Monday, May 13, 2013

Pirates Of The Asteroids

Montage by Emily Lakdawalla. Data from NASA / JPL / JHUAPL / UMD / JAXA / ESA / OSIRIS team / Russian Academy of Sciences / China National Space Agency. Processed by Emily Lakdawalla, Daniel Machacek, Ted Stryk, Gordan Ugarkovic.

This cool montage shows most of the various asteroids, moonlets and comets imaged by spacecraft (Vesta is excluded, because it is so much larger than everything else). A tiny sampling of the multitude of worlds amongst which Evening's Empires is set, for most of it takes place in the asteroid belt:
More than ten thousand gardens and habitats constructed from materials mined from rocks and comets orbited within in the main belt; there were more than a million and a half rocks with a diameter of more than a kilometre. A few, like Vesta and Pallas and Hygiea, had diameters of several hundred kilometres; Ceres was almost a thousand kilometres across. There were cratered rubble-piles blanketed in deep layers of dust and debris. There were mountains of nickel-iron, stony mountains of pyroxene, olivines and feldspar. There were rocks rich in tarry carbonaceous tars, clays and water ice. Some orbited in loose groups, or in more closely associated families of fragments created by catastrophic shatterings of parent bodies, but most traced solitary paths, separated by an average distance twice that between the Earth and the Moon, everything moving, everything constantly changing its position relative to everything else.
That's the territory in which ´╗┐Gajananvihari Pilot searches for his lost ship and family. As in the other novels in the Quiet War universe, habitations are either heavily modified or completely artificial, gardens and world cities and wildernesses laden with the vast wreckage of fifteen hundred years of history and teeming with all kinds of people. Some of them are barely human.  Some are, yes, pirates.

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