The idea of the Space Elevator is a simple one, an elevator that hauls things from the surface of a planet into orbit, replacing rockets and mass drivers. Technology hasn't reached the point for a Terran Elevator, the gravity is just too high, and the structure is still simply too big. There are 'Tethervators', or elevator/lift systems that are built on the top of arcologies, and supported by aerostats, and are eventually tethered to stable low orbit stations. They are very busy, and very fragile, and have limited lift capacity.
Offworld, there are hundreds of space elevators in service. The majority connect asteroid mining bases and small moon colonies to orbital ships, but these objects have gravity that is a fraction of Earth's. With dramatically less gravity and often no atmosphere, the space elevators can be fairly light, and still be tall enough and strong enough to load ore, crew, and supplies from a station to a ship and vice versa.
Solar Sails collect the 'stellar wind' and harness it as a form of propulsion. It works fine, but there are a few major problems. The biggest problem is that the stellar wind blows away from the Sun and the center of the solar system, so ships can only use it for outbound missions. Secondly, the sails themselves have to be stupendously large to have any measurable thrust value. Finally, the performance of solar sailcraft is slaughtered by the performance of epstein drives and nuclear Orion drives.
Solar sail equipped ships do look very cool though.
The technology behind Mag-Loc is simple, and is similar to that used in levitating trains. The system allows for the building of objects that are in place only held together by magnetic fields. The most common applications are special equipment for warships, cargo containers for 'space train' style cargo ships, and large panels for adjusting incoming solar radiation, such as the massive parasols over the Mercurian colonies, and the thermoablative shields that protect the Near Sun Stations.
Jupiter Ascending has many very lovely demonstrations of Mag-Loc technology in their spacecraft.
Inertial Field Generator
A desperately needed bit of gravitronic technology, the IFG counters the force of acceleration, allowing for the creation of safe and steady environments inside a vessel when it is moving at speeds that should instantly kill every living thing aboard, such as moving at great than 400g acceleration. This is currently the biggest limiting factor on human crewed ships, the relative frailty of a human being.
IFGs are being developed, and it is believed than within a century, human built ships will be as fast and agile as the ships being build by robots, and crewed by machines. It is likely that by that point, Seibertronian craft will have the same speed and handling as interceptor missiles.
Gas Giant Farming
One of the common resource limitations off Earth is food. Most space habitats and stations, let alone ships, have the internal volume and space available to sustain farming and other modes of food production. This ties most colonies and stations to those few that have food production capability. Gas Giant farming would be an answer to that. Using massive aerostats, sitting in the dense atmospheres of those planets, food production could be done. Minerals and resources could be extracted from the planet's atmosphere, including the harvesting of valuable volatiles like water and other complex chemicals. The large size of the stations could render them capable of supporting substantial amounts of space.
Banish the notion of the eye-lens dome floating in the turbid atmosphere. Each floating farm would be green tower after green tower, with ambient light being pumped through it. Hydroponics would dominate, with protein culture coming from insect biomass, cultivating hardy fish, and fungal recycling systems. Spacer farms produce tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, peas, cucumbers, leafy greens, radishes, and herbs. On the protein side, it's wax and meal worms, crickets and locusts. For fish, tilapia, catfish, and shrimp are popular. Many of these cohabitate in the same space, with tilapia and shrimp wriggling under the carpet of greens and veggies, while crickets and locusts crawl across the top.
The Terraforming of Venus
There are plans to terraform Venus, with stage one already in operation. This does sound more grandiose than it actually is. Stage one involves putting atmospheric monitoring stations in place, and sensors on the surface. The stations monitor weather conditions, while aerial drones seed the clouds. Over the course of several decades, this should start long term changes in the atmosphere. The sulfuric rains of Venus are increasing in intensity, but density is decreasing, and there are already changes in the surface temp.
Stage Two involves comet tractoring, and dropping said icy bodies onto the planet. As temperatures continue to drop, the introduction of large amounts of water and ice would foster the formation of bodies of water. The current timetable for terraforming is 650 years.
