Image from Steve Bowers

Phobos - Data Panel

Dimensions26.8 x 22.4 x 18.4 km
Gravity860-190 microgees
Orbital period0.31891023 standard days (7 h 39.2 min)
Surface temperature233 K

One of Mars' two natural satellites. After extensive mining little remains of the original Phobos.

Shortly before the time of the Technocalypse, 2 million sophonts lived on and beneath the surface of Phobos. Half of these were infomorphs of various kinds living in the large computronium cores built within the object. The embodied population lived in networks of tunnels and caverns carved into the moon, while the infomorphs lived in a virtual environment and interacted with ril via advanced telepresence robots and 3D projection technology.

At this time Phobos hosted a major technical school and research complex specializing in virtual reality, a-life, and computronium development. One major research project was an attempt to create a simple but self-sustaining robotic ecology inside an asteroid in the Belt.

During the Late Interplanetary Age Phobos possessed a linear accelerator stretching from the edge of the Stickney crater on its 'front' side, through its core, and to its trailing side. Temporary accelerator towers several kilometers in height could be extended from Phobos' surface. Used at up to 100 gravities, and launching alternately forward and backward to avoid disruptions to Phobos' orbit, this installation accelerated cargoes to 6 km/s, or more, well above Mars' escape velocity.

Phobos Timeline

243 BT (1726 c.e.): The fictional astronomers of Laputa are described as having discovered two satellites of Mars. This tale is the source of the early names of a number of Phobos' and Deimos' surface features.

82 BT 09:14, Brahe 1, (August 18, 1877 AD): Phobos first detected.

35 BT: First publication of 'Swords of Mars' portion of 'Barsoom' fantasy serial, in which a civilization on Phobos, locally named Thuria and Ladan, is visited.

Men 16 and Men 21, 18 AT (1988 c.e.): Soviet Phobos 1 and Phobos 2 probes launched. The first is lost en route, the second returns unusual data and fails shortly before beginning detailed examination.

68 AT: first manned mission to Mars surveys Phobos in detail

227: AML moves to Phobos

282: AML sympathizers attempt to steal genetic material from baseline genius Alexander Chandraisimlar.

350: USS Randolph CSGN-04 mothballed in Phobos. The hull of the Randolph was part of a historical museum at Phobos until that satellite was mined out.

377: AML engages in genocidal campaign against other inhabitants on Phobos, are in turn attacked by transhuman coalition. The moon is quarantined for ten years.

387: Phobos is recolonized, primarily by a consortium of four main interests: California and Nunavut in North America, miners of Popigai Crater in Siberia, and Norway in the European Federation.

460 - 510 AT: Phobos' technical school undertakes 'class projects' to build interstellar lightsail probes every four years. A local AI calling itself 'Packrat' volunteers to be the payload for these probes, forming the basis for what will later be called the Packrat spores.

642: Phobos used as emergency living quarters for refugees from the GAIA expulsion.

652: One of the largest amat colony ships to leave the Solar System is built from material extracted from Phobos. It arrives at Twilight in 890 AT

700: Over the last five hundred years Phobos has been extensively mined to provide material for the Mars Halo habitats, and later to build several interstellar arkships. By 700 this small moon has been reduced to a thousandth of its former mass. The population at this time was less than ten thousand.

934: Phobos joins the Federation of Sophonts.

1200 onwards - Following reconstruction, Phobos has a significant Empath population; here the emotion-based language VA13 is developed

c. 1722: In honor of the bicentennial of the technology, and as a demonstration of power that can move an entire moon, a conversion engine and related structural improvements are installed in Phobos, converting it into a mobile platform.

Later: Over the ensuing millennia, it travels throughout Solsys, and even to Proxima Centauri. It has also been returned to Martian orbit several times, generally whenever historical sentimentality rises high enough among its current residents.

Mars and Phobos
Image from Steve Bowers
Mars and Phobos

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Development Notes
Text by Daniel Eliot Boese and Mark Ryherd
Initially published on 22 September 2010.