Space Travel & The Solar System

Space travel:

Due to a series of environmental and social crises, humanity fell into a pseudo-dark age that set back advances in space by more than a century. As the mega-corporations rose to dominance over the new society, their interest in space was driven by profits rather than a desire for exploration. As a result, mankind has not expanded nearly as far as some would have believed. While today's most advanced ships have opened up the solar system to wider development, the closest star is still more than 4,000 years away and humans remain trapped in the solar system. Below are the most commonly referred to destinations in the solar system. However, this list is by no means considered to be extensive.

Guidelines for space travel:

  • The maximum established speed for practical travel is .1% light speed, or 1,079,252.85 km/hr. However, ships vary widely in capabilities. Only the most advanced ships are capable of traveling at greater speeds, and these are typically controlled by the corporations. The vast majority of ships are considerably older and slower.
  • The listed travel times have been overly simplified for ease of RP. They are calculated based on the shortest possibly distance (in a straight line) from Earth to a given object, while travelling at the max speed. A good rule of thumb for determining your own time is to add 1-3 days of travel to destinations beyond the Earth/Moon.
  • Travel times are considered in-character; or how much time would pass for your character. To aid in immersion, and prevent instantaneous travel, we recommend using a 12:1 ratio as a guide for determining real times. In other words, for every 12 hours your character must travel, it is suggested that you wait at least 1 hour of time in real life before RPing arrival. For example: If it takes 2 days (48 hours) to travel to Mars, then it is suggested that you wait 4 hours in real time before RPing arrival. For longer trips, this provides you the opportunity to actually RP the voyage.

Technology:

  • Propulsion: A variety of technologies are utilized in space travel; from traditional chemical rockets to more advanced magentoplasma and fusion powered engines. However, all propulsion technologies operate under classical mechanics. No known technologies can create warp drives or propel a ship faster than light..
  • A-GRAV: A metamaterial that produces a gravitomagnetic field when a charge is applied; replicating the apparent effects of gravity without increasing the material's mass. The intensity of this field varies with the power of the charge applied, thus requiring greater energy to generate greater gravitational states. As such, the long term power requirements of this technology tends to limit it to more practical uses; such under-deck plating on spaceships.
  • Communications: Broad communication in space still relies on signals sent along wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, and thus can not travel faster than light. However, there are forms of technology that can bypass this limit through manipulation of quantum processes or higher spatial dimensions. Because these specialized communicators need to be bonded in pairs in order to function, any transmissions are strictly point-to-point and can not be selectively sent to other receivers. The expense associated with creating these devices makes the technology cost-prohibitive for most smaller operations.
  • Trans-Spatial Conduit: A higher dimensional shunt that creates a traversable tunnel between two points in local space-time through the use of a pair of bonded devices. Due to inherent limitations with the technology, the wide spread use of conduits for travel would be highly impractical. The only Trans-Spatial Conduit currently in operation links the city of InSilico and the Wayfar colony on Mars.

The Inner Solar System:

Home to the three most populous bodies in the system, Earth, Luna, and Mars; the inner solar system is the center of human civilization and activity. To most people, the outer solar system remains a distant prospect.

