World of Meditating Idols

First planet to be discovered with alien ruins

The World of Meditating Idols
Image from Steve Bowers
The Meditating Idols resemble aeolian wind-forms, but include stonework which has been deliberately shaped to resemble the xenosophonts who created them.
StarHD 117207, Sagrei
Type: G8IV
Luminosity 1.17 x Sol
Constellation: Centaurus
Distance from Sol: 107 ly
Type: EuJovian.
Mass 1.88 x Jupiter
Semi-major axis 3.79 AU
The World of Meditating Idols.
Type: PostGaian - a formerly Earth-like world, now mostly lifeless
Mass 0.91 x Earth
Semimajor Axis 1.05 AU
Image from Steve Bowers
Mohan is a dry post-gaian world with mostly dried-up salt oceans
The world Sagrei c, known as Mohal, formerly had a rich macrobial biosphere, but the gradual warming of its star has caused the continents to dry out, and only small polar seas remain containing a few degenerate halophile species. A thorough survey of the planet in 1915 AT uncovered some traces of a preindustrial stone-carving culture. Most spectacular of the relics were the so-called Meditating Idols, which were found in a number of desert environments where they had recently been uncovered by wind erosion.

This discovery represented the first archaeological evidence of a xenosophont species in situ on the surface of a planet. Previously a small number of technological relics had been discovered in orbit in other systems, such as the derelict craft found at Epsilon Sculptoris. Since the civilisation on Mohal appeared to have not progressed beyond stone tools, it seemed very likely that they had never expanded into space and were therefore unconnected with the earlier discoveries.

The remains on this world stimulated considerable scientific debate and also inspired a number of quasi-religious cults. Debates centered on whether the species concerned were simply an extinct pre-technological stone-age species (as most of the archaeologists believed) or the idols represented a center of cosmic energy and vibration, left there to impart mystical knowledge to later cultures. Many of the cults that grew up around the artifacts found on this world were convinced that the discovery of alien intelligence would be the most significant event to occur in Terragen History, and were somewhat disappointed to find that the reality was comparatively mundane.

In any case, although this could not be counted as first contact with living xenosophonts, the discovery of ruins and artifacts such as this excited tremendous interest. The Meditating Idols were dated as being 760 million years old, and the few fossils that remained showed that the former inhabitants of this world were three-legged and cone-shaped, somewhat smaller than a baseline human but with three powerful upper limbs.

Still a center of cultists, scientific research, and tourism.
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Updated by Steve Bowers and The Astronomer 2020
Initially published on 08 December 2001.