Terraforming is a fairly difficult job, and even more so when circumstances do not permit much time to find the most suitable location. It does not help that there are no alternatives and no going back home. If the terraforming fails, so does the colony. The stakes are high, and there is a lot of work to do to stabilize the environment.
Luckily, technology has advanced enough to provide good terraforming tools, and the tools can be upgraded and made to adapt to almost any circumstance. This flexibility was engineered into the base technology widely used for nearly every manufactured item. One only has to devote resources into adaptive research in order to evolve the tools to suit one's need.
The most basic component of this technology is the metamaterial that everything is made from. It is a generated material, typically weaved from a polarized, energized soup of atoms typically extracted from the atmosphere, and is grown into its desired shape. Given trace additions of special molecules, various useful functions can be created directly within the metamaterial. The metamaterial has one significant weakness... it requires a field of a specific energy in order to maintain its quasicrystalline structure for extended periods of time. Lacking this energy field, a structure or item composed of metamaterial will de-energize and dissolve back into its component atoms, typically after four to five days.
Bringing power to the masses...
Having a clean and stable source of power is the top priority. Absolutely nothing else can be accomplished without it. After thousands of years of research into clean energy generation, we have some very interesting technology available to us. This technology is based on a transformative system, taking energy that already exists in one form and converting it through a few phases into a form we can use.
Of special interest is the open-reaction technology. Every type of energy conversion is done in an uncontained reaction. Since long ago, it was deemed criminally irresponsible to produce reactions that were so dangerous that they required shielding and containment. It was well known that such physical systems were subject to inevitable failure and the dangerous reactions and materials could become exposed, poisoning the environment and its inhabitants.
The lack of fuel consumption and waste byproducts is another interesting feature. Typical power conversions begin by attracting specific target atoms or molecules, and concentrating them into a reaction sphere. The material within the sphere is rhythmically compressed at a frequency which excites the atomic soup into a plasma state, itself tuned to excite a different (phase 2) target atom. The phase 2 atoms are specifically targeted for a singular purpose... the ability to absorb great amounts of energy. When enough energy is absorbed into them, they will become heavy enough to fall into the detector surface. Once they strike the detector, they release the accumulated energy into it, where it then is conducted into capacitor systems for storage or transmission.
The transmission system is the final feature of interest. All of the power generated is accumulated in giant capacitors, which discharge when an energy threshold is reached. The discharged pulse of energy is routed into a frequency regulator which transmits the power at a special frequency through an antenna mast. The resulting pulse wave travels through the atmosphere, and is absorbed by metamaterials and tuned receivers within the effective radius of the generator.
Putting our energy to good use...
Our new home has a long way to go before it can be comfortably habitable. One resource that is significantly lacking is water. At this point, a useful source of water has not been found, on the surface or in the initial underground radar surveys. This of course does not deter the typical terraforming colony, as we have some technology for handling such frequent situations.
Typically, one of the first machines built after a power generator is a precipitator. If the power generation seemed a bit complex, the precipitator out does it. Using open-reaction technology, the precipitator attracts specific atoms in the atmosphere and compresses them into a reaction sphere. On the way into the reaction sphere, the atoms are energized to a specific frequency, which is tuned to change the energy state of the neutrons in the atoms, spreading them out slightly. These energized atomic cores are then split into 2 smaller atoms by one set of tuned symmetric attractors. From here, these smaller atoms are then split by a set of asymetric attractors, which creates one large atom and one small atom.
The resulting atoms, hydrogen and oxygen, are combined in another stage to form water vapor, with excess oxygen a byproduct. The high energy water vapor is dispersed into the atmosphere, where slowly the overall humidity rises. Locally, the humidity rises fast enough to create periodic rainfall. The frequency of rainfall and absorption rates give rise to artificial seasons, the lengths of which directly affect the ability to sustain floral life. Only the most basic plant life can survive the very short seasons. Over time, the overall humidity of the atmosphere and eventual ground absorption equilibrium will lengthen the seasons to more conducive periods, which will be able to sustain ever more complex plant life.
Keeping in touch...
While terraforming work progresses, colonists will need to be able to communicate over long distances. In order to keep everyone connected, network nodes need to be constructed. These network nodes have multiple antennas, the main one dedicated to long distance connections to other network nodes. The short range antennas connect to individual colonists, giving them access to shared information, links to research systems, and of course interpersonal messaging. A colonist out of reach of a network node is quite literally on his or her own, and is only able to communicate to others within hearing distance.
The moon being terraformed has only been given an initial survey. There may be hidden dangers anywhere on this rock, even as it appears to be inert. Keeping in contact with others is therefore quite important. When traveling beyond the established network, it would be best to go with friends, just in case something happens!
Terraforming is just the beginning...
There are quite a few more terraforming tools on the way, to be discussed in future posts. But all this terraforming isn't the point of Mythaka, it is simply the beginning of it. As the terraforming progress is made, new plant life and eventually animal life will become available, and even modifiable! Numerous obstacles and dangers await, ready to break the fragile ecosystem or attempt to enslave the colonists! Also, there are other worlds to discover, and the inhabitants may or may not be friendly...
Looking back and Moving forward...
I am having crazy fun creating all of this stuff. Since my last post I have created the three prototype structures I mentioned above. Working with the particle effects system has been kind of awesome, its a little bit too much fun creating eye candy. It has taken a surprisingly long time to create just three prototypes, and this does not even include the construction animations and various upgrades. *sigh* Well it is still progress. I still need to figure out the persistent spawning of these things, but I think I am going to create the rest of the terraforming machines and other basic buildings before worrying too much about that.
I am planning on taking a break from the prototype construction for a bit, to build a sort of encyclopedia on the Mythaka website, with pictures and details of the technology involved in each machine, building, and tool. This is probably going to take me all night, but whenever I get it working I will add a link to it here.
After fixing up the encyclopedia I will get back to prototyping. Up next: a thermal generator, atmosphere transformer, organic molecule seeders, and hopefully more!
[ UPDATE ]
It took me a bit longer than I expected, but I finally got some goodies posted on the Mythaka website. I still have a lot of work to do on it, but here it is:
As I get more machine and building prototypes built, I will add them to the encyclopedia. I would appreciate some feedback, either here or on the mythaka forums!
Look forward to more insane far future technology, next time...
the Undead Dev