Gibson City

Gibson’s Solar System

Details about the Gibson Solar System, a binary star system in the Perseus Arm, and the human activity occurring within.

The Gibson system was discovered 202 years ago by Fleet Command, the AI in control of Colony Expedition 762 (“The Perseus Pioneers”) after a lengthy search for a suitable colony world.

Gibson is the fourth, and only habitable, planet orbiting the primary of the binary star system PASC-5A1C68. The system contains two stars, 12 planets, two asteroid belts, a total of 120 moons of various sizes, as well as various asteroids, comets, and a distant circumprimary disk.

Historic Fact: PASC is the Perseus Arm Survey Catalog, a star catalog seeded with data available on Earth and expanded greatly by Fleet Command during Colonial Expedition 762’s voyage to, and within, the Perseus Arm. After the colony on Gibson was established, various sky surveys have further added to the catalog.

The system’s age is estimated at 5.3 billion years. The two stars belong to the Intermediate Population I. The primary star of the system, Sterling, is similar to Earth’s sun, but brighter, slightly more massive, and hotter. Its companion, Morgan, is a red dwarf, orbiting Sterling at an average 100 AU.

Sterling: Class: G1V, Luminosity: 1.49, Mass: 1.05, Temperature: 5900K

Morgan: The secondary star of the system is a red dwarf. Class: M2V, Luminosity: 0.054, Mass: 0.4, Temperature=3500K. Average separation from primary: 100 AU, Eccentricity: 0.7, Orbit: 30-170 AU

A Note on Human Activity in the Gibson System

Much of human activity in the system is focused on Gibson. Hundreds of Planetary Observation Satellites orbit the world. There are also a dozen space stations of varying size, the largest of which is a refitted colony ship. There are plans to build newer, and larger, space stations, but they have so far not come to fruition.

The Gibsonians have sent probes to all major and most minor bodies in the system, and visited many. There is a manned research station around Weir. In 191, a prototype mining barge visited the asteroid belts, but it has not been followed up since.

Commercial service is available to the general public; leisure cruises are a popular past-time among certain segments of affluent Gibsonians.

User Comment: Have you ever wondered why we are not all over the system? We have the technology, why do we not set up colonies on Clarke, and Niven? Why haven’t we built a space colony near the rings of Weir? Why are we not mining the Morgan asteroids? And why aren’t we exploring the nearby systems!? We came all the way from Earth, why did we land on one planet and never looked back at the stars? I know why, because THEY do not want us to. THEY are watching. THEY are controlling our government, and our lives. THEY see us as cattle, and you keep your cattle on your ranch. Eventually, THEY will consider us ripe for the slaughter! WAKE UP BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

The Sterling System

  1. Vance. A barren, crater-pocked rocky world with high metal content. Vance may have shifted orbits, there are theories that it was once a more habitable planet, which lost its hydro- and atmosphere due to orbiting so close to Sterling.
    Orbit: 0.19 AU. Diameter: 10692 km. Density: 0.7. Gravity: 0.59. Temperature: 679K.
  2. Anson. A super-earth with high gravity and a trace atmosphere. Anson’s core has not cooled down yet; the planet possesses a significant magnetic field and volcanic activity frequently occurs in many regions. Orbit: 0.36 AU. Diameter: 16740 km. Density: 1. Gravity: 1.31. Temperature: 498K.
  3. Clarke. A desert world with a trace atmosphere, Clarke is known to have been covered by shallow oceans until the recent geological past. It is thought that the higher temperature caused the water to boil off into space instead of being captured at the poles.Orbit: 0.61 AU. Diameter: 8223 km. Density: 0.6. Gravity: 0.39. Temperature: 377K.
  4. Gibson. The only habitable planet in the system is the location of a human colony.
    Orbit 1.03 AU. 2 minor moons (Lyon and Piper). Various artificial satellites and space stations.
  5. Niven. Niven is very similar to Mars in the solar system, though it does not have the characteristic red color of that planet. It possesses a trace atmosphere and significant ice caps at its poles.
    Orbit: 1.63 AU. Diameter: 6086 km. Density: 0.7. Gravity: 0.33. Temperature: 230K. 1 minor moon.
  6. Kindred. A small planet covered entirely of ice. Its atmosphere consists of nitrogen and methane. The relatively high density of Kindred hints at a solid core of rock and iron.
    Orbit: 2.46 AU. Diameter: 5755 km. Density: 0.7. Gravity: 0.32. Temperature: 188K. 1 minor moon.
  7. Weir. A large gas giant, about 30% bigger than Jupiter. It possesses spectacular rings.
    Orbit: 7.11 AU. Gas Giant. Diameter: 183771 km. Large Rings. 4 major moons, 33 minor moons. One manned space station.

The Morgan System

  1. Drake. The only rocky planet in the Morgan system, Drake is too small to retain an atmosphere. It is geologically dead; even so, its surface is not as heavily cratered as its age would suggest. Large fissures, largely filled with now cold lava, criss-cross the surface. It is speculated that Drake collided with another large body with enough force to break the planet apart, but not enough force to disperse the debris, which eventually settled to reform the planet.
    Orbit: 0.16 AU. Diameter: 6212 km. Density: 0.8. Gravity: 0.39. Temperature: 316K.
  2. Belt One. Asteroid Belt. Orbit: 0.31 AU.
  3. Belt Two. Asteroid Belt. Orbit: 0.47 AU.
  4. Foster. Orbit: 1.2 AU. Gas Giant. Diameter: 135574 km. 2 major moons, 18 minor moons.
  5. Kuttner. Orbit: 2.03 AU. Gas Giant. Diameter: 93198 km. 14 minor moons.
  6. Grauman. Orbit: 3.46 AU. Gas Giant. Diameter: 106465 km. Minor Rings. 4 major moons, 15 minor moons.
  7. Reynolds. Orbit: 5.88 AU. Gas Giant. Diameter: 135716 km. Rings. 2 major moons, 25 minor moons.

Some comments:

I’m aiming for a plausible design here, not exact science; I am not an astrophysicist. Still, if anybody spots any gross mistakes, do let me know, please.

One aspect I’d definitely like feedback on is whether naming the stars, planets (and moons of the main planet) after science fiction writers is too cheesy. The in-universe reason is that Fleet Command, the AI who discovered the system, spent its entire journey “reading” (and “watching” TV shows, movies, and so on) and named everything before it woke the humans from cryosleep.

“Anson” is Robert A. Heinlein.

“Lyon” is L. Sprague de Camp.

“Kindred” is Philip K. Dick. I didn’t need a planet called “Dick” in my system. Uranus being the butt of so many jokes taught Fleet Command (and myself) a lesson.

“Grauman” is Stanley G. Weinbaum.

A bunch of omissions, and the use of some first and middle names, are due to “look and feel” reasons. Plus I wanted names that were at least vague enough that Jane and Joe Average wouldn’t make the connection immediately. So no Crichton, Lovecraft, Sagan, or Asimov, for example.

I was tempted to give the asteroid belts proper names. Might still do.

Details of the moons of the gas giants are omitted because a) I haven’t worked on them yet and b) I thought this post was long enough as it stands.

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