Blue bishop ring
Image from Steve Bowers

The infrastructure of the civilized galaxy includes vast megascale engineering works, custom-built biospheres, dedicated expert systems and hyperturings, entire ecologies of mechosystems, angelnetting, nanofacturing and efficient recycling of materials. Terragen civilization is based on foundations that would have been fantasy in the pre-archailect era.

  • Akilaspek Trees  - Text by Johnny Yesterday
    Giant planetbound trees used for food production and habitation.
  • Anchor, anchorweight  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Colloquial name for the anchoring mass used to maintain tension on a beanstalk orbital elevator. Anchors may be developed and used as habitat or docking nodes or may be enclosed in a technic membrane and terraformed into low gravity biomes.
  • Arcology  - Text by Anders Sandberg, Trent Shipley, and M. Alan Kazlev
    A planned, building/ neighborhood/ city that is integrated into the landscape and enables the inhabitants to live holistic lives, integrating work and play. Arcology designs are fully 3-dimensional, mega-structure cities which can in theory achieve much greater efficiencies, and promote more social interaction than 2-dimensional cities, while using far less land and consuming fewer resources.
  • Artificial Planets  - Text by Steve Bowers
    A number of very energy-costly, hi-tech or god-tech methods that allow the construction of new planets or planet-like objects to order.
  • Artificial Worlds  - Text by Anders Sandberg, John M. Dollan, and Steve Bowers
    Artificial worlds can be divided into habitats (when a habitat can be called a world is of course always a matter of taste, but the formation of a self-sustaining climate and ecology without the need for constant maintenance is usually the relevant point), mega-habitats (>100 km), Banks orbitals, ISOs, Dyson swarms, and other structures (like Kepleria). Categorization is usually simply by basic design, with no need for more elaboration.
  • Atmospheric Thermal Energy Conversion Towers  - Text by AI Vin
    These towers come in two basic types; updraft and downdraft. The first type, the downdraft tower, makes use of the thermal energy inherent in Hadley Cell Circulation Zones. The second simply makes use of the thermal siphon/chimney effect. They first became common in the Information Age on Old Earth and are still used on a variety of natural and artificial worlds for power generation, environmental control and terraforming, or both.
  • Aysee Tent  - Text by Kirran Lochhead Strang
    Air-conditioned pseudoarcologies within tent-like structures.
  • Banks' Orbital  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A Banks Orbital is an extremely large hoop-shaped artificial habitat that rotates once per day to create artificial gravity along its inner surface. A Banks Orbital can provide natural-seeming and self-maintaining environments over surface areas that are hundreds to thousands of times larger than of a typical rocky planet like Old Earth.
  • Bernal Sphere  - Text by Steve Bowers and Dagon
    A rotating spherical space habitat
  • Binerator - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A megascale electrical engineering device built around the interstellar plasma flow between unequal size stars in a binary system. The hollow tube like device uses charged plasma particles flowing through it to produce electricity.
  • Biocity - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Stephen Inniss
    A city or urban area created and maintained primarily through biotech ("wet" tech) methods and materials, and consisting of living organisms or their products (bone, wood, coral, shell, and so on) as opposed to one constructed using non-living "dry" tech and associated materials such as concrete, steel, glass, stone, diamondoid, or corundumoid.
  • Biomachine  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and AI Vin
    Any machine or device based on organic components rather than inorganic mechanisms.
  • Bishop Ring  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Todd Drashner and Steve Bowers
    Giant rotating orbital habitat, built of woven diamondoid/buckyfibre cable; these come in a range of sizes up to 2000 km in diameter and 500 km deep.
  • Bluesky Worldhouses  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Benedita Dacosta, known as Bluesky, brought the worldhouse concept to many cyborgised colonies in the Doran Empire, and later as the Bluesky Bioxoxes, all over Terragen space.
  • Bok Swarm  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Class of extremely large and wide ranging habitat swarm built within Bok globules
  • Bubblehabs  - Text by Stephen Inniss, With additional material by Tardigrada 2021
    Artificial habitats that float in a planetary atmosphere, such as a cytherian, neptunian or jovian world.
  • Campbell Station  - Text by Sean R
    Solsys Era space habitat
  • Caneshe Habitat  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Habitat in Solsys historically inhabited by Provolved Dogs.
