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Sunday, June 21, 2015

GSE2 - Ammonia Avenue

Is there no sign of light as we stand in the darkness?
Watching the sun arise
Is there no sign of life as we gaze at the waters?
Into the strangers eyes

And who are we to criticize or scorn the things that they do?
For we shall seek and we shall find Ammonia Avenue

1 It was a good week of exploration and survey work for me. Though there were a fair share of M class dwarfs with nothing but ice balls orbiting them, there were just as many K and G type systems full of good worlds and even a few surprises.

The first system I came across on my route was a simple M type red dwarf with a single planet, but what a planet PRU EUQ HO-L B49-0 1 is. It's a Neptune type ice giant with just a hint more lavender in than blue. It's atmosphere seemed every bit as violent and energetic as Neptune's though.

[caption id="attachment_5247" align="aligncenter" width="1920"]PRU EUQ HO-L B49-0 1 PRU EUQ HO-L B49-0 1[/caption]

The next system I surveyed, PRU EUQ TU-E C25-2, is almost a Sol system analog. It has a single G type main star with eight planetary bodies orbiting it. They are dominantly high metal content worlds and gas giants. There are no terrestrial worlds or terraform candidates so the analog pretty much ends there. There are also 3 gas giants rather than the two Sol has, and no ice giants at all. These planets are all cash makers. The fifth planet is especially interesting to me. It is partially molten which is very odd for a planet so far out in the orbital scheme of its system. Normally the molten planets are very close to their star, where the tidal forces and intense output of the star keeps the planet in flux just as Jupiter does with Io in the Sol system. In this case, I'd say the tidal forces exerted on the planet by its somewhat large moon is responsible, but there could also be an abnormally high level of radioactivity in the planet's core. Further deep surface scans will be necessary to determine if that is the case, once those types of scanners become available on the market.

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The next three systems I surveyed were old, cold red dwarf systems with nothing but ice planets orbiting them. They won't pay very much, but the surveys will at least keep others from wasting further time on them.

PRU EUQ GU-A B55-3 was the fourth of these old and cold systems I surveyed, and I frankly didn't expect much better from it. It's a trinary system with a M type red dwarf main star and distant binary companions: L type and T type dwarfs. Fortunately I was mistaken and three valuable planets orbit the red dwarf. All of these high metal content planets have significant atmospheres with lots of water in them. They are not terraforming candidates, but the abundance of water will make them excellent refining colonies.

[gallery type="rectangular" columns="2" size="medium" ids="5260,5259,5258"]

There are two more systems I managed to survey this week, but I'm going to skip the next one to report on it at greater length. The last system I surveyed was PRU EUQ PT-Z D13-72, another G type star with two gas giants just like Sol. One of them even looks a fair amount like Jupiter though it's in the sixth orbital ring. There are also four metal rich inner planets, just like Sol. However, this system has no ice giants.

[gallery type="square" columns="2" size="medium" ids="5267,5266,5265,5264,5268,5263"]

The second to the last system I surveyed, PRU EUQ FN-Z C27-10, is unlike anything I've encountered yet. It is a single K type star with seven valuable planets. Three of the planets are extremely valuable: a terraform candidate water world, a terrestrial water world and a unbelieveable ammonia terrestrial planet that is so beautiful it took my breath away when I saw it.

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PRU EUQ FN-Z C27-10 6 is a terrestrial world with ammonia-carbon based life, ammonia-oxygen atmosphere and, I will go out on a limb and predict this, ammonia oceans. It is a gorgeous red-brown greenish tinged planet with a small ice cap and fluffy ammonia clouds. I've never surveyed anything like it. It is true that I've discovered ammonia-carbon based life living in the atmosphere of gas giants, but this is no gas giant world. It is just less than half the size of earth with just over twice the atmospheric pressure. It's a cold world; a Breen world, if you're familiar with that old 20th century entertainment vid.

This star system is rife with ammonia. The second planet also has an ammonia rich atmosphere with significant amounts of nitrogen and water vapor. That makes it slightly acidic, probably why it's not a terraforming candidate, but it's a nice world nonetheless. The terraforming candidate is actually a terrestrial water world but has an ammonia atmosphere making it unsuitable for carbon-water based land life. But it could be. It does have an active water-carbon lifecycle in its water ocean showing its acidity is not too high for life such as us. It is a very hot world with an average temperature of 400 kelvin, 127 degrees celsius, but it's doable.

As for planet six, I wouldn't change a thing about it. It is too acidic to attempt terraforming anyway, and such an attempt would destroy the life already firmly established on it. It's a world I would love to land and walk upon, even though it is so cold and crushing. One day it'll be possible, but not this day. I have to move on, but I will remember this world for a long time to come. And one day, I know will return to walk upon its surface.

  1. Ammonia Avenue by Alan Parson's Project. Writer(s): Eric Woolfson, Alan Parsons; Copyright: Woolfsongs Ltd., Universal Music 

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