The Colonization process, while it remains in principal similar to the historic methods, has been greatly refined in detail over the six centuries since the original Centauri exodus. Though variations exist between the Federation and Centauri methods, both sides are fundamentally working off the same principals.
Obviously, all planets outside of Earth itself did not originally support human life and were colonized at some point. Mars was the first fully inhabitable permenant colony established at the turn of the 22nd Century. Prior to this, only very impermenant settlements and exploratory missions had been sent for the purposes of research. The original settlement of Mars was for reseach purposes as well, but it soon proved to be successful beyond its own expectations.
This would eventually be followed by one on Europa, where the discovery of Mythril would propel the first Interstellar mission; the Centauri Exodus Project.
The Centauri Project would serve as the basis for most first wave colonization; A long flight without sufficent supplies for a return or ability to expect any resupply. The ship itself as capable of supporting life indefinitely if recieving sufficent solar power; internal systems ran off of a combination of nuclear energy and solar panelling, while on board farms could support a small population both with oxygen and food.
The landing on Eden allowed the colony pods to disperse slightly and a 'friendly' atmosphere made the terraforming relatively quick work and allowed for a gradual expansion of the domes, until they could eventually be removed entirely.
This model would be repeated in early, independant systems, including some who would eventually be annexed back into the Sol Federation.
However, as the ability to travel through flow became more efficient, so too did colonization no longer carry the same risks and promises of the early independant colonies. This is refered to as Second Wave Colonization, one which only the Centauri and Federation claim the ressources to. These colonies make up the majority of Cent and Federation space, as both groups independantly sent out dependant colonies and asserted harsh political control over them.
Theoretically, any virtually rock in space can be colonized. However even as Flow travel has removed the need for a colony to be completely self sufficient as the first generation needed to be, a colony cannot be sustained in the long term if it is dependant on supplies brought through the Flow. As such, certain preferences remain as to which planets are most suited for colonization.
Without atmosphere, the colony will never be able to expand out of a station. This means that the only colonies without atmospheres are mining stations established in system. Holding onto a system with only mining stations, no matter how Mythril rich, is not feasible.
Beyond this, non-toxic or "friendly" atmospheres are prefered. In these, there is no need to breakdown or remove any gasses in the atmosphere but merely release oxygen until the planet is suitable for life. Planets such as Venus, with nitrogen and sulfer highly present in the air take far longer to colonize, however they are often considered good long term investments if the infastructure can be maintained.
The presence of water is a huge boon to a fledgling colony and some source of natural water is often considered necessary for a colony in a new system.
The sources of natural life off of Earth are few, yet these are still a great novelty for curious scientists. So far, nothing more complex than primitive Arthropods or Nautilus like creatures. Such creatures tend to flourish on planets similar to Earth and in a couple of cases, a colony has been successfully integrated with their habitat and Terra and Xeno order life have managed to co-exist.
However since the 2923 Settlement Treaty, it has been forbidden to terraform any planet with known Xeno life forms without explicit approval from both the Centauri and Federation governments.
The Initial colony ship is usually sent on a mission, with a group of at least a few thousand trained Soldiers and Technicians to lay the ground work. The Federation prefers one or only a couple bases be established, where the Centauri will lay down several on the basis of where locations for cities will be in terms of early agriculture and dispersement.
Once established, the call for early citizens arrives who will perform the unskilled labour [or the non-essential elements]. This is the early stage of the colony, those who come at this stage in the colonization of a new system will likely spend the rest of their lives in a dome or station.
However, benefits both for them and their descendants are significant. Many Cent Noble Families trace their line as having risen through "First right" where colonist leaders are given titles to recognize their achievement, even those who do not rise to leaders are recognized as having "First Right" and may pass on the title of "FY" or "First Yeoman" through their families which has varying degrees of political meaning, though usually granting tax-deductions. Similarly, Founder Status is a major boon to the descendants of Fed settlers with political ambitions while the settlers themselves will often be granted executive forgiveness for loans and offered highpaying jobs as Corporations hope to establish themselves there.
Depending on the size of the planet in question, terraforming the atmosphere can take upwards of a hundred years, and typically takes at least 50 even in ideal conditions. Once this is completed however, a second colonist rush will arrive to claim the vast swarthes of unused land. Gradually, farms will be adjusted to the best long term territory and wilderness reserves or ecological sustainability will be established. This is usually seen as a relatively lawless period as the regulations of the early period have just recently expired and a fledgling culture will be developing. However, this is only another stage much like the Early which passes within a generation or two.
As the Claims are staked and a establishments become more permenant, both the Federation and Centauri work to ensure this infastructure will remain loyal and closely knit to the their respective governments. For the Centuari, this often means recognizing and welcoming the nobility of this planet into the old guard of nobility and removing "undesirable" or "resistant" elements. Within the Federation this means reasserting ties with parent corporations and establishing long term trade deals for goods more standardized to a standard planet rather than a Government colony.
It is also that this stage which supplimental colonization occurs; often as soon as law becomes more established in the region, there will be a push back outwards towards the edge of the system. Coloniziing within a system is less difficult as it is significantly easier to support dependant colonies within a system tha it is to rely on travelling through the flow. Thus many of these outer colones even as they become well established tend to have reputations for being independant and nationalistic compared to the primary system where those more content with integration will typically remain.
Planets currently undergoing terraformingEdit
- Neoselladahas recently completed their process of terraforming, the population is still in the process of expanding outwards and claiming the terraformed lands.
- Atarakyo is currently in the late stage of Terraforming, the major Urban centers are still centered around the scattered stations, some of which serve as "Gateways", where other cultural groups are encouraged to remain.
- Addis Ababa is still in the early stages of colonization, with most of the population still relying on station based agriculture. The outside atmosphere is relatively safe over short periods but is not amendable to long term survival.
- New Jerusalem has under gone sporadic attempts at terraforming but remains largely a group of stations designed to support a military.
- Etxebarri has recently completed its terraforming and now is a booming rural planet.
- Himmel Rand is currenting undergoing a reclaimation phase but has largely completed its process of terraforming.
- Shunshin has recently been declared habitable and is expanding outwards. However the bulk of industry and trade remain in the santioned domed areas.
- Skallen is currently in the early stages of development with only a handful of space bound stations.