1. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    Justifying an event

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Robert_S, May 13, 2015.

    The situation between the US and an nuclear armed ME antagonist has deteriorated to a point that everyone quietly suspects war is going to come.

    The US, two years prior to the current time sent a staffed mission to Callisto (Jupiter's best moon for a colony).

    The justification I have for this mission is shaky. Originally, it was a show of tech superiority in the hopes it would quell tensions (they were bad, but not as bad as they are now).

    I'm thinking of possibly two other justifications:

    1. The mission was a genuine attempt to start a colony, hopefully to save a few hundred people. The problem arises in that they wouldn't need to go all the way to Jupiter for this. They could start one on Mars (still needs to be distant enough that no one sends nukes to the moon). So, I would need to move the protagonist to Mars.

    2. They detected the protagonist of the story somehow (energy emission, light refraction, whatever) and sent a mission to investigate for something worth exploiting for themselves. This might work because I'm going to have the protagonist reveal to the main character she made a half hearted attempt to conceal herself.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
  2. molliemoogle
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    molliemoogle Member

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    If you wanted to start a colony on Callisto, start one on Callisto. Maybe there's a problem with Mars (changing atmosphere, problem with retrograde orbits, aliens a la War of the Worlds) that will force Callisto to be the next stop (like a haunted truck stop that no one goes to). Maybe they tried and failed, or they tried and died to set up a colony. There's something in the atmosphere that keeps humanity from being able to colonise Mars. Maybe Mars is already way overpopulated with giant man-eating bunny rabbits, with nasty, big, pointy teeth.
     
  3. IronMyrs
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    IronMyrs New Member

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    Well, keep in mind that physics pretty much makes true cloaking in space impossible. You WILL generate heat, and you have to get rid of it through radiation. The fact that space is so big is helpful, but you'll never be able hide from someone who knows where to look.
     
  4. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    And there lies the reason why the US might send a mission to investigate.

    The only way I could see it hidden is if they ensured the energy emissions were diverted anywhere but where intelligent life might be watching from. Similar to our current stealth plane tech that bounces waves in all directions except back toward the radar.
     
  5. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    What if the antagonist was already building a colony on Mars, so the US has to go further?
     
  6. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I like the second one, though you could keep the original premise as a second Cold War strategy to win over the alliance of non-aligned states (the second Third World) -- not that moon colonies alone would be a silver bullet in such a scenario.
     
  7. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    No, the antagonist is Earthbound, like the rest of the human race. The year is 2093. This mission is humankind's greatest cosmic and technological achievement.
     
  8. Lae
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    Lae Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know much about the plot but my immediate thought was that seems an expensive way to win a pissing contest. Colony seems a good idea, but you need to justify it further. like you said why go so far out?

    You could make it so the US is hoping to start a new civilisation because they're pretty sure this one is going to destroyed by the war and they want to be far enough away to avoid getting any fleeing stragglers or counter attacks (anyone fleeing war in a hurry wouldn't be able to pack the supplies to get to them etc, so they're essentially safe until those fleeing folk can regroup and make the journey)
     
  9. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    I agree, until I remember such things as, countries/corporate type work to build the tallest buildings, bigger bombs, "smarter" bombs (that still kill indiscriminately everything in their blast radius, including civilian men, women and children), etc.

    I think I'll go with the investigation into the energy source. In my story, oil is getting hard to find, driving the price up. Only the 1% can afford to drive their own cars. The US sends a mission out to find the source, leaving the other nations behind. This will increase the animosity between it and its ME antagonist and have it's "allies" nudging up for some preferential treatment should the discovery be usable.
     
  10. Spencer Rose
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    Spencer Rose Member

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    Callisto is the most heavily cratered satellite in our solar system. It's almost as big as Mercury, but has only a third of its' mass. It's believed to have huge deposits of water. More interesting (in my opinion) is that it it believed to be one of the few locations (aside from nearby Europa) that was ever capable of having sustained life, largely because it is outside jupiters radiation belt.

    If I were looking for an excuse to justify going to Callisto, it wouldn't be difficult. Without knowing more about your story I'll make some assumptions. Mars has already been reached. Its "moons" Deimos and Phobos aren't good for colonizing or mining for resources, they're asteroids that are believed will one day smash into Mar's surface (not an immediate issue, but still).

    Next viable planet would be Jupiter. Since its a big old ball of gas that's no good, an with 67 "moons" there are plenty to choose from. However, if your going to invest the money it's go big or stay home. So that narrows it down to the big 4: the Galilean moons.

    Io is hot. Like hot hot. Covered in volcanoes and peaks that would make Everest blush, Io just isn't worth it.

    Ganymede is next on this list, not bad with an iron based core, and a thin oxygen based atmosphere. It's magnetosphere is a cause for concern however.

    Europa is next, and is almost the best candidate for exploration/colonization. It too boasts a (thin) oxygen based atmosphere and an incredulity smooth surface, believed to house an internal ocean capable of sustaining life.

    Then we get to Callisto. Believed to have water under its surface, it's outside the radiation belt, outside the magnetosphere. It's believed to have large deposits of organic compounds, silicates, carbon dioxide, etc.

