Alternate Planets, Suns, Stars, and Solar Systems Thread

Well technically, a terraformed planet or moon wouldn't look anything like it used to unless you reshaped it to so all the craters of the moon would be eroded under the colossal amounts of heat and energy in terraforming and then eroded further by the new atmosphere and sea.

You could probably set the climate of the moon to whatever you wanted it to be after terraforming and it would be plenty plausible.
I suspect the major problem with terraforming Luna would be soil chemistry, and soil properties in general.

The materials in the surface rocks differ from Terran ones in ways that might interact badly with Terran evolved life forms. Mind, life is pretty resiiliant, so I suppose if we just did a quick dirty job, dumping the necessary masses of mitigating minerals on the surface, then dumping on atmospheric gas and water to taste, and seeded it with basic bacteria then eggs of the various worms, bugs, and fungi that form the biomatter of soil with a scattering of some tough colonizing plant seeds, then genetically engineered some organisms on various scales to turn the dirt over, something would survive any imbalances, and the way to get good results in this respect would be to step away for many millions or tens of millions of years and let the organisms adapt. Trouble with that is that while a rich and stable suite of ecosystems will form, they might not be very compatible with Terran life as we like it.

Meanwhile--Lunar grit on all scales has undergone no polishing by air or water erosion whatsoever. All the surfaces are jagged. Inhaling raw moondust would do terrible damage to human lungs. Again if we were to dump on an atmosphere and hydrosphere and step away for many millions of years, gradually everything will converge toward Terran type conditions . But if we are thinking of settling the Moon very quickly, in just hundreds of years, lunar regolith would have to be painstakingly processed in some kind of polishing process quite a lot, before we think about adding adjusting minerals and biomatter and working it into proper soil.

I suspect it is more realistic to gradually cover the moon with dome colonies, where the floor of the habitable volume is glassed and then sealed off, and exterior regolith is carefully polished into acceptably smooth particles, and adjusted piecemeal to layer the ground inside the dome. Or of course we just dig into the rock, being very careful with the dust we generate in vacuum, and seal off the walls, and create terrarium chambers as we please, for decorative or functional purposes.

There is also the gravity issue. I think it might be practical to lay out banked railroad tracks for a 1 kilometer radius circle, and run a train around it fast enough for the cars to be at a full Earth G, rolling along in vacuum in tunnels providing sufficient radiation shielding, with shuttle cars that can sidle up and lock to one of the moving cars, and then separate and take a switch to brake down to a stop. The circular tract of surface inside the circle will be leveled, smoothed, covered over with sealant, domed over and soil created to cover the interior for a combination of useful photosynthetic plant action and human recreation. But people would generally have to spend a lot of time on the high-G train cars.
 
@Shevek23

I am curious what your insight would be on my solar system as listed as you previously told me about the tides of Erina and Malmoa. Here are the planets. Keep in mind some things may not exactly be what was listed.

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These 3 come in order after Amania.

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The materials in the surface rocks differ from Terran ones in ways that might interact badly with Terran evolved life forms. Mind, life is pretty resiiliant, so I suppose if we just did a quick dirty job, dumping the necessary masses of mitigating minerals on the surface, then dumping on atmospheric gas and water to taste, and seeded it with basic bacteria then eggs of the various worms, bugs, and fungi that form the biomatter of soil with a scattering of some tough colonizing plant seeds, then genetically engineered some organisms on various scales to turn the dirt over, something would survive any imbalances, and the way to get good results in this respect would be to step away for many millions or tens of millions of years and let the organisms adapt. Trouble with that is that while a rich and stable suite of ecosystems will form, they might not be very compatible with Terran life as we like it.
Why would the soil not work if you did that? Isn't that just a slower and more natural way of forming soil on a terraformed body than brewing it in vats?
Meanwhile--Lunar grit on all scales has undergone no polishing by air or water erosion whatsoever. All the surfaces are jagged. Inhaling raw moondust would do terrible damage to human lungs. Again if we were to dump on an atmosphere and hydrosphere and step away for many millions of years, gradually everything will converge toward Terran type conditions . But if we are thinking of settling the Moon very quickly, in just hundreds of years, lunar regolith would have to be painstakingly processed in some kind of polishing process quite a lot, before we think about adding adjusting minerals and biomatter and working it into proper soil.
In theory you could melt the entire surface of the moon during the terraforming process by adding the water and atmosphere very quickly and thus producing lots of heat but that seems a little messy. You could also freeze the moon right afterwards too by blocking the sunlight and building cooling towers. That would clean up the regolith problem though. Otherwise I'd assume the regolith is getting buried under a few layers of soil.
There is also the gravity issue. I think it might be practical to lay out banked railroad tracks for a 1 kilometer radius circle, and run a train around it fast enough for the cars to be at a full Earth G, rolling along in vacuum in tunnels providing sufficient radiation shielding, with shuttle cars that can sidle up and lock to one of the moving cars, and then separate and take a switch to brake down to a stop. The circular tract of surface inside the circle will be leveled, smoothed, covered over with sealant, domed over and soil created to cover the interior for a combination of useful photosynthetic plant action and human recreation. But people would generally have to spend a lot of time on the high-G train cars.
More likely you'd just have a genetically modified environment where everything is adapted to moon gravity without causing any serious health issues. But otherwise yes, you'd need some sort of cities built into craters that would rotate to add additional artificial gravity. Presumably this means arcologies would always be in style on the moon.
 