  • Canopy Plant  - Text by Terrafamilia
    Canopy Plants are neogen plants used in terraforming, paraterraforming, or habitat creation.
  • Clarke Habitats, Clarke Rings  - Text by AI Vin with additions by Steve Bowers
    Space habitats built in stationary orbits around planets, often linked loosely together to form a Clarke Ring. Also variously known as Clarke bands or Clarke orbital bands.
  • Crystal Trees  - Text by AI Vin
    Light-gathering structures with a branching, tree-like form.
  • Datacology   - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    An evolved (and evolving) digital ecosystem in a virtual world.
  • Datahavens  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A repository where for some fee or other consideration information that might be otherwise be confiscated, erased, or modified by hostile persons or organizations is stored, and guarded against those dangers for some future use. Unlike the archives of an institute, megacorp, or polity, a datahaven is a special-purpose operation, and typically open to a variety of clients.
  • Deep Well Industrial Zone  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Heavy duty industrial and manufacturing zones are most often found in the Inner Sphere and most heavily developed areas of the Middle Regions.
  • Derrida ISO  - Text by John B
    To prevent lag in computronium caused by upload overpopulation in an ISO, some few ISOs have taken to 'Derridaism', which is Named after the Old Earth French late Industrial Age philosopher Jacques Derrida. The basic concept is to take the population's personality types and break them down into their smallest cogent fractions - e.g., a love for baseball, a memory of breeze in your hair, etc. These fractions are then assigned a weight depending on how common they are across the population's experience base.
  • Dimple Worlds  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Worlds and habitats where only part of the surface has been terraformed, usually a hollow crater or canyon.
  • Diskworlds  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Class of ring-shaped habitat that encloses nearly its entire diameter to provide an extensive and diverse habitable volume.
  • Dome Habitats  - Text by Steve Bowers
    An enclosed, pressurised habitat located on the surface of a planet, moon or asteroid.
  • Drift  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Type of Backgrounder habitat or worldship designed to slowly travel across interstellar space.
  • Dyson Swarm, Dyson Sphere  - Text by Todd Drashner and Steve Bowers with extra material by Mike Parisi and M. Alan Kazlev
    A huge spherical megastructure or habitat swarm constructed around a star in order to maximize living space and capture the entire energy output of that star
  • Dyson Tree Variant: Wagon Wheel   - Text by Mike Miller
    Genetically modified tree grown in space which rotates to produce artificial gravity
  • Dyson Trees  - Text by Todd Drashner, Anders Sandberg and M. Alan Kazlev
    Genetically engineered trees employing bio-nanotech. Created to function as a biological space habitat. First proposed by physicist Freeman Dyson in the early Information Age.
  • Ederworlds  - Text by AI Vin
    Inflated, self-gravitating megastructures
  • Eyes of Neptune, The  - Text by Tom Mazanec, updated by The Astronomer in 2021
    Long baseline telescope in First Federation era Solsys.
  • Flo-stone  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Nanotech based material used for flooring and originally designed to simulate the look and feel of marble or ceramic.
  • Four Seasons Habitats  - Text by Alex Mulvey
    Habitats with environments which replicate the four temperate seasonal climates
  • Fractal Dyson  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, additions by Steve Bowers
    Type of Dyson Sphere using a fractaform surface to get as much habitable area as possible, thereby maximizing return on investment. There are several Fractal Dysons in the MPA, including one semi-rigid (Kepleria) form. Also, the Paradigm dysons are of a fractal type.
  • Freesphere  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Free fall habitat often used as a recreational area in an orbital band or as habitation for the space adapted.
  • Frosthive  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Class of Haloist habitat built to extend the useful volume of a comet or Kuiper belt body.
  • Fullairs  - Text by AI Vin
    Airborne arcologies supported by warm air. A variety of bubblehab.
  • Fusion Candle  - Text by Alex Mulvey
    Thrust mechanism used to propel gaseous planets
  • Gigerant Travelling City  - Text by Ryan B
    A Caravansari settlement in the Kyoshi C component, formed by the union of 300,000 family omnicraft that had been journeying as a community for a generation.
  • Goldilocks ISO  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    The SZ Crateris A VII ISO "Goldilocks". The ISO is 150 kilometres across and consists of tangles of fullerite threads with superconductor cores and irregular diamondoid computational nodes.
  • Gravitational Interferometers  - Text by Adam Getchell
    Instruments for recording the passing of gravitational waves.
