|“||Since 'tis certain that Earth and Jupiter have their Water and Clouds, there is no reason why the other Planets should be without them.||”|
—Christiaan Huygens, Cosmostheoros (1695)
Terraforming, as the term is used in Fenspace, is the process of giving a planet an Earthlike atmosphere and biosphere.
There are two terraforming projects underway in the Solar System: the Mars Terraforming Project and the Venus Terraforming Project. Even with handwavium, altering either of these planets to have a perfect duplicate of Earth's atmosphere and biosphere is nearly impossible; the Terraforming Projects' staff are hoping for places where unmodified humans can live without wearing life-support suits.
The most likely candidate for terraforming efforts within 100 light years of Sol is Alice (Epsilon Indi A I), a wet-Mars analogue. Zarmina's World (Gliese 581 g) is a less-likely candidate for terraforming because of its high gravity. Gatewood (Lalande 21185 I) and Gallifrey (Tau Ceti II) are not candidates for terraforming – both planets already have native non-sapient life.
Consolidated Timeline of the Mars and Venus Terraforming Projects
- Fall 2008
- Mars Terraforming Project ("MTP") begins.
- Dec 2008
- Venus Terraforming Project ("VTP") begins
- Jan 2009
- Port Phobos expansion begins.
- Deimos becomes increasingly hollow as terraforming experiments continue.
- Summer 2009
- Anticipation: Formal proposals for the Venus and Mars Terraforming Projects are put together, voted on, and agreed to.
- Sept 2009
- VTP charter signed, mainly because Venus is almost entirely Senshi run.
- Port Phobos expansion reaches final stage.
- Deimos formally becomes MTP home base.
- Dec 2009
- Port Phobos becomes busiest port in Fenspace.
- Feb 2010
- MTP charter finally signed by all parties. First of five magnetic field projector trial satellites is orbited.
- March 2010
- Kandor-Con: Treaty of Kandor-Con clears the terraforming projects of violations of the Outer Space Treaty.
- First Crystal City is orbited around Venus, and initial deployment of biomodded bacteria to convert atmosphere is made.
- May 2010
- Magnetic field satellite trial finishes. Work started on next-generation versions.
- July 2010
- Carbon Dioxide farming begins in earnest on Venus.
- Ultra High Resolution scans of Mars are completed.
- Mining on Mercury begins.
- Aug 2010
- A downgraded and Handwavium-prohibited NASA (among others) begins chartering various Fen for scientific duties (most famously the crew of Ptichka), as do various documentary companies.
- Sept 2010
- The terraforming projects agree to avoid using Saturn for resources, going to the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud for water reserves.
- Nov 2010
- First of six test comet drops occurs in southern Mars.
- Initial trinity of Crystal Cities completed (Tokyo, Paris, and Seattle).
- Dec 2010
- First Xavier-class magnetosphere generator satellite orbited over Mars. One will be orbited each month until the constellation of 60 plus 10 spares is completed.
- Feb 2011
- Second test comet drop on Mars, this time filmed extensively.
- Mars orbital traffic becomes so extensive that MTP committee places Port Phobos in charge of orbital ATC duties. This is assisted by Starbase 1.
- April 2011
- Initial deployment of oxy-generating bacteria on Mars.
- Thionite first encountered.
- May 2011
- Crystal Kyoto, last of the Crystal Cities, finishes outfitting and is deployed.
- June 2011
- Third Martian test comet drop ends in failure when the comet disintegrates violently in upper Martian atmosphere.
- July 2011
- The Aukland near-miss causes the MTP to halt its test comet drops until it sorts out comet selection procedures and upgrades safety protocols.
- Dec 2011
- MTP resumes test comet drops, but on a six month schedule instead of three.
- March 2012
- Delays in getting resources from the Main Belt causes the Trekkies, Warsies, and Senshi to send investigative missions out to it to assist the Wizards.
- May 2012
- SOS-Con: Operation Great Justice takes resources away from the terraforming projects, slowing them down.
- With the delivery of the 16th Xavier satellite, Mars has a measurable (if very weak) magnetosphere again.
- June 2013
- VTP deploys the first of its solar mirrors.
- Fifth (and last) test comet drop on Mars occurs.
- Sept 2013
- Terraforming projects temporarily halted after attack on Serenity-con.
- Jan 2014
- End of Boskone War. Terraforming projects resumed.
- 2060 - 2070
- Mars reaches the desired atmospheric pressure and surface temperature. The main aquifers have been melted and the basins flooded to the planned depth.
- 2150 - 2300
- Sometime in this range plant and animal life has reached ecopoietic status in the "untamed" parts of Mars. The Martian Terraforming Project is officially over.