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Human Exploration

History | Earth Alliance Exploration | Corporate Exploration and Exploitation | Independent Scouting


 By as late as 2150, humanity was still confined to the Sol system. Exploration of anything beyond was accomplished by using sub-light cryogenic exploration ships sent on one-way missions. Some ships, like the Copernicus were programmed to home in on any signal that could indicate intelligent life. Unfortunately, many of the ships launched were for naught. In 2151, Earth made contact with the Centauri. They let us lease time on their jumpgates and sold Earth the technology to make and maintain our own jumpgates. Earth opened up trade relations with the Centauri to partially pay for their leased time on Centauri jumpgates.

 This sudden influx of technology and contact with another race caused great upheavals in Earther society. Not only were there social, religious, and political disruptions, it also created a hunger for technology. Some technologies, like Changeling Nets, are considered too radical for some species and are illegal for them to possess. Punishment, if caught, is usually in the form of prison or the death penalty. This does not deter some spacers from making "tech-runs." Many Earther megacorporations fund xenoarchaeology expeditions in the hope of finding long lost technology.

 Earth rapidly assimilated and perfected the technology they acquired and went out among the stars. Space travel became much easier. New starfleets were built by Earthforce. Megacorporations, eager to find new and relatively "free" resources, built and acquired their own small fleets. What these giants could not accomplish, individuals took up the slack, becoming free-traders and scouts. Quite a few people sought to see the galaxy by "hitchhiking" on starships, trading their services for passage.

 The current hot-spot for exploration is the Rim, or the edge of explored or known space. The Rim is constantly being pushed farther and father back because of heavy Earther exploration.

Earth Alliance Exploration

 Earth Alliance maintains a small fleet of Explorer-class vessels. These enormous ships (nearly five miles long) find likely areas for exploitation, perform a cursory examination of the sector, build a jumpgate and move on. Further exploration, if warranted, of the sector is performed by corporations and independent scouts.

Explorer-class vessel Cortez trailblazing a new hyperspace lane.

 Prior to the declaration of martial law in the Alliance in 2260, Earth continued to expand their borders. With Clark in complete control of the Alliance, Earth's borders were effectively closed.

Corporate Exploration and Exploration

There are a lot of credits to be made in space exploration, and it is no wonder that the megacorporations are heavy funders. They under-write the surveying and exploitation of planets. They can either sell what they find to the Earth Alliance or directly exploit the find themselves. Additionally, there is a huge market for xenoarchaeologists (or as some in the science community would say, archeotechnologists) to explore now-dead worlds for any technology left behind that would be useful to Earth.

 By law, corporations cannot exploit or strip mine a world that is home to sentient life.

Interplanetary Expeditions is a mega-corporation that funds xenoarchaeology digs to procure organic technology. It is a front company for a bioweapons supplier. Their corporate motto is: "Exploring the past to create a better future."

Universal Terraform is a mega-corporation that funds exploration and also readies worlds for colonization and exploitation.

 The general corporate procedure for exploring a new world:

  • A jumpgate is usually constructed in the general vicinity of the promising planet by a jumpgate construction ship like the Explorer-class ship Cortez .
  • An unmanned sensor probe is launched into the system to assess gross features and composition.
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  • If the results are positive, a scout ship, either corporate or a freelancer, undertakes exploring the system for exploitable resources and determines its value.
  • If a corporation wishes to take advantage of the find, a life sciences team is sent in to determine if there are any sentients on the planet which would make the world off-limits and exploitation illegal.

Independent Scouting

 For the individual, scouting contracts can be a very profitable way to earn a living. If a scout explores and surveys an exploitable sector of space that is especially lucrative, even the small percentage of the profit set aside for the scout can become a windfall of thousands of credits.

 Scientific survey ships require a crew and survey specialists. These exploration and archaeological/scientific vessels usually piggyback on Explorer-class ships or other jump-capable vessels to arrive at their destination. They arrange with the carrying ship to pick them up after a certain number of days or weeks. They are capable of planetary landing and carry several land-exploration vehicles. Crew compliment for ships like the ill-fated Icarus is approximately 140.


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