An idea on the drawing board, the worker drone is a cloned human being who is grown in a tank, pre-installed with nerve stapling, conditioning for servitude, and a self-sacrificing nature. These are intended to be cheaper than automation, but more reliable than conventional humanity.
Worker drones, subhumans, are already being phased into service in hostile environments and offworld installations. These suboids, subroids, Epsilons, and whatever else they are called, are being used in offworld mining operations, working in offworld refineries, factories, and other areas.
The Solar Amplifier is a grandiose name for a megastructure lens that is positioned near the sun, focusing the solar output into a more coherent beam. This beam is focused on a solar powerplant, where it is converted into electricity. The plant then beams that power to another recipient station, typically in planetary orbit.
There are two variants of the Solar Amp. One is a Solar Driver and provides a propulsion beam for a solar sail equipped ship. While rare, these configurations due exist for pushing heavy Mercurian ore to Earth or Martian refineries. The other is a weaponised version, with higher beam cohesion. Instantly banned by the Tycho conventions, this weapon would be a solar laser cannon, capable of gouging furrows through planets.
Now considered retro-tech, cryostasis involves freezing living organisms to thaw and reanimate them later. The tech had proven troublesome at first but was eventually smoothed out. This came at the same time as Epstein drives went into service and changed the paradigm of interplanetary travel.
The Anti-graviton beam is a sci-fi name for a Higgs Bosun manipulator. The beam creates a ripple in space-time, and a higgs bosun flow. In laymans terms, the Anti-graviton beam is a tractor beam. These devices have proven problematic as most ships aren't designed to be drug around by the nose, and the beams are temperamental and power hungry. They can self destruct and implode the ship carrying them, and this disruption can even devour the object being tractored.
Also known as Antichton, this is likely the most ambitious project undertaken by humanity and something actually rivaling the efforts of the Imbrians. Sitting in Earth's orbital region, Antichton will be humanity's first artificial planet. This has been subcontracted to Seibertronian labor, with the giant robots dragging asteroids into the vicinity of the planet's desired location. These are crushed by Seibertronian rock-crusher ships, and the debris is released to fall towards an artificial gravity generator. As the mass increases, the planet building becomes easier.
While Venusian Terraforming is expected to take 650 years, the creation of Anticthon is expected to take 1200 years.
It is a venture running under the observation of the Glassenheim Foundation, and Anticthon is intended to be the Death Star of the Anunnaki. While the Utopia Initiative will turn Earth into their Eden Paradise, Anticthon will be it's military outpost and space base.
There are two paths towards a solar government in the Cosmic Era, the Atlantic Federation and the Anunnaki.
The Atlantic Federation is increasingly the dominant power in the Solar System. While it has been snubbed over Mars, it controls Mercury, Venus, and the Jovian System, and while having a quarter of the human population, it has over half of the industrial capacity. As things like their Caryatid computers, Higgs cannons, advances in biogenics and robotics advance, the gap between the Federation and the other world powers only grows.
The Anunnaki path sees most of humanity slaughtered, Earth turned into a gentrified country club, and the immortal anunnaki taking up the mantle of the fallen Imbrians
One of the dimensional fatigue events being studied is the Lambda Vortex. This phenomenon opens stable gateways, typically to the detriment of humans around it. This usually allows monsters, alien environments, strange radiation, and other negative influences to pour into human space. There are scientists who have the notion that the secret to teleportation, wormhole navigation, and ultimately faster than light travel.
The Lambda Project is the home of the Brave and Bold, with Exonauts traveling through stabilized vortices. The failure rate is hovering close to 100%, but so far the losses have been clones, droids, and secret human experimentation. Some data has returned, but so far, no humans have gone through a gate and returned.
Gas Giant Factory
One of the commodities in the Solar System is free space. Stations are expensive, and planets like Earth are rare. Industrial operations are dirty, and undesirable on planets with delicate things like oceans and habitable climates. Gas Giant Factories move heavy industry to aerostat platforms. These massive structures house refineries, foundries, shipworks, and the rest of the heavy industries that formerly contaminated vast stretches of Earth, or fouled the pristine face of the Moon.
