Structures In Space That Go Beyond Starbases

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Every Monday at 7:00 PM, a talented crew roleplays their way through the galaxy to fulfill a mission: to boldly go where no one has gone before. Follow the adventures of the USS Sally Ride in Shield of Tomorrow on  Twitch.

Exotic locales and alien civilizations are important parts of any Star Trek adventure. Starfleet visits other words on regular occasions, often leaving Starbases in their wake. Humans aren’t the only builders at work in the galaxy. Other species are building their own structures in the galaxy, and encountering one of these theoretical structures can add another dimension of exploration to any session of Star Trek Adventures. It’s also an excellent way to take advantage of the unlimited special effects budget open to most GMs.

Dyson Sphere

Let’s begin with an example from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Enterprise encounters one of these objects in the episode “Relics”. Not only is it an unusual encounter for Starfleet, it also brings legendary engineer Montgomery Scott back into the timeline. These structures harness the power of a star by encasing the celestial body to capture the majority of its energy output. It gets its name from Freeman Dyson, a famous physicist, but the name now encompasses a whole category of structures that use this basic concept.

Space Elevator

The space elevator concept has been around since 1895. The idea is to build a structure so tall that getting things into space would no longer require massive rockets and careful launches. The current theory on this building would be to anchor the top of the building to a mass outside geostationary orbit. The tension between the gravity on earth and the anchor in space would hold the building taught to allow deliveries into and beyond a planet’s orbit. Out of all the buildings in this article, this one is the closest to happening; several countries and organizations are racing to be the first to have one up within the next few decades.

O’Neill Cylinder

Artificial gravity is usually quickly handwaved in TV and movies because it is expensive to simulate constant weightlessness. This habitat is built to provide that gravity because everything is set on the edge of two counter-rotating cylinders. The opposite directions cancel out any drift. This also provides sunlight for food growth and an approximation of the day and night cycles to which humans are accustomed. The most popular example of an O’Neill Cylinder exists in a rival franchise. The central station of Babylon 5 is one.

If you’re ready to catch Star Trek Adventures in action (albeit in the 24th century), the crew of the USS Sally Ride flies every Wednesday at 9:30 PM PT on  Twitch.

Featured image: Modiphius

Image Credits: CBS, NASA (Fair Use)

Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes about kaiju, Jedi, gangsters, elves and is a writer for the Star Trek Adventures RPG line. His blog is  here, his Twitter is  here and his meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.

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