If our theories are correct and Helium-3 is required, then the Lunar Regolith will be the most valuable raw resource in the system. Much more so than a terraformed Moon.
 
If our theories are correct and Helium-3 is required, then the Lunar Regolith will be the most valuable raw resource in the system. Much more so than a terraformed Moon.
You can get helium-3 from a lot of places like the atmosphere of a gas giant (which is a richer source than lunar regolith). Uranus or Neptune is preferred because of the lower gravity.
 
Yes, but the Moon is RIGHT THERE. Also, I was talking about cold fusion. I swore I typed that.
Distance is meaningless. Delta-v is your metric. 11 klicks a second to get out to Uranus from LEO. That’s more than to get down to the Moon, yes, so viability is entirely dependent on the amount on the Moon vs. the amount at the giants.
 
Distance is meaningless. Delta-v is your metric. 11 klicks a second to get out to Uranus from LEO. That’s more than to get down to the Moon, yes, so viability is entirely dependent on the amount on the Moon vs. the amount at the giants.
I am less worried about Delta-V and distance, than time. A couple days to the Moon, or a couple years to Uranus. Which do you think we will exploit first?
 
Oh REALLY? It's cheaper to build a space ship, which has to travel for YEARS, then build a 100% SELF SUFFICIENT ORBITAL COLONY AROUND URANUS. I am quite sure it will be MUCH more expensive than a moon base.
 
It's the issue of abundance. To recover one ton of helium-3 would require processing over 100 million tons of lunar regolith. That takes a lot of energy (and destroys all those nice mountains and craters on the moon) you'd rather be using for other purposes. In the long run, if you needed large quantities of helium-3 it would be easier to suck it up from a gas giant and in particular Uranus because of the lower delta-v.

The term you're looking for is aneutronic fusion, not cold fusion since cold fusion is pseudoscience. Helium-3's real value is because as an aneutronic source you can make the fusion reactor lighter and more portable which is really good for a spaceship.
 
Oh REALLY? It's cheaper to build a space ship, which has to travel for YEARS, then build a 100% SELF SUFFICIENT ORBITAL COLONY AROUND URANUS.
Why do humans need to be involved? You think humans will be flying down to any of these planets’ cloudtops? Any human lunar base wouldn’t need to be self-sufficient, either. The delta-v requirement to get up and down from the Moon makes the gas giants more financially viable.

At least until we build a lunar space elevator. We have the materials to do that now, but not the know how.
 
Never mind, forget I said anything, I'll go back to lurking.
No, man, it’s good stuff! There’s a lot about space that violates our “natural” understanding of things. Just operating in microgravity messes with the brain, because it expects a distinct “down” (and also for masses to have weight). But then you have to deal with things like the nearest location not being the easiest to get to (in terms even of energy expenditure, never mind cost). All our classical perceptions of, say, literary narratives break down when you have to account for space. There won’t be space battles with “one man fighter craft” like airborne dogfights. The cost (fiscal and delta v) and complexity of such systems are too great and the benefits just don’t exist compared to larger ships. There won’t even be space battles like modern naval battles, because while yes, most contact will also occur outside of line of sight, it’ll be so far away that light lag will be a factor in both offense and defense. There won’t be piracy (because without torchships, there aren’t “shipping lanes” and transfers between important locations are constantly changing such that each ship takes a unique path from point A to point B). All that poetic stuff has to be retooled.

Space remains all manner of interesting to think about, not the least of which because it won’t be like our expectations.
 
Oh, the tight constriction of the South America/Antarctica gap leaped out at me, but I don't think it means Antarctica is significantly warmer. Note it can be warmer, and still not melt, and having it not melt is the main thing, otherwise if it were "green" because the ice melted we have to assume either less ocean water on this planet to start with, or more continental rock piled higher to get the same continent areas, roughly.

Oh yes!

Let me take a stab at the alternate history of this planet, in the context of the Trek setting it came from. For this one episode, we hear about some sociological law of parallel development not referred to generally in the rest of the franchise history, but this is apparently a case of unusually close parallelism. These Romans might even be a branch of Terran humanity settled on this planet say 10,000 years ago but we can just as well assume they are home-grown humanoids, it makes little difference (except maybe theologically, for those who remember exactly how the episode "Bread and Circuses" ends, with Uhura's insight!)

