PILGRIM: Travels in Space
Solar System Map
The first planet in the Solar System is a small, lightly inhabited planet within the Inner Planets. Several minor underground colonies exist across the surface, mostly near the poles, where small quantities of frozen water exist. Most of these colonies are geared towards mining the mineral-rich crust of the planet. Some small outposts are military bases, or scientific outposts geared towards solar study. Travel across the surface is limited, but is not hindered by the Sun’s proximity, thanks to reflective materials incorporated into vehicles and spacesuits. The largest and most frequented colony on Mercury is in the center of the crater Apollodorus, bearing 1 billion souls, most working for United Mercury Mining Corporation.
Thanks to the difficulty of living within the thick, super-hot clouds of Venus, it remains one of the most sparsely populated planets within the Inner Planets. Only adventurous mining consortiums, military bases, and scientific outposts make their home here (with the exception of daredevil individuals who risk life and limb every day). At nearly 900 degrees Fahrenheit and a surface pressure of 90 times Earth’s, the roasting atmosphere makes surface travel almost impossible, forcing most operations to exist around the northern pole, where an extensive set of tunnels exist to link bases together. Surface-to-space travel is limited to small time windows where weather forces are at their weakest. The largest settlement on Venus is Aphrodite Station, home to 450,000 people.
The cradle of civilization, Earth, has grown significantly since the 21st Century. Home to almost 12 billion humans, the planet has undergone severe growing pains as governments attempted their best to provide space for the massive population. Most humans on Earth live in megacities, many housing nearly half a billion humans each. Developments in energy creation, agriculture, and resource management have allowed significantly reduced urban sprawl, allowing former human territory to fall back to nature. Nevertheless, human life is a cramped and expensive affair for most, encouraging flocks of people to make for the stars, colonizing other planets and living in space. Consolidated governments and powerful corporations dominate lives on the surface, as well as providing their trusted citizens and employees with improved quality of life above the planet in massive space stations. The Earth is the hub of human life, and while it may have lost the bid for a solar empire decades ago, it still remains the focus of humanity. Earth’s capital is New York City in the former nation of the United States, where the United Nations governs humanity on Earth.
- Luna (The Moon): Humanity’s first successful terraforming project, the Moon is humanity’s second home. Bearing 6 billion humans, Luna is a valuable asset, considering it’s mineral-rich surface, untainted and scientifically-engineered ecosystems, and it’s status as the primary deployment for the Earth Solar Defense Fleet. The capital of Luna is Copernicus City in the Copernicus Crater, east of Oceanus Procellarum.
If Earth is the diamond of humanity, Mars is the emerald. After the successes in terraforming Luna, Mars was the next target. Thanks to the ecological techniques perfected on the Moon, as well as massive mirrors, which have redirected sunlight towards Mars and warmed it’s surface, the Fourth Planet is a rich, vibrant, and comfortable home. Massive shallow seas and large, biologically diverse biomes have made Mars the bread basket of the Solar System. 10 billion humans call the Red Planet home, all sharing in a rich culture of independence and stubborn doggedness. Decades prior, Mars led the charge for peaceful independence from Earth, eventually succeeding and encouraging other planets to secede. Tensions between Earth and Mars continue to remain, and threaten to escalate in recent days thanks to brinksmanship politics . The capital of Mars is Opportunity, at the foot of Olympus Mons.
- Phobos and Deimos: The moons of Mars are sparsely populated bodies, being former asteroids captured by Mars’ gravity thousands of years ago. Phobos is host to several small corporate bodies, involved in chemical production, R&D, and mining. Deimos maintains military labs and monitoring stations for the Martian Naval Fleet. Their populations together number at 10,000.
Ceres was a singular failure in the human attempt to terraform their surroundings. Projects to provide it an atmosphere, create bodies of water on the surface, or even just to heat it’s exterior proved ineffective. Government and corporate promises concerning the feasibility of transforming this dwarf planet were countered by the laws of physics; early heating attempts nearly shattered the planet, since it quickly melted the surface and almost to the mantle, which is primarily composed of a water-ice layer. This left the colonies already planted on Ceres’ surface in disarray – the five colonies still on the surface barely operate, primarily functioning as a source of water for the Outer Planets and Belt Colonies. Approximately 30,000 exist on this proto-planet.
