Jump to content

What's in the Trappist system?


clarence

Recommended Posts

It's almost too good to be true from a sci-fi point of view: seven planets orbiting a star, all of them cobbled together in the habitable zone. It's such a perfect fit for so many campaigns and settings, you almost think it was created just to make storytellers happy. 

So, creating a setting, what would you make out of this array of habitable planets?

1683589267_frostbyteloggaFsvarttiny2.jpg.22ebd7480630737e74be9c2c9ed8039f.jpg   FrostByte Books

M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, clarence said:

It's almost too good to be true from a sci-fi point of view: seven planets orbiting a star, all of them cobbled together in the habitable zone. It's such a perfect fit for so many campaigns and settings, you almost think it was created just to make storytellers happy. 

So, creating a setting, what would you make out of this array of habitable planets?

Isn't that where they went to film Firefly?

 

 

n.b.  :   ;)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My thought exactly : ) But it seems sunlight is a bit different:

"The red dwarf -- which would loom 10 times larger than the Sun in our sky -- would be a "deep crimson" shading into a salmon-like colour.

"The view would be beautiful -- you would have about 200 times less light that from the Sun on Earth at midday"

"It would be like the end of a sunset."

Now, what if intelligent beings evolved on all of them? Being so close to each other, inter-planet communication would be possible as soon as they invented radio. How would that affect society?

  • Like 2

1683589267_frostbyteloggaFsvarttiny2.jpg.22ebd7480630737e74be9c2c9ed8039f.jpg   FrostByte Books

M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

Link to comment
Share on other sites

N.B. -- If they evolved there, the light would be "natural" to their eyes.  It would be their "white," and ours would seem far-too-blue (and too intense, of course!).

7 hours ago, clarence said:

Now, what if intelligent beings evolved on all of them? Being so close to each other, inter-planet communication would be possible as soon as they invented radio. How would that affect society?

I would be utterly shocked if the life on each planet was at comparable stages... all developing radio at the same time?  No, not happening... except in a pulpy, let's-be-ascientific-for-the-sake-of-good-story-or-game sort of way.  Personally, I have a pretty narrow band of "suspension of disbelief" on my sci-fi; unless it's explicitly a "science fantasy" / Weird Science / etc setting, I can only take my Incorrect Science in small doses...  :-P

Assuming the Earth as a model, we have somewhere from 2 billion to 3.5 billion years from the beginning of life to mulitcellular organisms, about another billion of oceanic life, hundreds of millions of years of "ancient" life, about 1 million years of "human-ish" life, 45K years of Cro-Magnon-style ("early modern") humans with 10K-20K "technological" years (tools as a major lifestyle-shaper that began moving us away from small family bands roving around).

All culminating in about 400 years of telescopy & 50 years of useful radio, before the advent of space flight.

I cannot believe these processes would overlap on multiple worlds in such a way as to have the few centuries of possible pre-spaceflight communication be even-vaguely close in time:  while one planet is achieving spaceflight, another will be in their "dinosaur age" and a third will be stuck in the "biotic soup" phase, another will have evolved to "trans-human" (erm... trans-alien?) stage and be moving on from planetary existence, etc...

YMMV, of couse!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Xenos-Paranoia (violent) to a mild form of Xena-Phobic. Or anywhere in between. 

Jack Campbell has written some very insightful books on interactions between humans and aliens. In his books, Humans have been alone in their part of space for hundreds of years (In space) and developed into two societies, a democracy vs. a corporate/dictatorship. Unbeknown to humans there is a second galactic species, hidden from humans attempting to ferment the destruction of the human species, by war between humans. Then humans meet the bear-cows, an extremely xenon-paranoid  race with herd instincts to immediately kill all possible carnivore (?) species to protect themselves (herbivore?). Then they meet a third alien species, wolf-spiders, which are scary, because that is what they resemble a combination of 2 species considered ancient enemies of humans for thousands of years. Yet are ancient (?), civilized (?) willing to help (?) and have a pleasant scent that appeals to humans. 

Millions of years earth species (humans?) have depended on five senses to survive. Sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch. Our reactions quite often are based on those senses to survive. That which is different is to be considered a threat. Even today different is threatening in aspect to many people, skin color, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

I think a Solar System with 7 habitable planets, each with a distinct species, would be racked by periodic wars and/or genocides. Similar to what has happened on our planet, such as the American Indian, Jews, Africans and hundreds (thousands?) of different humans species and other earth species. And is still going on.

David Brin in his series “Uplift”, proposes a civilization of Millions of years and of a society with thousands of sapient species, ruled by the most ancient of these, values sapient species. Yet has no qualm of genetic manipulation of younger species to school/insert them into galactic society.

