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Terraforming projection

A thirty-year projection of terraforming Velara III

"It's an amazing talent, bringing dead worlds to life. But humility and common sense aren't exactly part of the job description."

Terraforming was the process of modifying the environment of a planet or moon to make it habitable for life. In practice, this often meant modifying the world to be more like class M planets. Individuals who oversaw the terraforming process were known as terraformers.

Its converse was bioforming, which is the process of adapting a species biology and anatomy to the planet. (VOY: "Demon")

Process

Terraforming began with selecting a planet which had the right mass, gravity, rate of rotation, and balanced periods of day and night, and which were located in their sun's habitable zone. Federation efforts at terraforming were coordinated by Terraform Command and ensured both that there was no life on the planet, and that it would never naturally occur without outside interference. Terraforming stations would then be established.

Next, water had to be be made available for life in water basins. This could be done using hydraulic landscaping, sometimes with the additional step of filtering and re-oxygenating the subsurface water, or by directing water-rich comets into the planet's surface. If the water was hypersaline (meaning it had incredibly high salt content), portions of it could be desalinated to meet terrestrial and agricultural needs. Then, microorganisms were introduced as the first constituents of the biosphere permitting its atmosphere into self-sustaining oxygen production. As the biosphere expanded, higher order plants were introduced. One of the key metrics of the process being successful was monitoring the amount of vegetation on the planet.

Industrial replicators would allow for manufacture of large volumes of volatile compounds and elements critical for life (Carbon dioxide, Nitrogen, Ammonia, methane, etc). Terraformers accelerated the process; as of 2364, it would only would take around 30 years to build a habitable world, compared to millions or billions of years in nature. (TNG: "The Battle" display graphic, "Home Soil", ENT: "Demons", "Terra Prime")

Terraforming could also be done on a smaller scale to correct an imbalance in a planet's geosphere or climate. For example, in 2370 the USS Enterprise-D participated in re-heating Atrea IV's planetary core, thus permitting the world to continue to harbor life. (TNG: "Inheritance")

History

Pre-Federation

Verteron array

The verteron array on Mars in 2155

In the 2050s, the class D planet Weytahn was terraformed by the Andorian Empire to serve as a colony. The process was apparently completed by 2097. (ENT: "Cease Fire")

Among Humanity's first terraforming projects was Mars in the Sol system. A verteron array located near Utopia Colony would periodically redirect comets such as Burke into the ice caps, releasing trapped carbon dioxide and adding water. By 2155, the planet's atmosphere had been thickened enough that pressure gear was not required for humanoids to survive in the Martian lowlands, although thermal garments and a supply of oxygen were still necessary. (ENT: "Demons", "Terra Prime")

It is unclear to what degree Mars was terraformed at the time of its destruction in 2385, as it still had its distinctive red appearance. (ST: "Children of Mars"; PIC: "Remembrance")

At some point prior to 2367, the reclusive Paxans terraformed a protoplanet in the Ngame Nebula to serve as a new homeworld, far from prying eyes. (TNG: "Clues")

An ancient generation ship, discovered sometime prior to 2380, stored large quantities of a terraforming emulsion that could transform inorganic material into a living ecosystem. It was theorized that this fluid would have been used to terraform the ship's target planet upon arrival, but an unknown calamity disabled the ship and killed its crew before it could arrive, leaving it to drift in space for centuries. (LD: "Moist Vessel")

Federation

One of the United Federation of Planets' first terraforming projects was Caldos, which was terraformed in the 23rd century. The Caldos colony, located in the northern hemisphere, was intended to evoke the Scottish Highlands. The Federation installed a weather control system for controlling the planet's weather, seismic stabilizers for stabilizing the planet's geology, so that the colony did not experience earthquakes, and fusion systems for powering the colony. (TNG: "Sub Rosa")

In 2257, the USS Discovery rapidly terraformed a class 4 moon, Delta 2, by cultivating Prototaxites stellaviatori in order to replenish the vessel's supply of spores. (DIS: "The War Without, The War Within")

