The World Today

The World Today
Earth in 2013

Monday, August 29, 2011

Voyage to Hypnale - part 1

I will now be traveling some distance from the Netherlands and into a new, untitled project I've been thinking about. It'd borrow from AHN, Stardust and Wing Commander, but will be something entirely different. It will take place in the Year 10,000. For the moment, I'm just working on the background material, something to frame future stories.

Ok, onward towards the first planet humanity visited. It's also the first planet in the Lalande 21185 System. When humanity did visit its first oxygen-rich world, it was quite a shock.

Geological Survey of Hypnale

Hypnale is the first planet in the Lalande 21185. Discovered in 3013, the planet orbits its star at a distance of 0.11 Astronomical Units. So close that Lalande has robbed the star of its
rotation, leaving it tidally locked. Both day and year take 19.646 standard days to complete. The standard calender would be all but useless on this planet. It has no moons or any natural satellites. Orbiting closer to its star than Mercury does Sol, one might expect the planet to be useless. Not so; some years after its discovery, the planet’s atmosphere was analyzed, proving its has sufficient life to generate a large volume of oxygen.

The planet is larger than Earth in terms of volume and mass. Where its volume is almost twice that of Earth (1.979 Terran Units), its mass is only approximately 1.2 Terran Units. This stems from a low content of heavy metals in the planet, giving it a density of 0.652 Terran Units. Hypnale has plenty of titanium and aluminum to be exploited. This would prove a treasure trove, if not for the fact th at Luna alone provides more than enough of these light elements for human consumption. The planet has a small metallic core, surrounded by a mantle of silicates proportionally larger than Earth’s.

Plate tectonics have grinded to a halt on this ancient world, stopping the recycling process of elements such as carbon dioxide. Given that the world was tidally locked, it is not suspected to ever have been particularly geologically active. Many of the ancient mountain ranges that formed eons ago have erode. Hypnale’s acidic rain does more to erode the rocks and wash the minerals into the ocean than anything on Earth. The soil of Hypnale contains traces of many different types of chloride. Lack of an internal dynamo has also stalled the planet’s EM field. Fortunately, this will not prove a problem as it will take a span of time longer than our species will ever exist for the atmosphere to be stripped away by the star’s paltry stellar winds.

Oceans cover 77% of the planet’s surface. Do to the content of the planet’s atmosphere, hydrochloric acid exists within the ocean at trace levels. The acidity gives the ocean a slight electric current, not enough to kill an unprotected human (far more quicker ways to die on Hypnale than electrocution), but it would certainly be felt. Though the planet has virtually no EM field, the currents in the ocean act as a sort of guidance system for marine life. Almost all the life in Hypnale’s oceans have evolved methods of detecting electrical current.

Away from the center of the Sunward Hemisphere, the planet has a copious amount of rain to deal with, especially in the terminator regions. This produces a verdant– a poor choice of words, given that planets on Hypnale are purple to ultraviolet– a purple belt along its terminator, where rainfall is nonstop in some regions, as are storms. As already mentioned, the rain is acidic, forcing plants to have evolve defense mechanisms against it, usually in the form of enzymes that coat the leaves. These enzymes have a few parallels to those that line the stomachs of Terran lifeforms.

This map of the Sunward Hemisphere was not created by me. Don't know the real name, and only have the user name Shevek23 to go on. But, I must give credit where it is due.

These other two are all me.

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