So with that for background, I see one of three types of Societies/Races developing:

A single sapient species, controlling the Trappist System, with any other sapient species either destroyed through genocide, or subjected for their differences or with other species non-existent.

Multiple sapient species developing at the same time and meeting in space at the same time and/or subjecting/destroying lesser technological species in order to gain dominance.

Ancient/Ancient species through a rule of law subjecting other species to their view of civilization with equivalent rewards and punishments. Such an Ancient species would probably consider all sapience of some importance, although maybe only after some modification.

As a writer, writing a story along a similar vein, I would also appreciate feed back.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, scientifically it is problematic to have intelligence evolving at the same time on all seven planets. It's highly unlikely to happen naturally. So, how can the odds for it be improved? Perhaps if the planets were "seeded" at the same time, either by a comet breaking up or a high-tech alien species passing by? The aliens might pass through once in a while, curating the evolutionary process (similar to Clarke's 2001). This way, all planets can reach the age of telescopes and radios at roughly the same time. 

With a more natural seeding from a comet, evolution will be more haphazard. With a bit of luck, intelligent life will emerge on three, but tech levels will vary a lot. One species can be TL zero, another in the age of early space exploration, and the third a "trans-alien" (excellent word, g33k!). 

Regarding the aggressiveness of aliens, I think we often make the rather dystopic mistake of seeing humans as "role models." But not all intelligent beings will carry the same semi-destructive combination of hatred and love as we do. I think Larry Niven's Puppeteers are good examples of how to develop peaceful aliens that still controls their surroundings.

Here's a SETI scientists take on the system:

https://www.inverse.com/article/28268-seth-shostak-trappist1-intelligent-life

1683589267_frostbyteloggaFsvarttiny2.jpg.22ebd7480630737e74be9c2c9ed8039f.jpg   FrostByte Books

M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With the star being so low in mass some of those worlds would be tidally locked, with one side facing the star. If you have a nice thick atmosphere circulating on some of these tidally locked planets you can keep some semblance of warmth even on the dark side. 

  • Like 1
http://www.basicrps.com/core/BRP_quick_start.pdf A sense of humour and an imagination go a long way in roleplaying. ;)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Ethereal said:
  • Jack Campbell has written ... 
  • Millions of years earth ... That which is different is to be considered a threat ... would be racked by periodic wars and/or genocides ...
  • David Brin in his series “Uplift” ...

So with that for background, I see one of three types of Societies/Races developing:

  • A single sapient species ...
  • Multiple sapient species developing ...
  • Ancient species ...

As a writer, writing a story along a similar vein, I would also appreciate feed back.

While it's interesting to look at some of the exemplars from existing sci-fi, and our own history, I think it's a mistake to consider those as a "comprehensive" catalog of possibilities.

I think a deeper consideration of species' drives would be beneficial, and lead to entirely non-human patterns of behavior.

A large "apex predator" for example might become oddly pacific as it evolves to a high civilization:  with no evolved fear, the "fight-or-flight" mechanism and fear-of-other / fear-of-whats-different would be absent.  Eat when hungry, but mostly just "chillax."  The only "threat" would be large-scale food shortages, and intelligent cooperation is the best way to avoid/prevent THAT (pastoral herding would be the early civilization); so... pacifism FTW!  I am reminded of some stories I heard a few years ago, from an older man who grew up in Banff (a little resort town in the Rocky Mountains):  today, everyone is incredibly bear-phobic and public-safety officials respond instantly to bear-sightings; but he used to regularly see bears as he walked to/from school, and says that more than once had to physically shove a bear aside, so he could open a gateway or similar.  Town lore records that one bear used to regularly come into a hotel lobby and get warm in front of a fireplace, before continuing his rounds ... pacifism FTW!

Or take a driving curiosity:  Your species is "different?"  Your species is "other?"  COOL!  Can we set up an embassy in EVERY SINGLE TOWN ???  And how many of your folk can we entice to visit US?!?    What?  War??!?  Uhhhhh ... why?  yeahNO!

Or a fully-sessile species, leading to absolutely zero "territorial imperative."

Etc ...

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Conrad said:

With the star being so low in mass some of those worlds would be tidally locked, with one side facing the star. If you have a nice thick atmosphere circulating on some of these tidally locked planets you can keep some semblance of warmth even on the dark side. 

One reference said IIRC that they thought the 2 closest planets are tidelocked.