Scattered throughout the Asteroid Belt are various small colonies, most acting independently of each other. Many are not registered or visited regularly by larger political forces. The Belt has become a safe haven for the victimized, the fanatical, the stubborn and the criminal. Pirates are known to dwell in asteroid bases and mob colonies, preying on passing shipping lanes. Estimates put the population within the belt to be approximately 234 million, although figures fluctuate wildly thanks to inaccurate information.
The Solar System’s largest planet is a hotspot for human life past the Asteroid Belt. Despite it not bearing a measurable population thanks to it’s gaseous nature, Jupiter’s moons are populous and resource-rich. The very limited human presence exists in the form of floating research stations, scientific buoys, and gas mining. Jupiter bears 67 different moons, with the Galilean moons being central to human life this far from the sun.
- Io: Io is a dangerous planet, constantly shifting and changing thanks to regular eruptions from it’s hyperactive core. Human life is limited to research, manufacturing and resource gathering.
- Europa: The next in a line of successful terraforming projects, Europa learned from the mistakes of Ceres. It’s water-ice core stabilized, mirrors put in place to catch sunlight, and a successful oxygenation campaign turned this formerly-icy planet into a water world. Oceans cover most of the planet, which encouraged the use of oceanic colonization technology from Earth. Over 4 billion humans call this moon home.
- Ganymede: Being larger then the planet Mercury has labeled Ganymede as a prime hot-spot for terraforming. The process is ongoing at this point, with crater lakes, algae fields, and limited oxygen in the atmosphere. While it isn’t anywhere near complete, Ganymede nevertheless has attracted many individuals, just like it’s cousin, Europa. Significant investments in the moon will likely continue to transform the surface. The population numbers at 2.8 billion.
- Callisto: Like it’s neighbor Ganymede, Callisto is beginning the process of terraforming. The initial work started 20 years ago, resulting in only underground oceans and a thin atmosphere being currently present. Several colonies inhabit these oceans, with exterior structures for ships and scientific personnel. 1.2 billion people exist on Callisto.
Like Jupiter, Saturn has seen little in the way of a human presence, thanks to it’s gaseous nature. However, it’s a more appealing target for gas mining, since it bears few storms or atmospheric anomalies. 61 moons orbit Saturn, with most human life focused on Titan and
- Titan: The thick, toxic atmosphere of TItan makes the moon a seemingly unattractive place to live. Nevertheless, a strong commercial and business draw, particularly in petrochemicals and hydrocarbons, brings hardy colonists who are looking to eke out a living. Nevertheless, the surface remains hostile, freezing, and depressing. 700 million people survive on the surface of Titan.
- Rhea: While lacking the same vigor over it’s terraforming, Rhea is undergoing a slow and quiet process of transformation similar to Europa’s. Shallow seas and a weak atmosphere are steadily accumulating under the guiding hands of several small colonies. Its abundant water has made it a slow and difficult process to change, especially considering it’s center is almost entirely made of ice. Despite all attempts, Rhea will likely always remain a frigid planet in order to sustain planetary integrity. Nevertheless, small colonies exist across the surface, occupied by hardy colonists. Approximately 200 million people live and work on Rhea’s surface.
- Iapetus: During the Ceres debacle, another planetary body was undergoing similar, but more extreme trouble. Iapetus, actively being warmed by over-eager industrial groups, actually shattered during the terraforming process. It remains shattered, although it’s local gravity holds most of it’s pieces together. Most planetary scientists predict that the planet will be torn apart by Saturn within a few centuries. A few small colonies, abandoned and devastated by the planet’s destabilization, exist scattered across the surface. They remain as prized targets for archaeologists, treasure hunters, and criminals.
- Dione: The barren surface of Dione is primarily covered in military installations and manufacturing systems, owned by the Saturn Orbital Defense Force. Access is limited thanks to a number of top secret projects and labs. One small colony exists in conjunction with these facilities to support personnel. 15,000 people live on Dione.
Uranus marks the boundary of frontier territory in the Solar System. Uranus and Neptune both exhibit moons with a lack of terraforming or serious support from planets and moons closer to the Sun. Uranus’ composition makes it an attractive target for gas mining, but it’s distance from civilization has left it relatively untouched. At present, only research buoys exist in it’s clouds. 27 total moons orbit Uranus.
