From the Log Files of William Bartlett
We were 2 days out and about 50 million miles away from the planet when the last of the colonists were revived. A general meeting was held after Captain Travis’ welcoming speech with the Historian as moderator. Among other things and after much wrangling it was finally decided to call the planet Alchibah. Too many names were suggested for any other name to get enough general support. One of the colonists objected to calling the planet Alchibah because we would be getting it confused with the star. The Hist told him that if anyone talked about landing on Alchibah or exploring it…. the planet was probably what they had in mind.
Total surface area 152.2 million square miles. Land Area 43 million square miles. About 15 % of which was in the north or south polar regions and hence unsuitable for colonization. The two major continents together held about 85% of the land mass the rest distributed as islands, mostly in the tropic and mid latitudes. Excluding mountainous elevations there would appear to be some 30 million square miles of land area suitable for consideration in choosing a landing site.
Atmospheric Pressure was 87% Earth Standard. This when combined with the slightly higher than Earth oxygen ratio meant that we should experience no problems existing outsides without suits if the biological factors weren’t too hostile. The fact that the oxygen content was high and spectral analysis indicated that the plant life had a chlorophyll based chemistry, were both positive signs. Exactly how close it was to what we were used to could only be determined after landing but at least the land area showed a lot of green.
The planets’ cloud cover seemed much like the Earths’. There were swirling patterns showing circulation. The only electrical activity we picked up were random bursts typical of thunderstorms and lightning. The rain shower indications meant that fresh water should be plentiful. We would need to determine if it was contaminated with heavy minerals or biologicals.
Once we hit orbit very high resolution photos will be streaming into our database and all colonists will need to help in evaluating them. Even from our present distance we were able to use the northern most tip of a triangular island just off the coast of the larger continent to set a prime meridian for a planetary coordinate system.
Some Unresolved Questions:
1. We have three ships capable of landing on Alchibah; Captain Travis’ “Surprise” and the two freighters. Do we first send exploration teams? And if so how many? Who gets sent? We will need a biologist and a gunner at least. Or maybe we just send gunners the first time and have them bring back samples.
2. First landing on a continental site or an island? An island landing might lessen the potential biological threat.
3. Would using the Lancer’s lifeboats to land colonists be too risky and hard on the lifeboats? They can’t have been designed with many planetary landings in mind. They might make good vehicles to use for exploring the systems asteroid belt though. Or crammed with explosives good anti ship missiles.
4. Could we use one of the landers to burn off vegetation and sterilize an area suitable for planting crops?
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