraforming efforts. Cadbury, look into the radiation trends. Minor alpha and beta decay. Are you seeing this?

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These crashers better not be fuck-ups. Nothing more than a cell. Tell the sensor team to prioritize the samples. We want air and soil composition reports, and we want them to identify and categorize these life patterns. I want to know if the planet supports greater life. If we could introduce a heavy contingent of O3 to the atmosphere, and maybe some water vapor and methane, we could emulate a pre-Fall Earth atmosphere I think. These organisms are basic; I would be surprised if we found anything even approaching advanced. Dwarf planets occupy the gray area between asteroids and planets.

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Dwarf planets are rocky, lack atmosphere, and are notable only for their potential metals or silicates. They are colder and even less interesting than dwarf planets, but there seems to be far, far more of them. Unlike terrestrial planets, ocean planets began as icy proto-planets far from their parent star that lacked the mass to grow into ice giant status and migrated to an inner orbit. As the ice melted, they were transformed into water worlds with vast, exceptionally deep oceans—as much as hundreds of kilometers.

Below their crushing liquid depths is a small rocky core with a mantle of ice VII an exotic form of ice that forms under intense pressure. Above the oceans is a thick helium and hydrogen atmosphere, hot with greenhouse effect. Underwater habitats might take advantage of the water pressure and its extreme heat as a backup energy source.

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  • With only simple machinery, the habitats would have a backup if their main power plants fail. While this planet consists almost entirely of water, it has a fascinating spectrum of ice phases, thanks to the shifting pressure and the unique convections caused by its composition.

    We should prioritize others. Though they are not entirely absent, such Earth-like worlds are the gems in the extrasolar collection. Statistically, this is not unexpected. First is simply being in a habitable zone of the galaxy; in other words, not in a part of the galaxy that is lethally irradiated like the core, in a heavy-metal poor area like most of the galactic rim, or in the path of a supernova, black hole, or other cosmic threat. Water is a solvent for carbon-based life, and thus a critical component in its evolution. Finding an exoplanet that exists within this range, at the proper time period of its planetary evolution, is thus an uncommon occurrence.

    Nevertheless, the placement of Pandora gates does seem to be skewed in favor of habitable planets, such that a higher percentage of them have been found via the gates in relation to their expected distribution throughout the galaxy. Not all gates open onto exoplanets as described above. Some gates are situated on rocky asteroids, comets, or stranger places.