So, looking at the map, from a Eurocentric POV as is suggested by the implication that the Romans gradually conquered and Latinized the whole damn planet pole to pole, I notice that the outlet into the Mediterranean is wider, but that in itself does not suggest anything much to me on the time scale of human history. (I think we can assume this planet has ice ages and is in an interglacial pretty closely synched with Earth's own cycle). Analogs of Greece and Italy are there, and though not shown on the map, I think we can assume a river analogous to the Nile is there too. So we have Egypt, the Levant as the west end of a presumptive Fertile Crescent since Iraq appears to be there, presumably Iranian/Persian highlands. What doesn't exist is the Red and Black Seas! In place of the latter the Caspian appears to be larger, and connected via a wide channel to the Persian Gulf. So Anatolia, which the OTL Terran Greeks called "Asia," is integral with the European plains shading into steppes. And there is this honking inland sea north of Iran, and separating Iran from the shore lands of Mesopotamia.

Meanwhile we can presume Africa south of the Med dries out into a Sahara that stretches straight into Arabia, no Red Sea, no Mecca, no Yemen. (Actually, there is a little bay where the mouth of the Red Sea is on Earth, so maybe a Yemen. But separated by hard desert with no better route than going overland to the upper Nile for contact between this "Punt" region including later Ethiopia and the Med world).

I think the preconditions of a Hellenic/Hellenistic history laying the groundwork for ATL Rome exist well enough; we can see a Persian power rising (crossing the Persian Gulf channel instead of descending directly from the Persian highlands, I suppose via having politically secured an ally on the east shore) and a Hellenic confederation to resist its advance--I assume Anatolia exists as a highland zone shading into grassland to the north, so the Persians would tend to want to stick to Anatolia rather than expand north and east--at this point. Meanwhile they are also diverted to spread north along the Super-Caspian but not to go west directly from there I suppose. This shields all Europe from exposure to steppe nomads.

So we can have some version of Alexander, Hellenistic kingdoms, and the Romans first consolidating a portion of Italy, taking on Carthage in North Africa, eventually getting hegemony over Italy and all points west, and turning their attention to adventures in the eastern Med. Unlike OTL, the Eastern Med is not as rich because presumably there is less regional spice production and less trade in it, though what trade comes comes either via Mesopotamia and thence into Syria, or by Arab controlled desert overland routes. Roman society is drawn eastward but not as much, and not so much absorbed and anchored in eastern Med predecessor societies.

OTOH, for a time, prospects to the west and north are more limited. As noted, the Gulf stream is trapped between North America--I will henceforth substitute the term "Hesperia" for the Americas-- and Atlantis, and the bodies of water to the east are colder. Scandinavia is probably uninhabitable save on the most marginal terms, essentially Greater Sami-land; the British Isles, which appear to be farther north and with Ireland reduced in size, are very marginal; European coasts north of Iberia are distinctly colder, I'd say the coasts and lands south of Amorica (modern Britanny) are probably almost as warm as OTL, though somewhat colder and poorer, but around that mid-Gaulish latitude, the climate steeply worsens; the southern Baltic shore is scarcely better than say Labrador. There are "barbarians" north and east of the Rhine, but in fewer numbers and less developed.

As OTL then the Romans secure Gaul, and set up a watch on the Rhine, but stop there, and are rarely bothered much on this front. There is no attempt to Romanize Britain! Not in early centuries anyway.

The legions are accustomed to be offered land to colonize after their stint of service. In this Empire, such land in Iberia and North Africa and Gaul is quickly used up, but northeast of Greece there is Dacia and the lands beyond. (I believe the rivers that flow into the Black Sea on Earth here flow into a large river flowing out the Hellespont). The trouble with this land east of the Carpathians and north of Anatolia is twofold--one it is dryer with a somewhat less stable climate than these lands have in the west OTL, and two, it is exposed to a vast plain where hostile Central Asian peoples would contest it, but now it is instead exposed to Persian hostility as they or various successors control the arm of the Indian Ocean reaching up into the western boundary of Asia (I guess this sea will eventually be the definition of the boundary between Europe and Asia). Note that the vast steppe of OTL is broken up by the Super-Caspian and another inland sea connecting to the Pacific north of China.

Meanwhile, the northwest of the Empire is a rustic backwater, but some coastal trade exists, north of the Limnes to the impoverished tribes of the North Sea coast and Baltic. I presume despite obvious difficulties the southern reaches of Great Britain have tin in the southwest and trade has reached that far north; at a late date the Empire decides to consolidate all this, not putting too much effort into it, mainly focused on British tin.

At some point someone stumbles on the east coast of Atlantis. Eastern Atlantis is not very attractive, but desultory exploration reveals it gets better the farther south one goes, and rounding the southern cape, it is a lot warmer and wetter on the west coast, due to the Gulf Stream flowing into the narrow seas there. This is fortunate because the settlement of the zone north of Anatolia has been stagnating. Actually the land gets better there the farther east one goes due to the SuperCaspian sea, but the Persians are there and are hostile. So the Legions are somewhat preoccupied and there are manpower drafts on the western Empire, but the government in Rome can see possibilities in developing Atlantis and slow down their drive eastward in central Eurasia, and divert population northwest into Atlantis.