    It's also heavily theorized that it could have once sustained life. So you have an ideal satellite in an ideal location with an air of enigma (and the possibility of ancient tech in a sci fi setting).

    All that combined, I could see plenty of reason to head to Callisto.

    Just my two cents. :)
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2015
  11. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to disagree with the conclusion of "go to Callisto". Being heavily cratered means it gets hit by meteorites. A lot. You know what happened to the dinosaurs when we got hit by a meteorite?
     
  12. CristianOrtt
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    CristianOrtt Member

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    Although it is heavily cratered, that does not mean that it is currently in danger of being hit. True, the dinosaurs were wiped out, but how many years ago was that? Before that, Earth suffered through what was called "The Great Bombardment" or some craziness, where it was struck by thousands of large meteors within a very short period of time, before it could sustain life. Perhaps this is the case with Callisto, but I don't know. Shadowfax has a point and it's worth looking into.

    As far as your justifications go, remember that this is your story and that you have full control over EVERYTHING. There have been plenty of times I've stopped dead in the middle of writing and felt defeated by a single aspect that seemed unjustifiable or out of place, without thinking about changing other things to make it fit or make it appropriate. As Spencer said, it's a very good choice for colonization among Jupiter's moons. And as Lae said, perhaps the moon and Mars are simply too close to Earth for comfort. So "go big or go home" fits the scenario where you simply want to give your colony the best chance. That's my opinion. If I had the technology and know-how to travel AS FAR from a battle-torn planet full of hateful people and a history that keeps repeating itself, then I would. I think that should be your justification. They can, so they do, and it's as far from enemies as possible. This story sounds awfully interesting, so good luck!
     
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  13. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    And we have an atmosphere where most asteroids are vapourized before impact. Callisto doesn't.

    We're not talking geological time-scales here, we have observed impacts on moons in the solar system during the last 50 years. Bear in mind, it doesn't need to be a planet-wide catastrophe; if you'd built a colony at Fukushima, the Tsunami would have got you. The odds of Callisto being struck within the next century are not good for any colonists!
     
  14. CristianOrtt
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    CristianOrtt Member

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    If meteor impact chances are truly a problem at his point in the future for Callisto (look it up and if there's nothing then you are completely in charge of this aspect) then perhaps they can deploy defense satellites into orbit before or after reaching the planet's surface. I still think it wouldn't make a bad story, but a lot of sci-fi readers are hardcore into space, physics, etc. I know a few. They know things, so make sure your facts are straight.
     
  15. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    And keep in mind that a) life survived the apocalypse that killed the dinosaurs and b) not all dinosaurs were killed off. Some still lurk in our swamps and seas.

    Meteors would be a big threat, but life could survive it if protected well enough. Just look at the artillery bombardments of WW1 before the Somme.
     
  16. Spencer Rose
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    Spencer Rose Member

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    This was taken straight from NASA's website

    Callisto is the most heavily cratered object in the solar system. It is thought to be a long dead world, with hardly any geologic activity on its surface. In fact, Callisto is the only body greater than 1000 km in diameter in the solar system that has shown no signs of undergoing any extensive resurfacing since impacts have molded its surface. With a surface age of about 4 billion years, Callisto has the oldest landscape in the solar system.
     
  17. CristianOrtt
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    CristianOrtt Member

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    So from what I gather, it is in no immediate danger of being impacted by meteors, if impact sites are included in "resurfacing". What I'm confused about is that NASA says it's a long dead world. So I'm wondering how it would be a better choice than perhaps Europa for colonization.
     
  18. Spencer Rose
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    Spencer Rose Member

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    In my humble, uneducated opinion, it would be the better choice because it's outside of of Jupiter's radiation belt. That alone makes it a better candidate.

    NASA's assumption that Callisto is a long dead world strikes me as odd and curious simply because Callisto was never classified as a planet (poor Pluto) and we have no physical proof that there was ever life there. It's surface age is impressive, and any civilization that might've been there could've been eradicated over time (any other Mass Effect junkies smell Reapers?) but it's still 4 billion years ago and a bombardment from (something?) would've left some kind of trace, in my opinion. The statement has my eyebrow arched and curiosity peaked.

    Still a very interesting premise, even outside of the use for this particular story arch. Callisto certainly grabbed my attention. Very interesting. >_>

    Would like to see it explored.

    Just my two cents.
     
  19. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Resurfacing applies essentially to volcanic activity.

    Any moon/planet/asteroid will get cratered from meteorite strikes. More so without an atmosphere to burn up the smaller ones. Resurfacing occurs when a magma flow comes out from an active volcano, covers up the craters and smooths them out. I think that "long dead world" refers to its volcanic/geological activity, not that life once existed but doesn't any more. And following that train of thought, I'm guessing (literally!) that volcanic/geological activity is required to give the possibility of the sort of chemical cocktail that might lead to life as we know it, Jim.
     
  20. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    That's why I chose it. I read it's the best candidate for a colony among the jovian moons.

    I can't speak for it ever having life, but there is one huge mark on its surface:

    [​IMG]

    I'd say even in the presence of Jupiter's massive gravity well, we can consider impacts on Callisto rare enough to make a colony happen. Also, since Callisto, like our moon, is tidally locked, that may present a way to minimize the danger by building the colony facing Jupiter.
     
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