Lumenna-Súnáris System (8): Melíeré

I/7. Melíeré

Class: Melíeréan
Orbit (period): 7.24 au (7,116 T-days/19.5 T-years)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.12
Radius: 38,372 miles
Mass: 9.81 x 1027 kg
Density: 3.08 g/cm3
Cloud-top gravity: 5.43 g

Axial tilt: 22°
Rotation period: 14.0 T-hours

Black-body temperature: 98 K

Satellites: 9 close moonlets, ring. 3 major moons. 2 eccentric moons.

Melíeré is exactly what it looks like: like its closest counterpart, Jupiter, it’s a hydrogen-helium mesogiant with the traditional turbulent gaseous envelope around a whole bunch of metallic liquid hydrogen around a core. It’s a big, brawling, orange-red, yellow-streaked behemoth of a planet that successfully dominates the gateway to the outer system. Unlike Jupiter, it doesn’t have a single, distinguishing “Great Red Spot”, but it is known for enormous storm cells, the linaurrauken, which come and go upon its surface like pale blotches.

In the future, it becomes very significant in the outer system, first as a gravity assist, but also due to the plentiful energy resources available in the system and its relative proximity, in gravity well terms, to the e’Luminiarien Belt. It also acquires the families of gas mining stations common to major gas giants in the Empire and the Empire Nucleonics station for bulk-producing metastable metallic hydrogen.

It has a ring – not a spectacular Saturnine ring, but one which you can see from anywhere in the system, and a family of moons, of which three are major (I’m going to skip lightly over the moonlets and sub-moonlets at this time) and could be considered the equivalent of the Galilean moons: Kerasta, Isimír, and Cysperia:

I/7/a. Kerasta

Class: Thiorastan
Orbit (period):
383,389 miles (0.489 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.):
 0.02
Radius: 522.7 miles
Mass:
 8.809 x 1021 kg
Density: 3.53 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.085 g

Axial tilt: 1.40°
Rotation period: 0.495 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 98 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 75 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0% (unless you count short-lived sulphur pools)

Kerasta is very like Sol System’s Io: a seething, wracked sulphurous hellscape of tidally heated tectonic and volcanic fury. Expect sulphur geysers, molten rock, and general no fun on the surface here, and needless to say, the given surface temperature is for the parts that aren’t currently buried in the middle of the latest eruption. And then there’s the radiation, because just like Io, it has a flux tube.

Popular future activities in the region of Kerasta include some minor resource harvesting, tapping power for local activities out of the Kerastan flux tube, burying things that you’re very unlikely to want to see again, and types of extreme sports that would be considered pathologically idiotic for anyone who didn’t have a backup.

I/7/b. Isimír

Class: Inachian
Orbit (period):
613,423 miles (0.990 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.):
 0.01
Radius: 716.5 miles
Mass:
 1.525 x 1022 kg
Density: 2.37 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.078 g

Axial tilt: 0.29°
Rotation period: 0.990 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 98 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 84 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0% (externally)

Isimír’s surface is generally hostile, since Isimír has no magnetosphere worth speaking of, and as such its surface is routinely bombarded with horrendous amounts of radiation. It’s also not terribly interesting, being – in its essentials – one very large sheet of ice with occasional cryovolcanism when the crust is cracked by tidal forces.

The ocean beneath the ice, though…

Isimír has a lot of tidal activity keeping it warm, an order of magnitude more than even Kerasta. Between that and warm hydrothermal upwellings from its core, the Nighted Ocean of Isimír has long since given rise to its own autochthonous life, tiny plankton- and coral-analogues that thrive in the icy darkness.

In the future, there’ll be great colony cities here at the bottom of shafts through the crust, clinging to the bottom of the icy crust, and an ecosystem which is not, technically, the result of an ecopoesis project – it’s the result of artistic assistance to evolution, introducing new lifeforms designed based on the biochemistry and potential of Isimír’s native life.

I/7/c. Cysperia

Class: Cysperian
Orbit (period):
920,134 miles (1.819 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.):
 0.01
Radius: 1,391 miles
Mass:
 1.250 x 1023 kg
Density: 2.65 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.169 g

Axial tilt: 1.12°
Rotation period: 1.819 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 98 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 103 K

Atmosphere: Thin nitrogen-methane atmosphere.
Atmospheric pressure (sfc.): 0.21 atm
Hydrographic coverage: 30% (thin hydrocarbon lakes)

Cysperia is the outermost of the major moons, with a small iron core – enough to give it a mild magnetic field and some protection from the radiation environment – and a mantle of mixed rock, ice, and silicate clays above its own briny ocean (this one, alas, lifeless).