Atlantis, I would think, has already been settled in a sense, but only recently and somewhat, by Arctic Native Hesperians of an Inuit type filtering south from Greenland. Let us suppose that the peoples who settled the Hesperias happen to have lucked into stronger genetic bases for resistance to epidemic diseases, but still, the New World peoples will be pretty vulnerable to Old World diseases. Still around this time (equivalent to 500 CE or so I guess) the Roman world is less exposed and has had fewer plagues, and the process of colonizing Atlantis is fairly slow, so the native Atlanteans, who are small in number due to being mostly gatherer-hunters with only a few agricultural peoples and those just developing villages and so forth, undergo a demographic collapse, but less drastic than we'd expect OTL, and the survivors largely incorporate into Roman society.

The settling of Atlantis, concentrating as it does on the western Atlantean coast, soon leads to contact with North Hesperia, and so the Romans have launched a systematic expansionist drive westward. Perhaps with a slower progress, an analogy to the US Federal government encourages and sustains this process--early settlers are likely to become the gentry families of new provinces with autonomy, and Rome will appoint reliable locals to govern in the name of the Emperor, demanding tribute in the forms of money, and some Legionary manpower. Thus the stage is set for the very slow, gradual absorption of North Hesperia into the Roman sphere. The main settle-and-develop thrust is along the coast and into the eastern part of the Mississippi valley and Great Lakes, but it doesn't take long (well not more than a few centuries) for MesoHesperia to be "discovered." (It will help if the process of Roman expansion over the Appalachians is gradual enough that Mississippi valley civilizations do not collapse as rapidly and completely, and contact with these people communicate rumors of the rich cites far across the Gulf of Mexico).

Colonial policy there will be more along Portuguese lines--send some expeditions to grab some strongholds and seek regional allies for both trade and political advance.

The Atlantean enterprise raises questions of what else might lurk out in the seas, and expeditions southward along the African coast, motivated in part by the reasoning that circumnavigating Africa could connect to rich trade with the fabled Indian Ocean area, push on past the Saharan coast to "discover" West Africa, a region not entirely unknown.

But note that while by this time OTL, dromedary camels, domesticated in Somalia, had spread in use to Arabs, here there is no Red Sea and contact with that corner of east Africa is very sparse; we might suppose the use of dromedaries is spreading along the south Arabian coast but the great numbers of Arabs, and the social conditions leading to the foundation of Islam, do not exist anywhere near the Roman sphere; both Rome and the successive Persian and steppe peoples to the north know of Arabs only by a few trade kingdoms running small masses of very rare spices overland across a desert worse than OTL; most of this trade goes to the Persian Gulf and is monopolized by the Persians. So caravans across the Sahara are impeded. Contacting West Africa by sea is a big deal.

In Hesperia and in western Africa, the pattern is again the Portuguese one in these low latitudes, the Romans send ships south and west to set up client relations and gradually Romanize their contacts. Setting up bases southward on the African coast, the Romans don't find it nearly as dangerous a "fever coast" as they might a thousand years later--most decimating diseases that spread in the region they brought themselves. But they aren't much inclined to colonize inland, leaving this to their regional clients.

Getting down to South Africa though, they find "Mediterranean" climate much more appealing, and around OTL Cape Town and other ports they set up spreading settler colonies, gradually inducting native southern African peoples into their system.

Obviously if the Romans are expanding on the northeast of the Hesperias, and sending expeditionary trade/war missions south to the Antilles and into MesoAmerica, they are going to gradually feel their way to South Hesperia that way. Meanwhile, attempting to reach West Africa they will surely find themselves forced out west into the Atlantic to look for favorable winds and currents (the African coastal winds and currents flow northward). So they are liable to stumble on eastern Brazil sooner or later. This will lead them to discover the inland sea of Amazonia eventually. If Romans from the swathe of settlements from the northeast of America, Atlantis, the Med or the trans-Anatolian zone are uninterested in settling or manning outposts in such tropical country, by this point quite a few fairly Romanized West Africans (noting there is another isolated inland sea where Angola is OTL) might be interested. Will there be tropical cultivator peoples in the various rivers feeding into the Amazonian bays? I think it quite likely, and there might be a fair amount of civilization there too. Transplanting Amazonian crops into Africa could permit a surge in Romanized African population, and a certain number of these Africans will invade and settle the South American tropics, probably synergizing with disease-decimated but viable native societies. This gives a straightforward link to the Andean region; on the west side of the Andean ridge we have every reason to expect the trade-based societies that developed on Earth OTL to be forming there too.

Rome then is acquiring all sorts of deep pockets of manpower and wealth in the processes of absorbing western Africa, Atlantis, and the rest of the New World, essentially unchecked.

