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.|
Most people watched them through the feeds of course. They tapped in every now and then or had summaries displayed in their virches. But I've always been fascinated by Neumanns so over the years I did little else but watch them from orbit, my augmented senses drinking in the data flooding in through the satellites. We'd brought about a hundred of them with us, each one no bigger than a caleb. They flew from our craft in drop pods barely bigger than their own bodies. All but two survived re-entry which was well within statistical parameters. We dropped them in small packs and singletons at landing sites distributed across the barren world; far enough apart to give each other breeding room but close enough to cooperate once they'd set up.
That first year was a slow, beautiful progression. They grazed and dug and roamed, spawning little ones that would do the same. Most of the same kind but increasingly of different designs. Small things that burrowed, smaller things that buzzed through the air, and larger models that would grow big enough to scrape quarries in mere megaseconds. I watched as they went from disparate packs to clusters of early civilisation. Little mechanosystems of solar trees, transport tubes and fab-houses. They grew like insect hives made up of hundreds of species. The ground was pocketed with tunnels dug by cthonic bots, cillia seeds coating the walls forming flowstone that ensured a constant stream of minerals to the surface. Giant beetle-like Neumans sat next to storage towers, their probiscis' sucking down raw material to proces in their specialist organs. The refined mattercache they produced was distributed among the ever growing, ever gravid workforce.
The second year was explosive, thousands became millions and from our orbit we could have seen the progress with our biological eyes if we had them; it was like silver fungus growing on an apple. Each night the cities of industry would grow further, dropping spores way outside their borders that would blossom into mechanical life before connecting to the main. During the third year increasingly resources were allocated away from growth and to the terraforming proper. There were hundreds of billions of them now and the surface of the planet was encrusted with manufactories and infrastructure. Thousands of fusion generators pumped energy into the ground to melt the permafrost. Billions of bots large and small erect channels to direct the water to areas being excavated to become our seas (the models there were amphibious and kept working even as the first floods came). Bioforges synthesised soil, biota, seeds and basic life that trillions of machines laid across continents. From my lofty view it was like watching a plague of locust in reverse, swarming over a dead land and leaving it alive.
After a decade the planet was prepared enough that we could move into the cities (so simple compared to the rest of the efforts they were thrown up in the last megasecond, as though an afterthought). There were tens of billion continuing the work of nursing the world from its nascent biosphere to one as rich as Old Earth, but the vast majority of the mechanosystem had been dismantled. Deemed no longer necessary and recycled. My fellow colonists barely gave it a moments thought. But in all the centuries I lived there I could never forget the majesty and the awesome power of those Neumann swarms.
Excerpt from Tyrol's Travel Notes: Terraformers
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.|