Planetary Engineering (with the aim of creating a habitable environment)
Image from Alex Mulvey
|Terraforming- before and after. The cool world Du Fu has been warmed by a swarm of orbiting mirrors, and seeded with replicating synano-envirotech.|
Edword woke up as the first sunlight shone on him. The night was cool, but tolerable, though in the early hours there was a heavy dew that had left him wet. As the sunlight hit his robe, the solar collectors in the smart cloth began charging the power system. Edword wore most of the computer systems he needed, though there was an installation with extensive infrastructure just a few kilometers away - he preferred to pack light on his little camping expeditions.
He stood up from his sleeping place, a bed of moss under a rather large tree and reached for a fruit from the nearby hambush. It was going to be a good day, he could tell already. He activated his personal smartdust cloud and began broadcasting - first to the planetary infrastructure, and then out to the Known Net at large. His broadcasts concerning his little project planet were viewed by millions, and he'd received several very helpful ideas from viewers and other hobbyist terraformers because of them. Now, if he could just get over the nervousness he felt when broadcasting...
"Good morning, everyone. It's Edword, again. Today is day 22,381 on my little planet. I've just woken up, and am having a little breakfast courtesy of this hambush," Edword said, pointing to the dark green bush with the flat brown fruit. "I was thinking, today we might try a flower."
Edword examined the viewer-submitted flower designs via his DNI - some designs more complete than others - and settled on a design submitted by a user claiming to be a young girl named Ary from somewhere in Negentropic Space. The design was little more than a sketch, and had no genetic makeup associated with it. He choose to think that some child drew this picture of this non-existent flower in the hopes that he would make it reality.
He spent the next several hours making a video showing his audience the process of turning this little girl's sketch into a living plant. By lunchtime, he had a suitable design hashed out, and took his lunch - a large tree fruit with a protein rich and savory tasting top half, and a sweet and starchy bottom half - sitting on a rock beside a lake. His molecular assemblers back at his home base by that point were busy creating seeds for the flowering vine he decided to call "Ary vine". It was going to be a large blue and white flower with a sweet scent. For the time being, he'd use synsects to pollinate the flowers, like all the rest, because so far, Edword himself was the only animal life on the planet.
As he finished lunch, a small flying drone dropped a packet of seeds in his lap and flew back to his home base.
He spent the afternoon planting the Ary vine seeds around the lake, all the while talking about interesting stories of things he'd done in the past and answering viewer questions. Two solid hours were spent answering technical questions about the tree he slept under last night - some of the questions were sent by researchers from the Banks Institute, and one of those questions Edword could detect as being a little odd. He got the feeling that this particular question was designed to spark in him a particular idea concerning the herbivore-carnivore relationship and his future designs for this planet. He suspected it was an instance of memetic engineering - so he set that question aside until he could research the author a little better.
Edword took his dinner back to the bed of moss under the tree - it was surprisingly comfortable - and dined on a salad of mixed greens and fishweed - an aquatic deliplant of his own design whose fruit mimicked fish meat.
As the sun set and the Cat's Eye nebula rose, Edword said to his viewers, "And that was day 22,381. Today I made the Ary Vine. We'll keep a close watch on that one as it grows. Keep sending in suggestions and you just might get a design embodied. Sleep well, those of you viewers who do sleep, and I'll see you tomorrow." He switched off his broadcast and lay back to look at the stars. Edword fell asleep looking at the pale white fuzz of the Cat's Eye nebula. His last thought, as he went to sleep, was that the loaded question was designed to get him to make a large carnivorous bird as an apex predator. He'd consider it - after scolding the person who sent in the question.
Far from planet-dwelling being abandoned, I adhere to the vision of planets being the luxury real estate of the far future. Natural homes for life where life-support is almost or completely freed from the need for technological subsidy. Thus terraforming might not just have a crucial part to play in the future of the Solar System, but more importantly, in the unfolding drama of life in the Universe as a whole.
Martyn J. Fogg, Terraforming (early Information Era)
|Comet impact 21600123-5 striking Hellas Planitia, the designated main target area on the southern hemisphere of Mars. The constant stream of ice packages from the outer system striking Mars at regular intervals did not cause much problems for near-planet traffic control and did in fact keep the Mars alliances well supplied with volatiles for their orbital habitats. Only a handful of accidents did occur, the most serious when 22070712-1 hit a settlement in the Terra Tyrrhena after an unexpected very strong outgassing a few minutes before impact.|
|Kirch, a former venusian world in the outer Solar Dominion is in the final stages of terraforming by the Disciples of St. Fogg. A solar shade is located outside the picture several million kilometres to the left, keeping the planet in the shadow-cone. Above the planet the main soletta orbits, reflecting sunlight onto the planet. It is surrounded by control solar sails and maintenance stations. Around the moon Frial the local garden can be seen, currently in the process of growing the seed biosphere of the planet. Frial was used as a source of reducing material to reduce the atmosphere of Kirch; the structure currently acting as garden produced energy to drive several thousand mass drivers launching iron, calcium and magnesium dust at the planet.|
|Psi Serpentis V in the middle stages of being terraformed by Lander Geotech (approximately 2049). The formerly hot greenhouse world has been cooled using solar shades and the atmosphere thinned by Sagan algae. A relative simple terraforming target, although the high level of nitrogen in the geosphere and the occasional flares of the star made it somewhat hard to balance ecologically.|
Creating Habitable Planetary Environments
|A Stanleymiller Biogenesis ecoforming cluster about to seed the Mars-type planet New-Zeia (formerly YTS 3261-2610419-iv) with bionanotech replicator globules; Sagittarius Sector, Outer Volumes, 10192. Stanleymiller Biogenesis is one of a number of terraforming corporations opening up the sector's periphery to habitation.|