Realistically we'd assume at some point long before this, the limited communications and other liabilities of pre-gunpowder era empires would long ago have led to the Roman entity splitting up. But the TOS episode presents us with a unified world Empire, apparently. We can argue is otherwise and the canon episode involved the crew members dealing with just a fraction of world power, or we can suggest Roman imperialism is a recent reconstruction and a recent conquest by a Mediterranean based neo-Rome. But the straightforward way to watch the episode I always thought was that Rome Never Fell, so we have to assume that somehow or other the Romans gradually evolved their rather miserable political system into something stable that kept commanding allegiance for many thousands of years. I've offered some vague suggestions along those lines, that it has to do with maintaining the Legions by keeping up the practice of guaranteeing them decent new lands to colonize. It is still a staggering accomplishment, to keep loyalty and effective coordination running through the city of Rome all this time! Note that by pointing out the Black and Red seas do not exist, I think I can better justify the Imperials never abandoning ancient Rome itself as their political and cultural center; the riches of the East did not beckon; the defense of the purported northeastern colonial zone is a job largely for the settled Legionary population itself, with enough aid coming from the west to justify their ongoing loyalty, and soon gets counterbalanced by the Atlantis-Hesperia venture.

So I think around 1000 CE, we'd have the Latinization of North Hesperia east of the Mississippi, a long establishment of ties and enhancement of pro-Roman clients in MesoHesperia and along the West African coast, and a pretty secure foothold on South Africa and ventures beyond the Madagascar Peninsula (see the map!) and into the Indian Ocean.

At this point, the Empire could also have resumed the pressure on reaching and securing the SuperCaspian--I suggest by having gradually reached north toward the Baltic and Romanizing native peoples living in what we'd call Great Russia, who advance eastward on the taiga boundaries to reach the northwest reaches of the Super-Caspian and secure its northern shorelands back to the northern forests, and then with rising intensity of Roman aid, fight their way down the western shore toward the southern coastal centers of local power, with the Empire also raising the pressure from the southwest. If the Persians have not been controlling the south shore all along, I daresay a regional rival succumbs and judges the Persians the lesser evil, and invites in Persian power to hold against Rome. While locked in this struggle the Romans are meanwhile coming into the Indian Ocean around Africa.

How long would it take the Romans to reach the Pacific? I think their fastest route is via a Central Hesperian client state that Latinizes pretty readily, probably in the narrower parts like Panama or the Nicaraguan route. It would take a while to filter through in Mexica proper, and while individual Romans might find their way from Amazonian western reaches, up over Andean passes to coastal cities on the Pacific, I don't think there is much promise of rapid movement of either goods or Roman forces that way. A Romanized Nicaragua is my bet. Sending modern ships up and down the Pacific coast is the best way to link up to Andean trade. But the Roman ships of around 1000 CE would not be much for deep Pacific sailing. Their knowledge of cosmology tells them their planet is round and they have some idea of where China is and where they are on a globe, but that tells them to take a great circle route dead against the prevailing currents that run along the northwest Hesperian coast. Contact with Polynesians might lead them on a different route, through the South Pacific and toward the Philippines in the wake of Magellan.

But the surer thing is to instead push around Africa, and seek out the markets of the Persian Gulf and India.

Again looking at the map, I observe the Super Caspian is actually an arm of the Persian Gulf, and that Mesopotamia was exposed to the middle reaches of this channel. Presumably the ATL-Persians are seafarers too, at least in these protected waters. (It might therefore have been reasonable for the Persians to prevail over Rome, but again the TOS canon episode has Rome come out on top, so I have been narrating it that way, so presumably the Persians never fostered a major surge of power south to east Africa by sea).

The Romans know they have no welcome in Persian Gulf ports so they steer east to India, where they again take the Portuguese style route of securing some strongholds and cultivating relations with chosen regional allies. From there they leapfrog on to Southeast Asia and Nusantara generally, which seem overall likely to be much like OTL Earth.

How likely are they to stray south and discover this world's version of Australia? It may take them remarkably long to do so, but if they do, they will find the far southwest coast extending into much more temperate climates, like that of Tasmania, and this would be their initial focus of settlement--once based there, working their way along the coasts they will find two Tasmanias, and a somewhat New Zealandish set of islands not terribly far east of these, and then up the east coast presumably find the Barrier Reef and the east Australian coast much as OTL. OTL Nusantaran peoples did not bother with trade or settlement in Australia, so it lies open for Roman incorporation I would think. A slower process and possible higher Aboriginal populations particularly in the southwest might make this a less overwhelming cultural steamroller than OTL Anglicizing the place was. But Romanize it will I think.

And so we have the Romans forcing a sea route through to China via Nusantara; Hesperian routes will develop later I think, and might start with ships that originated in South Africa and traveled east to China then setting out northward to skim along to northwest Hesperian islands and thence south along the Pacific coast down to the purported Nicaraguan port. Finding a reciprocal westward route would come later.