I don't know that I have confidence in ANY of our predictive models' abilities in such an odd environment; even a thick atmosphere, across the epochs, might not suffice... or, the temperature-differentials might be enough that even a thin atmosphere is driven to near-constant winds (hot, high winds from the brightside, cooling and dropping and driving low, cold winds from the dark-side, in a perpetual cycle).  Given that we CAN make a reasonable case for many scenarios, and CANNOT prove any of them as "true" (or false)... that frees us to use whatever suits our need!  :D

Even if the darkside is too cold & the lightside too hot, the temperate band could well be much larger than we think -- the very-close sun will cover enough of the sky to produce a rather-large edge-zone.  Add in some mountains/etc casting long shadows (and recall that all those shadows are permanent!) and much more of the surface may be usable than we might at first expect...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, clarence said:

The aliens might pass through once in a while, curating the evolutionary process (similar to Clarke's 2001). This way, all planets can reach the age of telescopes and radios at roughly the same time. 

With a more natural seeding from a comet, evolution will be more haphazard. With a bit of luck, intelligent life will emerge on three, but tech levels will vary a lot. One species can be TL zero, another in the age of early space exploration, and the third a "trans-alien" (excellent word, g33k!). 

Regarding the aggressiveness of aliens, I think we often make the rather dystopic mistake of seeing humans as "role models." But not all intelligent beings will carry the same semi-destructive combination of hatred and love as we do. I think Larry Niven's Puppeteers are good examples of how to develop peaceful aliens that still controls their surroundings.

Here's a SETI scientists take on the system:

https://www.inverse.com/article/28268-seth-shostak-trappist1-intelligent-life

I think a "progenitor" or "curator" race (presumably, the first in the system to evolve; but making them pan-galactic & hints that they similarly "curated" the Earth would be fun, too!) has a great potential.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

From what I have read, only 3 of those planets are actually in the habitable zone. But I'd say it would be interesting to imagine a system with 3 live-bearing planets.

TRAPPIST1 is also a lot older than our sun, if I am not mistaken (most red dwarves are). So more time to have developed life, even intelligent life. Then again, we don't know what the chances for the development of either are.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, g33k said:

I think a "progenitor" or "curator" race (presumably, the first in the system to evolve; but making them pan-galactic & hints that they similarly "curated" the Earth would be fun, too!) has a great potential.

 

Who's to say they haven't.  hovering_ufo_by_kitrakaya.gif  http://www.deviantart.com/art/Hovering-UFO-54098685 . With all the reports of UFO's over the last hundred years and possibly for hundreds of thousands of years we might not be alone.  http://www.ufos-aliens.co.uk/cosmicspecies.htm  :P  Not to mention with the number of stars that Scientists say are out there,  http://www.livescience.com/56634-how-many-stars-are-in-the-universe.html    chances are very good that Murphy's law might apply. "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." or "Anything that can happen, will happen." More and more scientists are beginning to consider the concept  that the universe exists because we are here.    http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2017/01/the-conscious-universe-a-radical-theory-the-universe-exists-because-we-are-here-view-video.html   (Daily Galaxy is a subscription service to keep updated on current new discovery's and theroies in science).     The possibilities are endless.   :lol:

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes @Thot you're probably right. I've seen both numbers, but media isn't always that good at presenting scientific discoveries.
 
Here's a take with three intelligent species:
 
The TL8 predators of Trappist 1c encounter a species of intelligent TL zero herbivores on their first visit to 1d. But their biochemistry is incompatible: the predators can't eat these herbivores. Total failure. But they discover that they share Gods (a species of trans-aliens (TL11) living on Trappist 1f, that lost their spark after a thousand years without discovering FTL). 
 
The herbivores pick up the tech of the predators quickly and manage to enter the space age in just a decade. Funnily enough, when they arrive at 1c, they can eat the grass and herbs. 
 
The predators don't care: meat eaters never really care about grazers, unless they can be nibbled on. 
 
A decade later, the herbivores have multiplied on 1c so much that they compete for the grass. The indigenous herbivores, that the predators live on, are close to extinction. Famine ensue for the predators. 
 
Now in control of the meat supply, the 1d herbivores enslave the predators. A few hundred meat eaters flee into space. 
 
Landing on Trappist 1f, they encounter their old gods. Shocking at first, the predators soon discover the gods taste really good. Weakened by their existential boredom, the trans-aliens can't protect themselves and soon go extinct. The predators tries to grasp the TL11 technology. 
 
Now, the campaign starts: herbivores vs. predators in an inter-planetary saga of revenge, slavery, war and an occasional surviving god. 
  • Like 1

1683589267_frostbyteloggaFsvarttiny2.jpg.22ebd7480630737e74be9c2c9ed8039f.jpg   FrostByte Books

M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now, the campaign starts: herbivores vs. predators in an inter-planetary saga of revenge, slavery, war and an occasional surviving god. 

