Creating an Exoplanet Colony

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
Facedanser Facedanser's picture
Creating an Exoplanet Colony

Hi all,

I am toying with the idea of running an Eclipse phase campaign, and have a few ideas I'm knocking around. Just brain storming really, but would appreciate any input or feedback at all.

The general setup is:

Exoplanet colony in the 'Hot red mist' of the corona of the Carbon star, La Superba.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Superba

Obviously with the temperature being about 2800K the site where the colony is either an alien artifact (not preferred) or some form of natural body. Not sure what it would be made of, a massive chunk of say Tungsten seems off, I just can't think of a good naturally occurring substance that would resist such a temperature?

The colony I visualize as a mixed Solarian/ Hypercorp venture to investigate the star, and to establish an alternative Solarian habitat away from Sol. It would only be small, say 100-200 transhumans in the colony centered around the Pandora gate towards the edge of the known gate network, thus allowing for exploration and scouting forays by colonists and visits by Gatecrashers just 'passing through'. I'm thinking Pathfinder or Gatekeeper as Hypercorp sponsors, but can't think of a third faction to involve. Exhumans or crime syndicates maybe?, but the colony is small which would limit their activities somewhat?

Some vague thoughts on events and activities
- Exploring and surviving the corona of the star
- Friction between Solarian and Hypercorp interests
- Exploration though the gate
- Local social politics and 'soap opera' elements
- Non-sentient life (plasma based?)- not too keen on this one though

Just rambling a bit now.....will post more maybe

thezombiekat thezombiekat's picture
I can’t see any natural

I can’t see any natural object maintaining that position, aside from melting or burning up it will also experience gravity and atmospheric drag so it’s going to fall into the star, which leaves you 3 options.

Alien base in the star (you already prefer not)

Trans-human base in the star with gate. On discovery the gate itself was located in the corona with no other structures. The colonists built a base around it using the same methods used for the sol coronal stations. This project would require huge amounts of gate time (pass prebuilt station component threw, attach, pass next component threw) so it was probably run threw an extra solar gate.

The gate is not in the star, it is located close, comparable to the vulconoid gate, and there is now a small launching platform by the gate to transfer to the colony under construction in the corona. The vulcanoids in the exo system can also provider raw materials for building base components rather than shipping everything threw the gate.

puke puke's picture
but it blows...

I imagine the solar wind (1e6 times that of sol!) would at least partially offset the drag?

of course, your're trading angular velocity (due to drag) for a push directly away from the star, so I guess that answers my own question.

Still, in that environment some sort of solar sail would probably be how you perform station keeping. could also be a pusher-plate / heat-shield combination, if positioned between the hab and the star.

Does the magnetosphere of a red giant expand as its corona does? Probably not. But if it did, you might find some sort of Zubrin style magnetic or plasma sail viable. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_sail

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
puke wrote:I imagine the

puke wrote:
I imagine the solar wind (1e6 times that of sol!) would at least partially offset the drag?

Of course, your're trading angular velocity (due to drag) for a push directly away from the star, so I guess that answers my own question.

It does. Solar wind is at most counteracting some of the gravity, but the drag eats angular momentum. Radiation pressure is a tricky case - likely far, far to weak to matter in this case, but since it is coming from many directions it might also act as a drag on a moving body. Some fun physics to work out there.

Quote:

Still, in that environment some sort of solar sail would probably be how you perform station keeping. could also be a pusher-plate / heat-shield combination, if positioned between the hab and the star.

Unfortunately solar sails are fairly wimpy unless they have a huge surface area. A tilted sail could in principle reflect away light to provide a push counteracting drag, except that it would have a big surface area to be dragged. However, a magsail powered by the abundant sunlight might be able to work and provide counter-drag.

You can likely count on the magnetic field being really big, since the corona is full of plasma. It is a cooler corona than the sun's, but still likely conductive.

