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Virtual characterization before real colonization. A glimpse at how sentient variants will people the stars.

The year is 2560,

A colonization star ship is on its way to a planet in the Trapezium open cluster in the Orion Nebula...discovered over a hundred years earlier. It was characterized to detail a few years later via autonomous systems.

The planet was found to be not quite human 1.0 habitable...but we weren't going to be sending human 1.0's there.

See in 2560, gene editing has been a routine and common practice in human populations going back 540 years. Humans have been thus able to radically conform themselves and their flora and fauna to the environs often far more inhospitable to human 1.0 life than Mars.

Evaluation of a trip to Orion Trapezium planet beta3 had been a 10 year affair once it was stamped as worthy of exploration. 10 years ago in 2350, most people hadn't heard of the system this point in time there are several billion recorded and characterized exo planets and humans have only gotten to a few dozen of them with our advanced but sub light drives.

One of the first steps for exploration plans for new planets is virtual characterization.

In 2550, virtual reality has achieved levels of cognitive integration that would seem like magic to us today. Rather than wear goggles and gloves 2550, virtual experiences are beamed into our brains and bodies using advanced modulating beams that allow us to go into an "inner sleep".

Construction of virtual experiences then proceed via this non invasive cognitive modulation. ESA not only trains interstellar astronauts using these systems but designs and builds the tools and equipment that will be used on a target planet.

Since beta3 had been fully characterized we knew everything about it's surface conditions, atmospheric gas percentages and geological formations. It was sort of like a planet Venus just a bit before the runaway green house took effect so like Venus was in the 2450's could be terraformed and harnessed readily.

Teams of astronauts would go into inner sleep and live on the virtual planet...these astronauts would not be the ones to actually visit the planet....those guys would be genetically enhanced to deal with the initial planetary conditions...or if the conditions were not to extreme could actually be designed to fit the planet ....since transexospermia had been embraced as a valid means of propagating Earth genetic information to remote worlds...even if the genetically "fitted" life forms propagated dramatically departed from what human 1.0's required to survive.

The world had thankfully four centuries ago, shed it's vestiges of bias regarding the equivalence of all sentient cognition regardless of substrate. On the trip to beta3 would be humanX.0's, enhanced helper species (genetically advanced dogs , bears mostly) plain old sentient Androids and even some human 1.0's all working together to ensure the planet could be properly "harnessed" for the needs of at least several populations of Earth sentients.

The particular qualities of beta3 made it open for colonization by multiple sentient forms explaining why so many varieties were involved. In the last 500 years such planets are rare...which the bulk of harnessed systems requiring either all of one type or another (though the Androids being mostly non bio tended to always accompany what ever enhanced biogenetic sentient that was conformed to the target planets environs).

All the details of harnessing the planet were figured out and tested in virtual inner sleep and then 3D printed on the edge of the solar system using materials mined from the ample distal mining facilities dotting the outer dwarf planets.

This star ship in fact was on it's way from Sol System Egress base 5 on Pluto and had been in transit for the last 35 years (ship time). A blink of an eye for all of the sentients on board which being all super mortal did not concern themselves with the 20th century fears of limited life span due to progressing senescence!

What a time of darkness that must have been!


Dom Saint-loth said…
This is the prologue for a scifi novel? If not, it should be...

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