Mercury

Mercury
Image from Steve Bowers


Mercury Data Panel

System:Solsys
Primary:Sol
Planet:Mercury (Sol I)
Planet Type:Small, rocky world, Hermian type. This world has a large, molten core heated by tidal flexing and primordial radioactivity.
Distance from Primary:orbits Sol at a mean distance of 0.387 AU.
Radius:2439 km
Density:5.44 gm/cm3
Gravity:0.378 gee
Day59 days
Year88 days
Axial Tilt:7 degrees
Satellites:none
Atmosphere:No atmosphere apart from helium from the solar wind trapped by its weak magnetic field. Non-terraformed, but some underground habitats for bionts and food production.
Average Surface temperature:between 350°C and -170°C.
AIAI overseers: no single overseer
PolityName: Mercury Administration (Umbrella Body)
Symbol: Several ai generated symbols
Affiliation: The Solar Organisation / Formalhaut Acquisition Society
Colonized: First manned landing in 2098 c.e. (129 A.T.) in a multinational mission from Earth. This fast moving world is isolated from the rest of the Solar System by the large delta-vee requirements of any journey from elsewhere in Solsys to its surface; so it remained untrodden for a relatively long time. However the large solar flux and mineral wealth allowed this world to quickly become economically important, despite never supporting a large population.
Psyche, Art, CultureCulture: For several thousand years the Fomalhaut Acquisition Society has maintained links with the population of this small planet Besides its mineral wealth and abundant solar energy, Mercury has great historical significance and a thriving tourist industry has developed largely due to FAS investment.
Language: a number of ai and vec dialects, and several SunMiner languages; you can get by with SolOrg Anglish in all the more touristy areas
Territory and PopulationPopulation: surface: Present population is approximately 0.12 billion, mostly ais, vecs, cyborgs, a number of old Duperior clades, and a small but influential number of Sun Miners.
Territory: Mercury and Cis-Mercurian space; the intra-mercurial bands are considered protectorates but have complete autonomy
Government and AdministrationGovernment Type: Coalition of semi-autonomous city- and habitat-states; Caloris City is the nominal capital.
Legal system: Conforms to all Solar Organisation Standards
Foreign Policy: Member Polity of the The Solar Organisation. Close Trade, Cultural and Ideological links with other member states.
Economics, Local InfrastructureEconomy.
Currency: Osmium standard, Solar credit
Major Industries: tourism, helioanakalyptics, arts and crafts, amat production, pilgrimage
Angelnetting: in some orbitals and cities
Population centers (Surface): The population is concentrated in a number of sites including the current 'capital' Caloris City, built on the site of the old (pre-nanoswarm) Pittsburgh Dva, a US-Russian mining colony. During the First Federation Era this was a major mining/industrial complex for Amat Systems corporation, but very little remains now. Other settlements include Helio Arcology, Scarp City (still popular with vecs), Petrarch, and Big Heat (an old tweak settlement currently becoming increasingly gentrified with Sun Miners buying up real estate for holiday homes).
Mercury OrbitalsGovernment: aligned with surface, or independent
Sophonts: about 2.49 billion, mostly ais and copies, and miscellaneous virtuals, with a few vecs, cyborgs, and sun miners, and the occasional tweaks, heroms, and nearbaselines
Industries : amat production, plasma-computing, helioanakalyptics, simaesthetics, tourism
TravelMajor Spaceports:.
Surface: Mercury Interplanetary, also many smaller ones
Orbital: Helios Major; Clarke Docks; other smaller ones
Hazard Rating : orbital 0.0 to 0.2
surface 0.0 to 5.5
Visa Restrictions: Two to three month waiting period for a surface visa (this period can be considerably shortened if one has the right contacts and/or can find a bribeable official
Freedom of Movement: some habitats not accessible to bionts
Environmental Requirements: Vacuum suit (with temperature control) required for non-biont areas
Sites of Interest: Still based on Mercury are a number of ancient solar observatories, most of them robot outposts. Although the ais inhabiting them still continue the original duty of the forecasting of solar flares, for the most part they seem more interested in aesthetic contemplation of the endless variations of solar activity. These outposts are also a popular spot with Sun Miners, who have a friendly sim art and cultural exchange relationship with the ais.

Mercury is a world rich in history. During the late Interplanetary era Mercury was the base for a number of amat megacorps, which converted solar power into amat. The largest of the several facilities at Mercury was an Exodynamics mining and fabrication operation producing solar panels. These were used in amat farms in near solar orbit to produce kilogram quantities of antimatter per year. There were also huge mining industries, mainly descended from workers who settled on Mercury from a number of different nations and corporations, mining the heavy siderophile elements such as osmium and platinum which were found in greater abundance on Mercury than anywhere else in the Solar System, though at very great depths. Because of this much of Mercury's surface is still scarred by mining, either tailings from the deep tunnels or by the huge pits (excavated by bomb and energy beam) created to expose the mineral-bearing layers.

A number of habitats survived the first wave of nanoswarms on Mercury, but a later evolution of nanites killed nearly all bionts and destroyed most of the colonies. The Joh-Lau culture managed to survive this destruction, and survived through the entire Solsys Dark Ages, but after achieving great cultural heights had declined to a few savage remnants by the time it was discovered in the late 900's.

During the First Federation era Mercury was once again the center of the amat megacorps, but after the development of the conversion drive their megacomplexes were largely abandoned to vecs and some squatting tweak clans. In 2650 an infestation of autoevolving nanotech life began to spread (apparently an attempt at ecological art from one minor group), causing major concern. The Solar Organisation began a long and costly clean-up, restoring Mercury to its former grandeur. Currently it has become something of a traditional in-spot for the Sun Miners.

The Helios Orbital Bands, important solar power collection structures in orbit around the Sun within Mercury's orbit, were mostly built from material exported from Mercury's surface. Closer to the Sun still are several layers of connected superobjects constructed by the goddess GAIA Herself for her own energy needs and for data processing; these objects have been constructed from material lifted directly from the star.

Population Centers: The population is concentrated in a number of sites including the current "capital" Caloris City, built on the site of the old (pre-nanoswarm) Pittsburgh Dva, a US-Russian mining colony. During the First Federation Era this was a major industrial complex for Amat Systems Corporation, but very little remains now. Other settlements include Helio Arcology, Scarp City (still popular with vecs), Petrarch, and Big Heat (an old tweak settlement currently becoming increasingly gentrified with Sun Miners buying up real estate for holiday homes).

The domed habitats on Mercury's surface are reflective for reasons of thermal management; other darker areas are concentrations of solar power collectors. Many of the deep caverns created by mining are used for agriculture using piped sunlight.

Most recently the Fomalhaut Acquisition Society has heavily invested in the tourist trade on this world, opening numerous and luxurious hotels and other accommodation; this is viewed with some suspicion in traditionalist Solar Org quarters, who question the motives of this large interstellar trading empire. But the economy of Mercury has gained many benefits from this investment to date.

 
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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg and M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 02 August 2002.