Sextans Swarm Planet
Image from Steve Bowers
A swarm planet in Sextans, apparently infected with a machinecology of unknown origin.
A Machinecology is an artificial analog to a biological ecology. The components of a machine ecology may include nanotech robotic bacteria-analogs and microscale and macroscale analogs to autotrophs, heterotrophs and decay organisms. In some cases such an ecology is capable of evolution by exchanging and self-modifying the design specifications of each independent component. In other cases the machinecology is directed by an intelligent agent of some sort, sometimes contained within the ecology and sometimes external to it.

Some machinecologies solely consist of hylonanites, with no macroscale components; these are referred to as hylonanoecologies, or machinanoecologies. Machine ecologies of this kind are often used as a first stage in terraforming, or as a mining strategy.
Stanislaw Mechosystem :
Stanislaw Mechosystem
A planet or megastructure which is covered in machinecologies is commonly known as a botworld. Since almost every planet in the Terragen Sphere holds a significant amount of self-maintaining machinery, the mechanical content of each world is known collectively as the Mechosphere.

Image from Anders Sandberg
Bothyga M'Vau, a planet covered in feral machinecologies

Machine ecologies are considerably more common than biological ecologies in volumes controlled by the Diamond Network and the Solipsist Panvirtuality. In the Current Era both of these metaempires avoid worlds with biological lifeforms, as it seems that they wish to avoid uncontrolled hybridisation events.
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Updated by Steve Bowers 2018
Initially published on 08 December 2001.