Extropian

thezombiekat thezombiekat's picture
puke wrote:

puke wrote:

Still, in that environment some sort of solar sail would probably be how you perform station keeping. could also be a pusher-plate / heat-shield combination, if positioned between the hab and the star.
/wiki/Magnetic_sail

unfortunately structures like solar sails do not show up in nature. once an intelligent agency is building the object there are plenty of ways it can maintain position in the corona, the OP was trying to avoid that however.
puke puke's picture
well sure, not so common

well sure, not so common around here. but when you're in an environment where basic orbital mechanics are not enough to keep you "up", and some form of powered flight isnt an option, you've gotta work with what you've got.

What you've got in this case is heat, drag, and high solar wind.

In this case, if you want naturally occurring, something light that can drift on that wind is the only unpowered non-magical option I see. Maybe something with long billowing filaments, or maybe some sort of foamed metal or aerogel.

Since Facedanser wanted exploration to be a theme, you probably need an environment where this sort of thing is common. Whatever this structure or body is, multiple of them must litter the place. And keep in mind, an easy out for unlikely structures is that the place must have been interesting enough for some reason to put a gate there in the first place.

You can probably tear that down too, but just go ahead and assume everyone already knows you can tear it down and move on.

thezombiekat thezombiekat's picture
That actually has some

That actually has some interesting possibilities.

If the stellar chemistry was just so mater might precipitate out forming solid structures within the corona. If the mater precipitated out in an aerogel like structure it could be neutral buoyant in the corona, there are compounds IRL that frees at a lower temperature than they melt, so the material could condense in the upper corona and remain solid as they fell back down to a depth of neutral buoyancy. This is of cause improbable beyond all comprehension. And as such would justify extensive research probably becoming a major justification for the existence of the colony. People would theorise (rightly or wrongly) that the star had been altered to create this effect.

This would be a problem if Facedanser already has ideas about why the colony exists and doesn’t want to complicate them by adding more mysteries. No matter what other purposes the colony serves it would not be credible to leave out a sizable contingent devoted to the study of the solids precipitating out of the star.

I did some checking and carbon is a solid at 2800K (all the way up to 4000k). It would take some extremely specific conditions for the carbon produced by the star to precipitate out in a form capable of maintaining a position in the corona (probably a solidified closed cell foam), such an occurrence would be remarkable and worthy of study. As worthy of study as an alien base. This may or may not cause a problem for the campaign. I know with my players if I said there was a rock inside a star and it was being treated as unremarkable I would get laughed at. If I wanted to run with this I would include some scientists on the team studying the phenomenon and there would be no problem at all.

Facedanser Facedanser's picture
All advice/ feedback welcome.

All advice/ feedback welcome.

I think I may go for a free floating gate, the original body it was on now destroyed by the star, with a cluster habitat built piece by piece around it.

I had considered carbon bodies in the corona, not decided yet though. Physics wise they may be unlikely, but for gaming purposes they give possibilities.

I'm thinking Terragenesis as the sponsoring Hypercorp? But they aint very 'colony builder' in nature. But they have the Vulcanoid gate and its access to near-Sol space.

Also having read up a bit, the colony needs a source of water. Thinking either imported from Sol system (expensive) or harvested from a ice source through the gate?

thezombiekat thezombiekat's picture
Importing water from sol

Importing water from sol would be very expensive especially if the vulconoid gate is the link point (they don’t exactly have a water surplus). But what else can they do initially, going to the outer system of La Superba requires lots of infrastructure and it would take time to locate a suitable ice or water world that connects to the La Superba gate.

If your PCs are participating in colonisation this opens up some opportunities. Until an independent water supply can be found the colony size is limited by gate time to sol for water deliveries. There is now the opportunity for some trips through the La Superba gate looking for an alternative water supply so the colony can grow. Ice moons are fairly common but given just how dependant on external water supplies the colony is, and the habit of Pandora gates just “forgetting” an address they may want more than one ice delivery colony.