Genesis2285

The Genesis planet, shortly after its formation in 2285

In the 2280s, Project Genesis, a team led by Dr. Carol Marcus, developed the Genesis Device, a torpedo that could transform a barren world into a habitable one almost instantaneously by reducing it to subatomic particles, then reassembling them according to the pre-programmed Genesis matrix. So powerful was the device that its detonation during the Battle of the Mutara Nebula in 2285 created a new planet, Genesis, using nothing but material from the Mutara Nebula and the remains of the USS Reliant. While the planet was indeed habitable, it fell apart months later due to the use of protomatter in the Genesis matrix, and the technology was abandoned. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

Professor Gideon Seyetik was among the Federation's most renowned terraformers during the 24th century, having been involved in the transformation of Blue Horizon and New Halana. (DS9: "Second Sight")

Numerous planets were undergoing terraformation in the late-24th century, such as Venus, Browder IV, and Doraf I. Starfleet vessels were sometimes sent on terraforming missions to assist with these efforts. (TNG: "Allegiance", "Unification I", "Second Chances"; DS9: "Past Tense, Part I") The terraforming of Velara III was abandoned in 2364 after sentient "microbrains" were discovered on the planet, who would have been rendered extinct by the continuation of the project. (TNG: "Home Soil")

Examples

Name Status Notes
Atrea IV Completed (2370) A class M planet, while not terraformed per se, it was in the midst of a planetary core cooldown. The USS Enterprise-D participated in re-heating the planet's core, thus permitting the world to continue to harbor life. (TNG: "Inheritance")
Blue Horizon Completed (pre-2369) Terraformed by Professor Gideon Seyetik. He considered its Da Vinci Falls his "crowning glory". (DS9: "Second Sight")
Browder IV In progress (2366) A project that was assisted by the starships USS Hood and USS Enterprise-D in 2366. (TNG: "Allegiance")
Caldos Completed (mid-to-late 23rd century) One of the Federation's first major terraforming projects. Site of Caldos colony, which was intended to evoke the Scottish Highlands. (TNG: "Sub Rosa")
Delta 2 Completed (2257) A class 4 moon rapidly terraformed with Prototaxites stellaviatori in order to replenish the USS Discovery's supply of spores. (DIS: "The War Without, The War Within")
Doraf I In progress (2368) The Enterprise-D was scheduled to undertake a terraforming mission here in 2368. (TNG: "Unification I")
Genesis Completed (2285)
Destroyed (2285)
Created in 2285 by the detonation of the Genesis Device at the end of the Battle of the Mutara Nebula. Though initially habitable, it ultimately destroyed itself later that year as a result of the protomatter used in its creation. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
A location in the Lagana sector In progress (2368) The USS Gandhi undertook a terraforming mission here in 2368. (TNG: "Second Chances")
Mars In progress (2155) As of 2155, conditions on Mars were sufficiently altered to allow Humans to survive on the surface by only having to use small breathing gear and thermal insulation. (ENT: "Demons", "Terra Prime")
Maxia Zeta III Pending (2355) Marked as candidates for terraforming by the USS Stargazer in 2355. (TNG: "The Battle" display graphic)
Maxia Zeta IV
New Halana Completed (pre-2367) Terraformed by Professor Gideon Seyetik for a Halanan colony. He would later describe the final result as a "paradise". (DS9: "Second Sight")
Paxan homeworld Completed (pre-2367) A protoplanet orbiting a T-Tauri type star. Terraformed by the Paxans to serve as their adopted homeworld.
Penthara IV Completed (2368) Terraformed by the Enterprise-D in 2368 to counter an ecological disaster. (TNG: "A Matter of Time")
Regula Completed (2285) While the surface was left desolate, the class D planetoid's interior was partially terraformed as the second phase of Project Genesis. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)
Velara III Abandoned (2364) Site of the Velara Base. Mission abandoned in 2364 after sentient "microbrains" were discovered on the planet, who would have been rendered extinct by the terraforming process. (TNG: "Home Soil")
Venus In progress (2371) Site of several terraforming stations as of 2371. (DS9: "Past Tense, Part I")
Weytahn Completed (pre-2097) A class D planet, terraformed by the Andorian Empire for habitation in the 2050s. (ENT: "Cease Fire")

Technology

The universal atmospheric element compensator might also be a terraforming device.

See also

External links

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