  • Gravity Balloons  - Text by Steve Bowers, AlanSE
    Balloon-like habitats in space that use asteroid material to counter the pressure on the surface of the balloon.
  • Harlem High  - Text by Mike Miller
    One of the first Cislunar Bracelet Band habitats.
  • High Cyclers  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Collective term for some two dozen habitats traveling in multiple eccentric orbits around the world of Corona. Each cycler is placed on a different orbital path around the planet with perigees of five hundred to one thousand kilometers and apogees ranging from one hundred thousand to over a million kilometers, depending on the habitat.
  • Hotpoint  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Fusion generators used for illumination and energy generation in Haloist and Backgrounder habitats.
  • Intra-habitats  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Smaller inhabited structures which occupy space inside larger habitats.
  • ISO (Intelligent Super-Object)  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A large construct intended for the housing of an archailect or transapient or a high singularity culture or civilization. ISOs can be mobile or stationary, with sizes ranging from a few kilometers to Dyson spheres.
  • Kepler and Bucky habitat clusters  - Text by AI Vin
    Clusters of habitats arranged in polyhedral or geodesic arrays
  • Klemperer rosette  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A stable system of heavier and lighter bodies orbiting in a regular repeating pattern around a common barycenter.
  • Known Net, The  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev; additional comments by John Snead
    The interstellar information network and interlinked cybercosms that has grown over thousands of years from the old pre-singularity Internet and InterPlanetNet.
  • Lagrange Magshield, The  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Interplanetary Age concept, which was developed from research into magsails and Ram-assisted magscoops.
  • Leo Hyperobject 1  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Vast megastructure 339 million light years from the Milky Way, in Abell 1367
  • Lifts, The (Kiyoshi)  - Text by Todd Drashner
    System of artificial airborne 'islands' built on Kiyoshi to commemorate the bimillenial of its construction.
  • Lofstrom Loop  - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhuman Terminology
    Dynamic launch loop using a continuous stream of linked magnetic units to raise payloads above the atmosphere for launch.
  • Low World Houses  - Text by Wesley Bruce
    Low canopies to retain a breathable atmosphere on an otherwise inhospitable planet.
  • Mass-Stream Technology (Space Fountains and Orbital Rings)  - Text by Todd Drashner; Steve Bowers;
    Using accelerated streams of projectiles or particles to either transfer momentum or support a large structure.
  • Matrioshka Brain  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Dyson-sized (or bigger) megastructure giving most efficient processing out-put for energy input; designed to maximize energy use and processing efficiency.
  • Matrioshka Hypernode  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Matrioshka node powered by starlifting.
  • Matrioshka Micronode  - Text by Todd Drashner
    A smaller and more compact version of the standard Matrioshka processing node, constructed around a stellified jovian or brown dwarf type body.
  • McKendree Cylinder  - Text by AI Vin with additions by Steve Bowers
    Closed cylindrical habitats, often a thousand kilometers in radius and ten thousand kilometers long.
  • Mega-Mecha  - Text by Mike Miller
    Extremely large mecha, often described as fantastic, awesome, and completely ludicrous. These are indulgences, not practical vehicles. They typically start at 100 meters tall and have been as much as 1000 meters tall, and are generally utilized as walking homes, villas, or even cities for the materially ultra-wealthy and whimsical.
  • Megastructure Classification Systems  - Text by Isaac Arthur, FrodoGoofball
    Systems for classification of artificial space structures
  • Microgravity Space Habitats  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Non-rotating habitats with a zero-gee environment
  • Municipal Feedstock Utilities  - Text by Michael Boncher
    The combination of storage and transportations systems that bring elementary materials to public, personal, and industrial nanofacs.
  • Niven Clouds (Smoke Rings)  - Text by AI Vin and Steve Bowers
    Circumstellar freefall environments.
  • Noosphere, The  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Cybercosm based discussion forum employed by various transingularity minds to converse and perhaps argue about those questions and issues that are of long-term or theoretical interest to minds at SI:1 and above.
  • Noovleann Tree  - Text by Johnny Yesterday
    Tree-like organisms which hang from dynamic orbital rings at various heights above a planetary surface.
