Mercury, the solar auven

As we know, Mercury represents heat itself, and if quantities of names can evoke its appearance and the conditions prevailing on its surface, "desert hell" is what suits it best. Rocky dimensions close (40% larger), as if appearing on the moon, this planet is also too close to the star to offer life conditions even after terraforming. Planet dead and burned on its illuminated face, covered with fine dust resulting from the fall of innumerable meteorites, with a non-existent geological activity, a weak magnetic field (1% of that of the earth), an atmosphere so tenuous that it is almost absent, minimums below -200 ° C. on its part in the shadows, Mercury, the messenger of the gods, because it seems so fast in its nocturnal race to the ancient observers, is the "hot corpse" of the solar system. To install bases there to live would have been absurd.

However, researchers had long considered to precisely examine its surface and, after Mariner 10 who flew over in 1974, several automated missions during the twenty-first century and the following studied, still on its protected side of the sun, the topography and composition soil. The extreme differences had given this surface a desert appearance with a large sandy layer resulting from the crushing of billions of micrometeorites and the crumbling of the surface layers (regolite). Only the absence of wind prevented the displacement of its crystalline deposits. The presence of many minerals led to the same desire of the industries to settle there, and it is a consortium established in 2212, the Mercurian Prospection Co., which undertook to readapt the systems used on the moon, crossed with the technologies developed in beginning of the colonization of Venus, which allowed to send a station, then prefabricated modules, and many mobile bases, mounted on wheels, the "Mertrekkers", in fact extraction stations equipped with all the necessary arrangements, which moved in order to avoid the day, (427 ° C in full sun, in the Caloris basin in "aphelion" (at noon).), from site to site. Fixed firing points, but deserted by the modules, an accelerating ramp, were able to send in space millions of tons of refined raw materials agglomerated in compact masses.

In 2458, Mercurian annual production was half that of the Moon, under relatively close conditions. The slow rotation of the planet, close to 2 months terrestrial, allow the mobile bases of beings durably on the spot to make profitable their exploitation. Then, subjected to the extreme heat all the infrastructures remained on places suffer considerable damage. Even if the rotation of Mercury is not locked by gravitational tide with the Sun, its rotation period is coupled with its orbital revolution period. Mercury rotates one and a half times in each orbit. As a consequence of this 3: 2 resonance, a year on Mercury (from sunrise to sunrise) has a duration of 96 Earth days, its "day" of about 58 days, with periods of higher temperatures due to its slightly pronounced elliptical orbit.

Its relief was surprisingly flat, carved millions of years ago by large lava flows giving plains that the regolith has covered. The only reliefs, not always eroded, were those of the most recent impact craters, hardly more than one thousand meters of altitude. At the poles, however, in the areas in the center of the craters, the temperature remains between -165 and -173 ° C., allowing the presence of a light icy layer, unprecedented traces of carbon dioxide on this world Faustien. Automated and basic machines have taken up residence there very early. However most of the water consumed on site comes from mobile greenhouses, and closed circuit recuperators on all inhabited modules. Some recuperators were also installed to capture the 15% of the oxygen present in the tenuous atmosphere.

But thanks to the titanium produced on site and especially to the new diamond microlayers used in the nano-components industry, it was possible to build fixed structures with large solar panels. Large solar stations were built in most plains and craters. Local production, due to the multiplication of photo receptor surfaces, quickly exceeded billions of Kw. And in fact the local production was stored in the fusion piles which were then exported to the earth and Venus. The only "tourist" site on the planet was built in Antoniadi Ridge, at the foot of the impressive cliffs of 630 meters high, extending over 450 km and resulting from the compression of the planetary crust during its progressive cooling there are millions of years. For the rest, the mercurial population remained very weak: Even in 3380, during the busiest period of activity, it did not exceed 250,000 people. The main advantage of the planet was that it offered a gravity similar to the earth due to an extremely massive ferrous core for its small size.

Thus, when the settlers finished their week, and for some their day of work at land standards, they came to live in the domes below the isolated areas of the sun in the polar craters. These domes were lined at their top with curved glass lenses, which when the sun's razor-light hit them, focused on collecting masts, turning these thermal rays into energy for the entire dome, as well as a source appreciable luminous. The last domes built on the slopes of the "mountains", crater ridges, had biotopic terrains, with many plant and animal species minor to create the least stressful living conditions possible. A trip to the Earth was always long, often it was the Venusians who were the first source of its settlement and residence at the end of life.