All this account I have left China out of it. Looking at the alternate world map, China has this big sea north of it, and islands equivalent to Japan and Korea seem to clutter up this sea's outlet to the Pacific. Han China would find on its northwest instead of open steppes, this shore covering a lot of it. Coastal Chinese people might be counted, under Imperial direction, to largely defend their own shores; China would incorporate most of the hospitable shoreline and muster sea power there to bring Korea and Japan into the broader tributary system. Basically then China would develop much as OTL; we don't have the canon TV show warrant to suppose their political solutions are far better than OTL, but certainly no reason to think they'd be worse. The Empire's successive dynasties would first consolidate their grip on the northern coast, and secure the northwest steppe boundary, then expand southward to incorporate south China, trying and sometimes succeeding in dominating Vietnam. In their most energetic phases we can suppose hegemony over Tibet and the far west securing the western end of the Silk Route will also happen, this basically brings the Chinese imperial system into contact with northern India and with the Persian system I have been presupposing.

The Chinese will have the same sort of self-satisfied disinterest in extensive relations with outsiders they had on OTL Earth; the Romans showing up belatedly at their southeastern ports will not have tremendous leverage versus longer established trade partners--but the Romans are slowly gobbling these up. The vast Roman system can scrape up a lot of silver and other precious metals the Chinese will not sneer at, as well as take over the production and trade of Nusantarian spices.

Recalling I am talking about events that might be a thousand years before the Enterprise encounters this planet in TOS, there is a long time for an end game in which the Romans gradually advance technology (much of this is actually Chinese, Indian, and Persian inventions at first, but I suppose we have to have the Romans slipping into a capitalist mentality sooner or later, and they'll internalize the accelerating ball of invention over this thousand year interim) and get a successive grip on Persian, Indian, east African, the remnants of Hesperia, the various Pacific islands, and finally, in a process I suppose would take hundreds of years, incorporate China.

It is entirely possible as noted that the planet Kirk et al got shanghaied into being gladiators on planet wide color TV was not entirely Roman ruled, that some Chinese or other superpower rival defied Rome still, but as noted my impression was otherwise.

I certainly would expect that Latin is a language very few Chinese speak proficiently, that China is a sort of satrapy of separated provinces giving nominal homage to distant Rome and with their capitals occupied by strategic numbers of western Legionaries and "advisors," but mostly with Chinese governors (who themselves do speak Latin fluently) overseeing largely traditional Confucian-imperial style bureaucracy and pulling the occasional fast one on their Roman overseers.

Something intermediate to this would be true of the former Persian zones--some, which never much liked Persian rule, would be quite heavily Latinized, others would cling to a distinctly non-Roman cultural format and give the Roman imperial authorities some headaches with occasional outbreaks of armed resistance.

So in the world at large; it is, outside the Mediterranean/European heartlands, a patchwork of more and less Romanized regions. Some former client states vigorously maintain a distinct cultural identity despite their consistent support of the Roman system; some places are deeply Latinized but also deeply resentful of this system, some less confusingly have Romanized deeply and think of themselves as basically Roman despite some of these zones being places with radically different climates and ecologies than the Mediterranean core land--there are African and South and Central Hesperian peoples who show scarcely any trace of European ancestry and live in warm humid rain forests or swamps cultivating crops and creatures no Roman would know what to do with, but growing up with Latin as their mother tongue and learning a Roman-centric history. And not far away from these centers--regions that only sullenly and partially acknowledge Imperial authority exists and pretend to be as independent of it as they can. Naturally these places are not major economic or demographic powers, or the Romans would have secured them more tightly some time back.

The whole planet at this point then is under Roman control, to the satisfaction of the Romans anyway, and "Romans" by identity span the entire ethnic spectrum of the planet. The most developed and prosperous zones are deeply Romanized, some in a mixed way, others 100 percent Latinized, in the modern mode of course.

Rome itself I imagine is some megacity the like of which we have not yet seen on our Earth, sprawling all around the ancient city core which is the domain of the central government. I'm picturing London as of 1900, Paris of 1939, Mexico City and Shanghai all jammed together with loads of major Imperial artwork monuments and a massively layered infrastructure of sewers, plumbing, light rail above and below ground, pneumatic tube networks, and relatively recent electrification and telephony all concentrated to a degree no one quite ever aspired to here on our Earth. It is sort of a 20th Century Terran analog of Trantor. All the other great cities of Earth are a bit stunted, or practically nonexistent, in its shadow; Rome relates to the planet the way Paris relates to France. (And Paris is just a town in a poorer part of Gaul, or rather in a region that has in recent centuries been developed for its industrial resources, but is not the first city of the region nor does any part of northern Gaul stand out as a focus of culture or possess much in the way of alluring charm. Paris is better off than London though; Britain is a peripheral backwater mainly known for mines, anciently for tin and more recently, via Yukon/Siberian type efforts, coal and iron. If a river analogous to the Thames even exists, the port on it has a certain importance, but not greater than closer ports to the coal and iron fields).

