Terraforming is the process of modifying the environment of a planet or moon. The purpose is to make an uninhabitable planet or moon suitable for species and other lifeforms. Terraforming can change the atmosphere, topography, temperature, and ecology.
Humans have terraformed many planets and moons in the galaxy into Earth-like Worlds. This involves the use of Atmospheric Processors and Land Enrichment Systems. The Sirius Corporation and WorldCraft are major players in the terraforming business. A number of planets and moons, such as Rho Phoenicus 8 a, are actively being terraformed as of the 34th century. While in most cases these bodies are still decades away from becoming Earth-like Worlds, their systems usually have a Terraforming economy and local stations will demand the types of Commodities necessary to advance the process.
In systems where the population size, available resources, or planetary conditions are insufficient to support a full terraforming program, artificial biospheres may be built instead to adapt small parts of a planetary surface for humans.
The term "terraforming" was first coined by Jack Williamson in the scifi story Collision Orbit which was published in Astounding Science Fiction in 1942.
The early terraforming tended to use genetically engineered biological processes that would change the atmosphere of a suitable world over many decades to a breathable atmosphere using energy captured from the star via biological processes. This process was both slow, expensive (it was made up of many stages) and only a narrow set of worlds were suitable. The idea of doing direct chemical conversion on a vast scale was there, but not practical because of the vast power requirements.
In 3306, Sirius Atmospherics, a division of Sirius Corporation, announced it had developed revolutionary new terraforming techniques tailored to Ammonia Worlds. Project lead Dr. Maximilian North began testing these procedures on Ammonia Worlds in the Coalsack Nebula as part of Sirius Atmospherics' partnership with the Alliance to colonise and exploit the region, but found that simulations had overestimated the effectiveness of the procedures and converting ammonia-based atmospheres would take longer than expected.
These are some terraformed planets in the galaxy:
- Mars - Sol system
- Makunouchi - Bento system
- Boeotia - Aganippe system
- Eotienses A 3 - Eotienses system
- Capitol, Conversion, and New World - Achenar system
- Argent's Claim (formerly New California) - Alioth system
- New America - Quince system
- Rhea 3 - Rhea system
- Founders World - Shinrarta Dezhra system
- Azeban - Eranin system
- Luca L (V4-26) - Tanmark system
- Homeland - Beta Hydri system
- Secular 1 - PLX 695 system
- Biggs Colony - Altair system
- Xelabara 1 - Xelabara system
- Guy A 4 - Guy system
- Mirnipli - Tangaroa system
- Hanandroo - Tarach Tor system
- Cubeo 3 - Cubeo system
- Emerald - Cemiess system
- Chango - I Bootis system
- Apasam - Chi Herculis system
- 9 Aurigae C 2 and C 3 - 9 Aurigae system
- Baker - Opala system
- Henry O'Hare's Haven - Summerland system
- Sothis A 5 and A 6 - Sothis system
- Kausalya 3 - Kausalya system
- 78 Ursae Majoris B 3 - 78 Ursae Majoris system
- Taylor Colony - Tau Ceti system
- Olgrea C 7 - Olgrea system
- New Babylon - Carcinus system
Many planets, and a smaller number of moons, are marked as candidates for terraforming. These worlds are located in their sun's habitable zone and can potentially be terraformed to be suitable for human life. Discovering and mapping these planets using the Full Spectrum System Scanner and Detailed Surface Scanner yields higher payouts from Universal Cartographics than non-terraformables.
The following Terrestrial Planet classes are known to produce terraforming candidates:
- High Metal Content Worlds
- Rocky Bodies
- Water Worlds
- The Codex claims that some Ammonia Worlds can be terraforming candidates, but this is currently incorrect.
- Science Fiction Citations: terraforming"
- Tourist Beacon 0208
- Tourist Beacon 0176
- Data taken from Tourist Spot Beacon 0146, Exioce system
- GalNet: Explorers Needed for Coalsack Nebula Project
- GalNet: Coalsack Nebula Project Gathers Ammonia Worlds Data
- GalNet: Coalsack Nebula Terraforming Project Stalls