- Oberon: A few small colonies and shipyards have set up base here. Most Outer Planetary ships produced in the last 50 years have come from shipyards orbiting Oberon, thanks to efforts by shipbuilding industries to move production to safer locations away from population centers.
- Titania: Titania bears host to two small colonies engaged in water and mineral mining for ship production around Oberon. Several small military outposts and training sites occupy space along the Southern Hemisphere.
The gas giant Neptune is sparsely populated. The majority of population centers surrounding the planet exist as military installations, scientific outposts, prisons or extremely dangerous industrial labs. Neptune has only one jump gate, which is the furthest gate from Earth. 13 moons orbit Neptune.
- Triton: Triton is the final major rocky body before reaching the dwarf planets and the Kuiper belt. Two small colonies exist near cryovolcanoes, both of which number in the low thousands and support Sikh populations that had escaped persecution in 2168. These populations operate high-class shipbuilding operations. Triton-built vessel are considered some of the finest vessel available for commercial purchase. Triton’s population numbers 4,990.
Numerous small dwarf planets and Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) exist beyond Neptune’s orbit, including the notable dwarf planets Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris. Some also have minor moons. Most large dwarf planets have small, independent scientific outposts, but these are few and far between considering the lengthy travel times from the Outer Planets to these minor bodies.
Small comets also exist in great numbers in this region, often traveling in elongated orbits around the sun. Those few comets visited by humans have only really seen contact with probes.
Past the Kuiper Belt exist nothing human beyond forgotten probes, lone pieces of space junk, and crazed foolish expeditions outside of the Solar System.
Lone military vessels from Uranus and Neptune regularly send lone vessels to patrol this region of space in the event of extraterrestrial contact.
UNION STATION (Mercury/Venus)
The capital of Inner Planetary Union, and a massive population center in that nation. Maintains an orbit between Mercury and Venus.
SAMSUNG ORBITAL LABORATORY (Venus)
A large research structure focused on expanding and developing space technologies, particularly in ship electronics.
LG OPERATIONS PLATFORM (Venus)
A industrial development platform focused on developing ship designs and ship components.
EARTH FLEET SPACEDOCK (Earth)
A large military space complex with numerous spacedocks and construction centers for the maintenance of the fleet.
ARABOTH 1 & ZEBUL 2 (Earth)
Two large civilian stations, replete with trade stations, residential hubs, and construction zones. Each holds 200,000.
CARNIVAL DRYDOCK (Earth)
The cruise liner company has expanded to space, providing Solar System vacations at high prices.
HITACHI SPACEDOCK (Earth)
A corporate spacedock focused on ship construction and design for the private and commercial sector.
SOMME STATION (Mars)
A large military complex dedicated to maintain supply lines and patrols between the Inner and Outer Planets.
GENERAL ELECTRIC OPERATIONS STATION (Mars)
An industrial research and construction site focusing on technologies for colonization and space habitation.
SAGAN, FEYNMAN, AND SCHRODINGER STATIONS (Mars)
A trio of civilian stations with an emphasis on scientific excellence. Each house 50,000 individuals.
AT&T COMMUNICATIONS CENTER (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter)
An ambitious project by AT&T to connect the Solar System with high-speed communication filtered through large stations.
EXXON MOBIL STATION 1 (Callisto)
A corporate owned station focused on R&D and mining operations within Jupiter’s moons and the Belt.
BOEING DRYDOCK (Ganymede)
A small drydock focused on military starship design, with several military contracts.
VERIZON SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK (All planets up to Uranus)
A system competing with AT&T, using a large array of satellites to allow for distributed communication.
CHAUCER STATION (Titan)
A moderate sized civilian station housing 30,000 individuals. A regular stop on the trade routes.
HYPERION FLEET BASE (Hyperion)
The furthest fleet station from Earth, which maintains patrols in the area and enforces travel routes around the Outer Planets.
VARIOUS JUMP GATE STATIONS (Most planets and moons, up to Neptune)
The primary method of transit and transport for larger and more wealthy travelers and traders, catapulting ships at up to twice their normal speeds towards other gates.