From the episode, indigenous technology as of the time of this limited contact was plainly equivalent to Earth's around the 1960s. At any rate, broadcast color TV was a thing, using the same sorts of studio cameras Desilu was using for the series! We can speculate on divergences--perhaps there is no knowledge of say nuclear power, the Roman Empire having prevailed in its endgame with China long before that would become a thing and with technology stagnating since. Or it could be the planet is networked with nuke plants, we don't know. Is their medicine as good as 1960s developed nations? As far as Dr McCoy is concerned there is no difference between US medicine in 1986 and the practices of the High Middle Ages, it's all horrifyingly backward witch doctor stuff to him. Do they have intercontinental jet liners, or do important Romans of the imperial governing classes and big shot merchants putter about in airships? We certainly didn't see any airships in shot, but neither did we see anything like a Boeing 707. So maybe electronics are a bit precocious, and maybe they have been for some time and the current era is one of stagnation--but I suspect the nature of the mass culture we get glimpses of, the OTL USAian style TV broadcast format, suggests overall a society not unlike the mid-20th century developed world nations, at least for the more favored of the Roman system client states (all of which I think would be formally incorporated as imperial provinces by now, probably with the more favored ones enjoying special autonomous rights, suspiciously watched over by skeptical imperial agents lest anyone stray into secession).

The analog Roman Earth then is pretty much like Earth of the 1960s in overall development, and is in an age of modernization, perhaps at a more deliberate pace than OTL 1960s-90s. Similar issues of high polarization, of favored Roman provinces that have a combination of high utility and reliable loyalty and service to the Empire having a very comfortable standard of living for large citizen middle classes and regional poverty being in closer reach to this comfortable standard, versus less favored provinces that either are simply backwaters or have a history of disloyalty and are under more punitive regimes being more "traditional" and thus much poorer; in this time a combination of opportunistic entrepreneurialism and Imperial policy is trying to modernize everywhere, but keeping a close watch on social developments and reckoning carefully how much police force they need to keep on standby should this or that zone spin out of immediate control.

The Romans have, sometime in the past, secured the whole world, more or less; the Legions, which have been somehow maintained if modernized, ceased to need to fight peer combat wars some time back, but are now instead the top layer of world police forces. As such the Empire is prudently maintaining recruitment and training at a fairly high level. Presumably OTL notions of democracy and universal justice have not developed, at least not in those exact terms--I presume no principles of civil rights check what the Imperial police can do, but they might be checked and overseen through other channels.

Again, people who have seen the episode get some canon insight into social forces that might oppose Imperial absolutism.

Please allow me to compliment you, Shevek, on your absolutely comprehensive and entirely excellent article on the map of Magna Roma - it's most appreciated and one can only apologise for taking so long to answer, having been on a sojourn from alternate history (for whatever reason) and have thereby deprived you of the praise your efforts so richly deserve!:extremelyhappy:

Out of curiosity, may one please ask if you have any thoughts on what a relief map of the various fictional landmasses might look like? (I'm specifically thinking of Atlantis and that very large island due south of the Hawaiian Archipelago, but would also appreciate your thoughts on any of the others).
 

The Central Solar System (once called the Inner Solar System, until people realized how crazy the space beyond Neptune really was) is defined as the region extending from the Sun to the Junoan orbit. Here are all the major planets and bodies that make up this place, in their natural state before human expansion (but I'll give a quick description of who colonized it and the culture of the places).

The most dominant body of the solar system is the sun, officially designated in the European continent as Sol, although everyone up until the expansion to the outer stars of the solar system called it the sun. Sol is a G2V type star, which is the largest in the system and bigger than 90% of other stars. It is a massive 1,392,700 kilometers across, much, much bigger than the rest of the solar system combined. The Sun was kinda/sorta colonized by weird sun worshiping cults, manufacturing companies in need of energy and daredevils from the rest of the solar system. They mainly live in orbital habitats.

Next to the sun, at around 0.05 AU is the Apollo Belt, a group of small, scorched planetoids orbiting very close to the star. The largest of them is the very small dwarf planet Apollo, which is about 761 km across, followed by Tonatiuh, Aetheon and Pyrois, each of which are less than two hundred kilometers across. The rest are very small, but are still home to resources rivaling the much bigger Kemtoid belt. These planetoids are believed to have come from an old planet breaking up near the sun or probably from Apollo itself. Like the sun, the belt was colonized mainly by companies from all over and gold diggers who heard about the materials there.

Vulcan is the first actual planet from the sun, and it is a pretty cool place. The planet is tidally locked to the sun, with a lava ocean known as Mare Pandoris facing the sun. It has a small atmosphere of choking hot carbon dioxide, along with some rock vapor. Yes, rock vapor, and this tends to rain as boiling hot rocks on the far side of the planet. The sun also squeezes Vulcan to immense degrees, causing volcanoes (no pun intended) to erupt regularly. Despite being a literal hell, Vulcan is home to immense resources beyond imagining, having massive amounts of diamonds, gold, platinum and many other goodies, making Vulcan worth the challenge to mine. Vulcan is a little bigger than Earth, at around 14,476 km, but is twice as massive. It zips around the sun having an orbit of only 25 days, and it lies 0.147 AU from the star that tortures it. Vulcan was colonized by Germanic Europeans, Mercurians and Selenites. Its culture really values toughness and respect, and the planet was subjugated by Mercurian corporations for a while. Oh yeah, Vulcanian humans are short and stocky due to the immense gravity of the planet, and think of themselves as dwarves.