  • O'Neill Cylinder  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A pair of cylindrical orbital space colonies that rotate around their respective axis to produce simulated gravity (one rotates clockwise and the other counter clockwise to minimize torques). Usually between 10 to 100 km long, with mirrors providing sunlight and simulating the day/night cycle. The structure is large enough to have its own self-contained ecosystem, microclimate, etc. Named after the Atomic Age Old Earth visionary Gerard O'Neill.
  • Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion  - Text by AI Vin
    Extraction of energy from the oceans of planets with oceans of any kind, such as Gaian or Panthalassic worlds.
  • Orbital (habitat)  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic term for medium-sized to very large self-contained space habitat or biosphere, usually in L4 or L5 (see Lagrange Points) position relative to a planet, moon, or double star, although conventional satellite orbits are sometimes used as well.
  • Orbital Band   - Text by Todd Drashner
    Common term for an array of habitats and other installations all occupying the same orbit around a central body.
  • Orwoods  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Dyson tree forest ecosystem, especially one that constitutes a stable or evolutionary space-based biota, with or without symbiotic sentient (human, neogen, etc.) interaction.
  • OxyFruit  - Text by John B
    Astragen capable of producing pressurized 'pods' (also the seed) of O2 when in contact with oxygen bearing materials and a specific wavelength and intensity of light.
  • Ozymandias Institute, The  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A wealthy and widespread organization that studies the eventual fates of all structures, Terragen and otherwise.
  • Paraterraforming  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Steve Bowers
    Roofing over a small world or moon by means of domes or a worldhouse roof to make it habitable to terragen bionts.
  • Patternism, Cladistic Patternism  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    The study of the deep seated cultural and aesthetic biases and resulting societal patterns specific to certain clades, and the way these produce and are produced by the physical environment and how they can be manipulated by memetic influence.
  • Plasm  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Multipurpose biological material, sometimes described as biotech utility fog.
  • Pneumatically Supported Structure (PSS)  - Text by Johnny Yesterday
    Materials and structures that derive their rigidity from contained gas pressure.
  • Polymorphic Architecture  - Text by Ryan B
    Shape-changing archictecture.
  • Reef, Reef-city  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Colloquial term for large gengineered arcologies often found on bioist worlds and habitats, particularly in the Biopolity.
  • Refractory, The  - Text by Alex Mulvey
    Prismatic structure at the L1 point of a planet that projects rainbow-like colours onto its surface.
  • Relay - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A hardware node in the Known Net which usually includes computronium servers, docks, service stations, and multiple nano- and microgauge wormhole gates. In some cases, relays may also incorporate flat-space communication systems, and catapults for transport of cargo and hard matter data storage systems.
  • Relay001  - Text by Todd Drashner
    The first major wormhole plexus and relay system built in the Inner Sphere. Became the model for later Relay systems.
  • Ribbonworlds  - Text by AI Vin and Steve Bowers
    Low acceleration megascale Habitats.
  • Ringworlds  - Text by Ron Bennett
    Ring-like megastructures that completely encircle a star.
  • Road Root  - Text by Michael Walton
    Self-repairing biotech road and highway systems.
  • Rotating Space Habitats  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Space-borne habs that provide artificial gravity do so by spinning. Though there are many variations according to the desired acceleration the available materials and the size of the overall structure there are only a few basic forms.
  • Rotovator  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Device for transferring cargo or passengers from the atmosphere or near surface of a planet to outer space.
  • Scoopships  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Atmospheric Resource Collection
  • Scrub Slug  - Text by David Jackson
    Large or very large footed ground vehicles for military or civilian use.
  • Service AI - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An ai, whether slaved or voluntary, that maintains the mechosystems, or in any other way keeps the infrastructure running.
  • Shellworlds  - Text by Michael Beck, amended by Tardigrada 2021
    Worlds with several concentric habitable layers.
  • Singlehabs  - Text by Ryan B
    Small space habitats designed for occupation by single kin or peer groups.
  • Skywheel  - Text by Tardigrada
    a ring-shaped satellite orbiting a celestial body with a diameter ranging from tens to thousands of kilometres.
  • Slidewalks and RiverRoads  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Moving walkways — transport for passengers and other objects.
  • Space Canopy and Greenbubbles  - Text by Terrafamilia
    A space-adapted variant of the Canopy Plant.
  • Space Cities  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Habitats in stationary locations above a planet.
  • Space Mirrors and Solettas  - Text by Alex Mulvey
    Space-based structures designed for redirecting sunlight onto planets and megastructures.