Slightly more hospitable than its inner neighbors, Cysperia is both the future focus of most colonization efforts in the Melíeré sub-system, in partially-buried dome cities to shield from the radiation, and the gravity anchor for the majority of its habitats, other than those built into the lesser moons.

 

Market Optimization Process

“…over the course of the 3100s, orbit-change and mass-export rights covering the majority of Inlétanós’s spectacular planetary ring system were bought up by the crowdfunded Outer Planets Aesthetic Collective, most notably in one massive transaction in 3142 in which the Collective purchased as a bloc the entire ring ice holdings of both Habitat Hydration, ICC, and Industrial Liquids, ICC for 15% above current market.

“(In the years since, neither of these companies has continued as a major player in the ice-mining industry. Industrial Liquids, of Seléne and Tindár Station in the e’Luminiaren Belt, has shifted to specialize in the bulk transport of liquids and the industrial-scale manufacture of industrial feedstocks. Meanwhile, Habitat Hydration, ICC, which shifted its ice supply operations to the strip-mining of several of Inlétanós’s less well-regarded minor moonlets, has dwindled into a purely local operation supplying water to the habitats and domes of Inlétanós and its moons.

“The current major player in ice mining is Comet Ice and Water, ICC, which specializes in the long-term delivery of bulk ice from gelid bodies located in Senna’s Belt. Despite the inefficiencies imposed by its far orbital operations, in terms of time-lag, CI&W has been able to compete more than successfully with inner-system operations due to its uncanny skill in supply-chain management and the large scale of its operations.)

“While the Collective has obtained only a limited set of the property rights attaching to Inlétanós’s planetary ring, those sufficient for its purpose of preserving the natural beauty of the ring system, it raises funds for its ongoing operations by operating ecotourism operations, hotels, resorts, and other businesses in the vicinity of the rings, in cooperation with local deme and neighborhood branches.

“The inner moons…”

– Our Giant Planet, pub. Conjunction Historical Society

 

Manufacturers

The Llyn Standard Manufacturing autofac, informally known as the Hive, sprawled over a hundred square miles of Seléne’s surface, a vast complex of industrial machinery stacked upon more industrial machinery, gleaming in the crystal vacuum and the harsh light of its floodlamps.

To the north, a ruddy glow mixed with the floods’ blue-white, where a thousand furnaces and smelters turned shipments of raw metal and stone coming in from the asteroids into bar stock and other materials for the inner manufactories, secondary forges pounded, cast, carved, and drew the purified metals into thousands of gross components, and more specialized factories spun stone into specialized clays, ceramics, glasses, and the wafers from which nanocircs were cut.

Off to the east, a tangle of pipes and tanks surrounded the bactries, where volatiles brought downwell from the outer system were fractioned, refined, and fed to reactors containing myriad industrial catalysts, fabzymes and genetically engineered maker cultures to produce a million different chemicals, all the feedstocks necessary for all the industries the complex supported.

In the south, the triple containment buildings of the power plant dominated the skyline, housing three of the system’s largest fusion reactors, gulping deuterium from the buried slush tanks at their feet – mere buffer tanks, kept constantly topped up by a stream of automated tanker-ships coming in from the gas mines of Melíeré; and to the west, the mass-driver launch complex which delivered containers full of any of the autofac’s unthinkable array of finished goods and modular components to any world, hab, or drift in the system rose like a mountain.  The warehouses around their feet were a mere scattering of toy building blocks by comparison.

And within this ring, the heart of the autofac: factory after factory, specialized tooling, nanofac growth chambers, and robotic final-assembly plants, and the thousands of pipelines and conveyors connecting them – a crowded collection of plain geometric cubes, geodesic domes, and polished spheres, in the simple ascetic style favored for those areas not intended to ever be inhabited, or to be more than rarely visited.  Scattered among them, vehicle garages and robot hotels housed and tended to the automation, the driverless trucks and frenetic utility spiders that scurried throughout the complex, carrying its lifeblood and tending to the machinery.

At the center of the great autofac, a single tower rose above all these buildings, its lower floors containing the hosts for the artificial intelligences that ran the complex, and its uppermost level housing the operations supervisor, Lilse Varenna-ith-Varenti, and his dozen department heads – the only sophonts anywhere within the Hive – reclining, eyes closed, in their command chairs.

Bodily functions shifted to autonomic maintenance, minds vastened and placed in synnoetic AI-symbiosis, and senses filled with input streams gathered from sensors, they did not run the complex.

They were the complex.