Mercury is the next planet, and it is basically a calm version of Vulcan, although it is home to less resources and is much smaller. The planet is home to gargantuan cave systems, tunneling deep into the planet. Mercury has no atmosphere, which means that the planet is full of craters that cover it many layers deep. The planet is actually pretty small, at only 4,879 km, and orbits around 0.32 AU from the sun. Mercury has a bit of an eccentric orbit, generally wobbling around the sun more than the other planets. Mercury was colonies by the Chinese, Middle Easterners, Indians and Americans, and it is society is very <s>corporatist</s>, technophilic, superstitious and religious.

The next planet is Minerva (OTL Venus, ITTL Venus is up later), which is a roughly Earth sized planet covered in a thick layer of clouds made up of Carbon Dioxide. Minerva is home to intense pressures at its surface, and it is very hot, although not so much as Vulcan. The planet is geologically active, and has a very long rotation, and its day is longer than its year. Minerva orbits at 0.55 AU, and is 12,103 km in diameter, although it is half the mass of Earth. Minerva was initially colonized by a ragtag of groups from Mars, Luna and Mercury, and then was 'recolonized' by Africans who settled on the planet once the terraforming was complete (the terraforming was done entirely by African corporations, so there's that).

Mars is the next planet, and it is probably the most Earth Like of the main planets, with oceans and land. It is home to some very primordial life, such as bacteria and some more evolved creatures, which are basically like Jellyfish on Earth. Mars is well known for its red oceans, which are full of iron and other chemicals. The planet is similar to Earth in pressure, is a little hotter than Earth in temperature but is home to toxic chemicals in the atmosphere. Mars is 11,788 km in diameter and is 0.85 AU from the sun. The planet has two moons, Phobos and Deimos. They are 1,316 and 1,406 km in diameter respectively, and they are both generally made up of rock and ice, with no atmospheres unlike Luna. I made a post on colonial Mars which you can check out here:https://www.deviantart.com/nizamz7/art/Mars-in-2115-before-the-First-Martian-War-855858795, but as of 2361, they have turned out very conservative in nearly every aspect.

Earth is the fifth planet from the sun, and the homeworld of humanity and the majority of other races. It is home to oceans, land, ice sheets and a vast diversity of life, more than any other planet. The planet is 12,742 km in diameter and orbits 1 AU from the sun (the AU is based off of this measurement). Humanity evolved on Earth, and formed many great empires, and first took to the stars here. Earth was cool until WW6 caused Kessler Syndrome and the Selenites got involved in ruining it.

Orbiting Earth is the moon Luna, a bizarre but surprisingly habitable world. Luna is covered in a dense layer of mist and clouds, giving it a whitish appearance from Earth. Under the mist, lies many mountains and small lakes, although underneath them is a massive biological network made up of fungal like organisms tunneling deep into the planet. Luna's atmosphere is fine for humans, although there is too much oxygen. The moon is tidally locked to Earth, with days and nights 15 days long, orbiting 413,399 km from Earth. The moon is 3,514 km in diameter, although the layered fungal canopies give it a lot of land area. Luna was mainly colonized by North Americans, Europeans and East Asians.

Venus is the next planet from the sun, covered in a massive ice sheet, as it had been for billions of years. The planet is intensely reflective, appearing as a bright star from Earth, even more so than Mars, which Earth is closer to. Venus is home to a decent atmosphere, although its pressure is a little weak, and its atmosphere does not have much oxygen. The planet is still cold, at around Antarctic temperatures. It has some very basic bacterial life, although this still is not enough for oxygenation. Venus has two moons, Adonis and Cupid. Adonis is the smaller one, orbiting closer to Venus, and it is basically a captured object from the kemtoid belt. Cupid is the bigger one, orbiting farther out. Venus is 10,753 km in diameter and orbits 1.86 AU from the sun. Venus was mainly colonized by the American-Chinese lead Pacific Sphere alliance, and they became one of the nicest places to live in the system.

Juno is the next planet in, and it is quite an interesting world. The planet is a gas dwarf, with an immense atmosphere making up half of its mass, greatly decreasing its density. The atmosphere is mainly made up of hydrogen, and looks green and yellow from space. Juno orbits at 2.21 AU, right next to the Kemtoid belt. It has several moons, most of which are captured Kemtoids, the biggest ones being Bellona, Hebe, Eris, Eileithyia and Enyo. These are no more than 400 km across. Juno was colonized by a lot of random groups which each took a moon for themselves, and decided to coexist.

Orbiting ahead and behind Juno, the Ceres and Vesta fields act as Lagrangian companions to the planet. These fields are made up of many captured planetoids centered around a large planeload, those being Ceres and Vesta themselves, each of them being 1,300 km across (bigger than any object in the Kemtoid belt). They are considered to be disjointed from the belt, although they regularly overlap. Ceres was colonized by former Soviet countries and Vesta was colonized by the Japanese and South Americans.
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