  • Mercury: Aside from the Vulcan Charged Particle Array, this planet remains just as lifeless and barren as it always has. Its small size and extreme proximity to the sun has made it unsuitable for settlement. Fastest travel time: 3 days
  • Venus: With no habitable surface or prospect of terraforming, Earth’s closest planetary neighbor hasn’t seen the same corporate interest that Mars has. However, its location at the innermost edge of the Goldilocks zone has made Venus a hub for small agricultural ventures. The density and relatively mild conditions of the upper atmosphere have provided a stable platform for a network of floating farms. Today, the majority of the solar system’s naturally grown food originates from Venus. Even though these farms only yield a relatively small quantity of food, their wealthy clientele willingly pay the high premiums that keep these farms profitable. The capacitive material used to shield and power the farms from solar radiation is also highly sought after by other industries, although its production currently remains a closely guarded secret. Fastest travel time: 1.5 days
  • Earth: Earth has become a dark and barren world. Flooded, irradiated and polluted; the majority of its surface has been rendered uninhabitable by centuries of unchecked exploitation and warfare. Most people now live in cities floating atop the dense cloud cover, or in one of the many orbital space stations. Outside the handful of sealed habitats remaining on the surface, scavengers and outlaws eek out a harsh existence from the corpse of a past civilization.
  • Luna (The Moon): Luna has become a bustling metropolis in the nearly 200 years since permanent settlement was reestablished after the collapse of Earth society. Few of the pre-collapse habitats built in the late 21st century still exist; with most having since been absorbed or destroyed by the metropolitan sprawl of the interconnected cities. Those that do remain have become something akin to deed-restricted communities for the upper class of lunar society. Since the UBC’s Asset Exchange is headquartered on the moon, many smaller corporations count Luna as their base of operations. The majority of Luna’s population resides on the Earth-facing side of the moon, while the far side is dominated by the sensor and communications arrays that keep the Earth sector in constant contact with the rest of the solar system. Fastest travel time: Approx. 20 min.
  • Ny Zurich: Ny Zurich is the largest and most opulent space station in the solar system. Home to the Universal Banking Corporation, the Allied Regulatory Committee, and the “old rich” of this new society, Ny Zurich’s influence over human civilization is unrivaled. For all intents and purposes, it has become the center of the universe. Fast travel time: Approx. 6 hours
  • Mars Midway Station: Mars Midway’s name is somewhat misleading. Due to orbital differences, this space station is only truly “midway” when the orbits of Earth and Mars bring them closest together. Despite this fact, Mars Midway is still the most frequented depot between the two planets. This antiquated station also has the distinction of being the oldest continually occupied outpost beyond Earth orbit, and there are approximately 15,000 residents at any given time. In recent years, Mars Midway has developed a reputation for being a hub of piracy and illegal trade. Despite calls for greater security, the UBC is seemingly content to look the other way. Fastest travel time: 1 day
  • Mars: After Earth and its many space stations, Mars is the most populated body in the solar system. Dozens of established colonies and frontier arcologies house millions of people. Contrary to the utopian image that many would-be settlers seem to have of the red planet, Mars is a conflicted world. Between the terraforming initiative and deeply embedded corporate politics, Mars is in a constant state of transition. For more information about Mars RP, click HERE. Fastest travel time: 2 days.

The Belt & Beyond:

In order to minimize disputes over the exploitation of the outer system’s vast resources, corporate expansion beyond the asteroid belt is strictly regulated by the UBC and the Allied Regulatory Committee. By treaty, no corporation or entity may claim sovereignty over any planetary body or territory in the outer solar system. Development permits and territorial leases are issued to corporations only after the ARC negotiates how the resources and profits will be allocated. On occasion, the ARC will issue special charters to corporations for exploratory development programs.

  • Asteroids: Resource-rich asteroids have been the focus of heavy mining operations for decades now. However, other than a few notable exceptions, most asteroids are simply too small to support colonization. Those that make a living "off the belt" typically reside on corporate mining platforms and small orbital stations.
  • Ceres: Not only is Ceres the largest body in the asteroid belt, it is also the single greatest technological undertaking in modern history; Operation Summer Dawn. Funded by the UBC, and jointly developed by Gemini Planetary Systems and Tokuma Heavy Industry, the goal of the project is the relocation of Ceres into orbit around Mars to stabilize the planet’s axial tilt. Travel to Ceres is strictly prohibited, and the UBC has kept information about the project limited since it was publicly announced. Fastest travel time: 9 days
  • Beltway Transit Stations: The Beltway Transit Stations are a series of small UBC sensor installations and refueling depots located on the outer perimeter of the main belt. Each station monitors their region of space, keeping tabs on all traffic passing through that imaginary boundary the separates the inner and outer solar systems. All ships passing through the Beltway are legally required to dock for inspection before being permitted to continue on. Fastest travel time: 10 days
  • Jupiter: Due to the extremely high radiation levels and deep gravity well, development of the Jovian System (Jupiter and its moons) has been an exceedingly expensive prospect. Given the high costs and minimal returns, most corporations give Jupiter a wide berth. Besides a few mining facilities on the outer most moons of the system, Jupiter is still largely a no-man’s land. Fastest travel time: 24 days
  • Saturn: Saturn and its moons have proven friendlier to development than its larger neighbor, Jupiter. There are several permanent outposts in orbit around the planet with crews rotating in and out on a regular basis. However, its distance from the inner solar system has thus far limited wide scale trade of the systems resources. Fastest travel time: 46 days
  • Uranus: Uranus’ moon, Miranda, was once home to the furthest manned outpost in the solar system. However, problems with life support systems caused the outpost to be abandoned by its crew less than a year after it was established. Official interest in re-establishing the outpost has been minimal, and to-date there has been no further attempts. Beyond robotic missions to Neptune and several of the larger Kuiper Belt Objects (Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, etc.), Uranus remains the limit of human expansion in the solar system. Fastest travel time: 99 days