As seen in Jupiter Ascending, Gas Giant Factories are theoretical. The current level of gas giant colonization is based around building farming installations, small gas refineries, and scientific stations. A small industrial aerostat would be at least ten kilometers long, while a large one would be dozens of kilometers across.
There are dozens of technobabble names for the Ansible, but it is a faster than light communication system. The biggest limitation of the system, is that each broadcaster and receiver are grown as matching sets, being quantum entangled crystals. The first ansibles were quite large, but the technology of growing the crystal sets has improved to the point that the devices can be small enough to fit in a user's hand.
Ansible Channels are the most secure communication systems in the Solar System. The majority of systems are planet to planet, while many military ships have ansibles. The rest of the solar system communications systems are still based around laser and maser communications. These are both limited to near speed of light, meaning that messages can taken an hour or longer to bounce from point to point. This can take longer as some communications aren't site to site, but run through relays and signal boosters.
The Clarke Ring is a simple idea that is fantastically difficult to construct. The Clarke Ring is a rotationally locked ring around a planet, moon, or other celestial body. The size of the object determines how large the ring will be, and what it's natural centripidal force gravity will be. The ideal ring is connected it's celestial host with a series of space elevators, known as wagon wheels or bean stalks.
There are a large number of Clarke Rings in the Solar System, with the one fact that none of them are attached to anything of significant size. The Columbus Space Observatory is a Clarke ring mounting dozens of radio and optical telescopes, with the central installation being located on as asteroid 16 kilometers wide. The ring itself is mostly scaffolding and a few nodes for sensors and system relays, but the end result is an astronomy platform almost 40 km across. The biggest hindrance to building a Clarke Ring on a major planet is the slow development of the Space Elevator. Once this is overcome, it will be a relatively simple matter to start building habitable rings around Earth, Venus, Luna, and Mars.
Genetic AI, or Genetic algorithms, is the process of inducing programs to act and evolve in an organic fashion, a digital theory of evolution. This would allow for programs to optimize themselves, and likewise improve themselves beyond what humans are able to do. There is a fear that this is the doorway to robot sentience and the great robot uprising, this technology was pioneered in the Petroleum Era, and is a foundational tenet of the CogNet.
The M12 have a massive amount of influence over the CogNet, and possibly the most important duty is to function as the Godhead of viral programming. The programs of the CogNet, things like KiKi or the digital demesne are in many ways very similar to analog reality. There are systems, processes, subroutines, and other elements that may not be visible, but are in fact operating a digital ecosystem as complex as the real world.
The current problem faced by ship builders is the law of diminishing returns. They are building larger and larger engines, but the size of the engines is reaching the point where any increase in power is lost to the increased mass of the engines, and the higher rates of fuel consumption. The optimal Epstein engine size has been determined, and this has functionally put a limit on how large and how fast a ship can be. The Megascale Engine is an ambitious project to overcome the limitations of the current engine paradigm to break out and find out how to build engines that would be functional for propelling asteroid bases, small planetoids, and megascale ships at viable velocities.
The actual problem faced by engineers is that there will have to be a technological revolution, a replacing of the sails with steam, but the sails being replaced are magnetodynamic epstein drives, or dangerous orion drives.
Not an actual element on the periodic table, computronium is a highly dense material that is 'grown' from quantum circuits and other arcane pieces of computer technology. This material is expensive, and is the main cost in creating robot cortices. This material is also found inside of Artificial Intelligence Super Computers, AISCs, and the other highly sophisticated machinery of the Cosmic Era. The animating 'spark' or a seibertronian is contained within it's computronium core.
The Quark Cannon is a theoretical weapon only, a doomsday device that would convert a large amount of high temperature, high pressure matter, into degenerate matter. The resulting 'liqufication' of particles into a quark soup would release a staggering amount of energy, enough to destroy planets or snuff out stars.
The Quark Cannon is also known as a Caldera Device, and it was the weapon of the Imbrians, and it, along with their hubris, was what turned their multi-planet spanning empire into dust and salt.
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