Sounds like the beginning of an interesting adventure. You could also throw in the mix, Humans, An Omnivore. Competitors or Allies? Come to find out what is here in one of their first journeys to explore. Here to find life, subjugate, colonize or to loot the treasures of Trappist 1? Will they interfere or just observe?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Thot said:

From what I have read, only 3 of those planets are actually in the habitable zone. But I'd say it would be interesting to imagine a system with 3 live-bearing planets.

TRAPPIST1 is also a lot older than our sun, if I am not mistaken (most red dwarves are). So more time to have developed life, even intelligent life. Then again, we don't know what the chances for the development of either are.

Given that we have exactly ONE stellar/planetary system to examine closely, with exactly ONE "goldilocks" planet, I'm actually a bit dubious about our ability to define "the habitable zone."  I think our analysis is heavily based on unexamined assumptions from our single data-point, and I suspect there are factors we've never considered, both positive and negative, modulating what is and is not "habitable".  To take just one (already known) example -- a nominally-too-cold planet may have internal warming, and surface ice over an aquasphere.  Hypothetically, a tidelocked planet could have liquid water somewhere on the darkside.  From sci-fi (star trek TOS) we can put something Horta-like on an inner planet.  Etc.

So, I'm more than willing to hypothesize (for the sake of a Good Game!) that more than 3 of these planets hold life.

On the downside, it looks likely that severe solar-flaring, and various forms of radiation, will (realistically) preclude virtually all life (to which I plug my ears and go "LA-la-LA-la-LAAA-LAAAAAAAAAA !!  I can't heeeear youuuuuu!" really loud.)

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 To take just one (already known) example -- a nominally-too-cold planet may have internal warming, and surface ice over an aquasphere.  Hypothetically, a tidelocked planet could have liquid water somewhere on the darkside.  From sci-fi (star trek TOS) we can put something Horta-like on an inner planet. :)

Or possibly a a planet with an internally locked atmosphere, similiar to Edgar Rice Burroughs Pellucidor, with a light source (Sun/Lava?) within a delicate balance of matter/dark matter? Gravity caused on the inner surface by the spinning of the planet. And additional warmth from the planet receiving extra heat from Trappist Sun on the outer surface and being closer than the Goldilocks zone? Or an extra thick planetary surface farther outside the Goldilocks zone, providing insulation against heat loss?

On the downside, it looks likely that severe solar-flaring, and various forms of radiation, will (realistically) preclude virtually all life (to which I plug my ears and go "LA-la-LA-la-LAAA-LAAAAAAAAAA !!  I can't heeeear youuuuuu!" really loud.)  :lol:

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/24/2017 at 8:47 AM, RosenMcStern said:

Be careful: NASA stated that there could be water in the liquid state on these worlds, but nothing guarantees that it actually is there.

However, being it a Trappist star system, there must certainly be beer...

As it should be!

Check out our homebrew rules for freeform magic in BRP ->

No reason for Ars Magica players to have all the fun!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, Ethereal said:

Or possibly a planet with an internally locked atmosphere, similiar to Edgar Rice Burroughs Pellucidor, with a light source (Sun/Lava?) within a delicate balance of matter/dark matter? Gravity caused on the inner surface by the spinning of the planet. And additional warmth from the planet receiving extra heat from Trappist Sun on the outer surface and being closer than the Goldilocks zone? Or an extra thick planetary surface farther outside the Goldilocks zone, providing insulation against heat loss?

Some of these move to the realm of "not science" for me.  I can play a "not science" game -- fantasy, "Weird Science," pulp, etc -- but I need a genuine "sci fi" setting to not actively violate known science (for example, a planet with an occupied inner surface having "outward gravity" from rotation -- the components in the protoplanetary disk would have flown apart, rather than stabilizing or solidifying).

OTOH, once we add an ancient "progenitor" race, many things that can't "naturally" occur might instead be engineered with ClarkeTech ...  :D

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Ethereal said:

Sounds like the beginning of an interesting adventure. You could also throw in the mix, Humans, An Omnivore. Competitors or Allies? Come to find out what is here in one of their first journeys to explore. Here to find life, subjugate, colonize or to loot the treasures of Trappist 1? Will they interfere or just observe?

Perhaps a sleeper ship full of humans enters the Trappist system? The ship's AI only wake a few explorers at a time (ie. the characters), replacing dead ones as needed. Mission objective is to find a habitable planet, but instead they have ended up in a hornet nest.

Or it might be more fun to avoid humans altogether, and let the players pick any side they want - even playing depressed gods if they want to. 