  • Spaceweed - Text by Steve Bowers and John B
    A gengineered organism based on bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) that has been modified so that it that can develop in Gas Giant rings, with a small (100-200 metres) bladder full of breathable air, and edible fruit and nuts growing on the inside. The bladders are loosely connected, with insulated flexible corridors between the bladders, and all the ice and rock of the rings incorporated into the spaceweed to avoid collision damage.
  • Stanford Torus  - Text by Steve Bowers
    An ancient design for smaller orbital habs that is widespread in the current age.
  • Starbooster  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Solar output enhancement array.
  • Stellification Engine  - Text by Todd Drashner and Luke Campbell
    Class of macroengineering devices designed to convert white dwarf, jovian, or brown dwarf class bodies into radiant, star-like objects.
  • Sunclouds  - Text by AI Vin
    Diffuse lighting systems for rotating habitats.
  • Sunshaper  - Text by Sean R

  • Supramundane and Suprastellar Worlds  - Text by AI Vin
    Shells suspended above planets or stars using mass-stream technology.
  • Symmes' Worlds  - Text by AI Vin
    Symmes' World starts out as the shell of a supramundane planet. When the shell becomes thick enough it generates enough of a gravity well to hold on to a biosphere. Large openings in the shell (most often at the poles) called "Symmes' holes" allow the atmospheres, hydrospheres and biospheres of the outside surface and inside volume to mix.
  • System Double Virchworlds  - Text by Kirran Lochhead Strang
    A common variety of virchworld, constituting an uninhabited replica of the system in which it is located which can be settled contemporaneously with the original, or subsequently as the system fills up but still has locals who want to retain the 'pioneer spirit'. Often referred to as simply 'Doubles' or 'Reps'.
  • Terraforming  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Planetary Engineering with the aim of creating a habitable environment
  • Topopolis  - Text by Tardigrada and Steve Bowers
    Long, thin, rotating habitat in orbit around a star or planet, so that the long axis of the habitat passes completely around the orbit at least once.
  • Turbine Plants  - Text by Johnny Yesterday
    Various species of genetically engineered plants which produce electricity by mechanical means.
  • Universal Design  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    In architecture, or in hab, ecological, or information system design, the attempt to accommodate as many different sorts of sophonts within the same structure.
  • Utility Fluid  - Text by John B
    Form of utility fog which, in its un-self-altered state looks like a puddle and has the rough consistency of pudding or thick soup.
  • Vac Trains  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Fast train transport in evacuated tubes to reduce atmospheric resistance.
  • Valhalla Cluster  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Colloquial term for massive artificial concentrations of matter believed to be operating as archai level (Fifth Singularity or higher) industrial centers.
  • Vertical Skyhooks and Static Orbital Rings  - Text by Mike Miller
    Orbiting structures that extend above, and below, their centres of gravity.
  • Virchology   - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    A fully designed (rather than evolved) digital ecosystem residing in a virch.
  • W-Brain, Distributed Wormhole Brain  - Text by Adam Getchell with additions by Steve Bowers
    A form of distributed comptutational megastructure relying on wormholes for processing power.
  • Walking Cities  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Mobile cities, often independently sophont.
  • Weather Machines  - Text by Steve Bowers and Todd Drashner, with additional material by J. Storrs Hall
    Atmospheric devices designed to affect the energy flow of the atmosphere
  • Weylforge  - Text by Todd Drashner
    A Weylforge is an array of devices handling different aspects of wormhole construction.
  • Worldhouses  - Text by James Ramsey
    "Relatively thin membranes designed to retain atmospheres on volatile-poor planets
  • Worldrings  - Text by AI Vin
    World Rings, as the name implies, are ring-type habitats which duplicate (as much as possible) all the conditions found on a Gaian type world, including total surface area under full centrifugal gravity. As such, World Rings occupy the middle ground between Bishop Rings and Banks Orbitals, and typically use technology from both.
  • Wormholes - A Layman's Guide  - Text by Todd Drashner and Adam Getchell
    Technical details about wormholes.
  • Yggdrasil Bush, Yggy  - Text by Todd Drashner and Steve Bowers
    Variant species of the orwood biological space habitat.
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev; modified by Stephen Inniss

Initially published on 23 April 2003.

Additional Information