  • Like 2

1683589267_frostbyteloggaFsvarttiny2.jpg.22ebd7480630737e74be9c2c9ed8039f.jpg   FrostByte Books

M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of these move to the realm of "not science" for me. And I like Science-Adventure. :) However, since Mythras Space is primarily a science type, D100 setting, I see it as more likely that Clarence with stick with that. With some of the old Gods, hidden in some type asteroid/installation watching!!! :D

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Arthur C. Clarke.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 24/02/2017 at 5:12 PM, g33k said:

One reference said IIRC that they thought the 2 closest planets are tidelocked.

I don't know that I have confidence in ANY of our predictive models' abilities in such an odd environment; even a thick atmosphere, across the epochs, might not suffice... or, the temperature-differentials might be enough that even a thin atmosphere is driven to near-constant winds (hot, high winds from the brightside, cooling and dropping and driving low, cold winds from the dark-side, in a perpetual cycle).  Given that we CAN make a reasonable case for many scenarios, and CANNOT prove any of them as "true" (or false)... that frees us to use whatever suits our need!  :D

Even if the darkside is too cold & the lightside too hot, the temperate band could well be much larger than we think -- the very-close sun will cover enough of the sky to produce a rather-large edge-zone.  Add in some mountains/etc casting long shadows (and recall that all those shadows are permanent!) and much more of the surface may be usable than we might at first expect...

I forgot. Non rotating planets are going to have some trouble generating a magnetic field. Over a long time even a small star will generate a solar wind that could do some damage to the atmosphere of a tidally locked world, and without a magnetic field this is the most probable outcome. :(

  • Like 1
http://www.basicrps.com/core/BRP_quick_start.pdf A sense of humour and an imagination go a long way in roleplaying. ;)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎2‎/‎24‎/‎2017 at 9:22 AM, g33k said:

I think a "progenitor" or "curator" race (presumably, the first in the system to evolve; but making them pan-galactic & hints that they similarly "curated" the Earth would be fun, too!) has a great potential.

 

Dare we make any assumptions whatsoever about the motives of these "curators"? If they alter evolutionary processes, they probably have a purpose for doing so, even if only for their own amusement. They may have an idea of what a curated sapience might want to do and be, but they might not care. If they visit rarely (once every 3,000 years or so), every so often they will come back to see smoking craters where the world they wanted to visit used to be.

A less pleasant alternative is beings who fear other sapiences and visit planets every so often in a futile attempt to prevent them from evolving into something that could conceivably threaten them. These would be the "bad guys" on an alien invasion-style campaign -- peoples who commit genocide because it's the only means of self-preservation that they know.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

Dare we make any assumptions whatsoever about the motives of these "curators"? If they alter evolutionary processes, they probably have a purpose for doing so, even if only for their own amusement. They may have an idea of what a curated sapience might want to do and be, but they might not care. If they visit rarely (once every 3,000 years or so), every so often they will come back to see smoking craters where the world they wanted to visit used to be.

Well, it's a sci-fi game, so we "dare" set the motivations to be anything we like!  :D  There could even be multiple "ancient curator" cultures, with wildly-divergent motivations... THOSE ones are startlingly-altruistic, they just want more smart species in the universe with which to co-exist; THESE ones are "Predator" style hunters, trying to breed better game to hunt; and THIS one just wants to g;thiktik all of the cirG'obt possible, and nobody (human or alien) can figure out what that means, in any meaningful way (but nobody really tries to bother them about it, as they seem to be able to create and eliminate black holes of arbitrary mass, seemingly at whim).

 

2 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

A less pleasant alternative is beings who fear other sapiences    ...    peoples who commit genocide because it's the only means of self-preservation that they know.

It's one of the distinct (if less-popular) themes in sci-fi & speculation.

I don't remember author/title of the novel I read some years ago, but it used the idea (not invented by the author, just expressed by him) that all the (several, IIRC) local spacefaring cultures (no FTL, but near-c spacedrives) were paranoid in the extreme:  they felt there was no way to guarantee that any given race wasn't either horrifically aggressive&xenophobic (or as paranoid as them), and that even a one-in-a-million chance of being wiped out was too high; so they preemptively wiped out all newcomer-species before they could become threats (and one another if they could discover their home systems and attack without fear of reprisal).  Humanity, having bled radio-signals into outer space for over a century, got hit.

The last quarter (or so) of the novel was filled with doomed heroics, as varying masses travelling at .95c repeatedly hammered everything that could be technological or life-sustaining (a very few small research teams, disconnected from one another, were all that was left at the end).  Lots of intellectual interest, but the RP "campaign" potential was nil. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...