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LIU Atlas - Excan . There are billions of stars, millions of planets, but there is only one man, Terrance McDoogal. Welcome to LIU Atlas. . LIU Atlas - Excan The Ludgonian Industrial Union’s galaxy contains billions of stars and planets. Unfortunately, most residents of the LIU could only name a handful of these worlds. In order to improve astronomy grades across the LIU, TV2 has started a new program called LIU Atlas. Follow our host, Terrance McDoogal, as he takes you on a tour across the LIU and some of its more obscure worlds. Note: This episode is presented in full screen. The corresponding dialogue is underneath each photo. Doog: “Welcome to another episode of LIU Atlas. I’m your host, Terrance “Doog” McDoogal. Today, we’re visiting the planet Excan. Excan sits about half an astronomical unit from its unstable parent star, Evoma. Excan’s strong magnetic field, a result of its large liquid iron core, is disrupting Evoma’s magnetic field. This disruption has greatly increased the frequency of solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the star. These massive eruptions often strike Excan, bathing the surface in radiation.” Doog: “The constant solar activity and radiation make a direct trip to the planet extremely dangerous. The Magellan is not equipped for such a journey. Instead, we’re landing on a small space station three AU from the raging star. Here, we’ll catch a shuttle to the planet’s surface.” Doog: ‘Ah, hello there. You must be my guide?” Engineer: “No, sorry. Your guide isn’t getting around too well these days, and he couldn’t make the trip to the station. But don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.” Doog: “Well, who are you?” Engineer: “I’m Tony, a space weather specialist.” Doog: “A what? I thought this was a shuttle depot?” Engineer: “It is. This is a dual purpose station. It serves as both a shuttle depot and a space weather monitoring station. Excan is too close to Evoma to get accurate space weather readings. The radiation disrupts their instruments. At this distance, I can safely and accurately monitor the solar activity, and make space weather predications.” Doog: “So, you’re a space weather man?” Engineer: “Yes. Take a look at this horizontal screen. This is an infrared scan of Evoma’s surface. You can clearly see a sunspot forming. Sunspots are magnetically driven and often precede solar flares and mass ejections. By reading sunspot activity, we can make educated predictions on when these events will occur. Take a look at the seven day solar forecast on the wall there. We’re looking at some pretty minor activity early in the week, but we’re expecting several large flares Wednesday and Thursday.” Doog: “Cool. And why is this important?” Engineer: “For starters, the safety of the planet’s residents. We must give proper warning, or they could be caught out during an event. It’s also important for our shuttle system. Let’s put it this way, you don’t want to be riding a shuttle to the Excan on Wednesday or Thursday. No amount of shielding or armor would save you.” Doog: “Gotcha. So I’m safe today?” Engineer: “Yeah, two yellow bars today. That’s pretty safe. Of course, if you don’t make it back here before the day ends, you’ll be stuck on the surface until Tuesday. We don’t operate when the readings get into the orange.” Doog: “Well, what are we waiting for?” Engineer: “This station has six shuttle bays. Two are reserved for our personnel transporters, like this. This shuttle has been given upgraded armor, radiation shielding, and a magnetic disruptor to combat any solar activity you may come across.” Engineer: “Let me just unseal the personnel compartment. Ah, there we go. Hop on in.” Engineer: “Alright, watch your head. I’m sealing it back up.” Doog: “Are you sure this is safe?” Engineer: “Yeah, pretty sure. Like I said before, we’re predicting two yellow bars today. Of course, predicting space weather is just about as accurate as predicting planetary weather, so you never really know.” Doog: “Wait! What was that last part! Let me out!” Engineer: “Now, now. Settle down. I’m sure you’ll be fine. Sixty percent sure as a matter of fact.” Doog: “I don’t like those odds!” Engineer: “Now, if you hear something during your trip, it’s just these maneuverable radiation shields. The computer positions them automatically to combat any radiation.” Engineer: “Good luck!” Doog: “Well folks, I made it. We’re approaching the planet’s habitation tower. This armored tower is located in Excan’s deepest canyon where it is safer from solar events. Despite its location and various defenses, the tower is still vulnerable to the star’s largest flares. Deep underground bunkers and interior rooms serve as protection during the larger events. You can also see that the tower has several grounding lines attached to its base. These lines discharge accumulated geomagnetic energy produced when the charged solar particles interact with the planet‘s magnetic field. What? I don‘t know. Its just something I found written on one of the shuttle’s brochures.” Doog: “What else does this thing say? Oh, the tower is home to over two thousands residents. Cool. Should be fun. Well, it looks like the shuttle is making its landing approach. I’ll see you on the inside.” Senex: “Ah, welcome Doog. I’m Governor Senex, Overseer of this system. I’m sorry I couldn’t meet you in person. My knees have been giving out on me. I’ve been reduced to getting around in this little scooter.” Doog: “No worries. Old age will do that to a man.” Senex: “Old age? I’m not much older than you are.” Doog: “Oh, sorry. It guess the gray hair and wrinkles that threw me off.” Senex: “That’s fair. I imagine I do look a little older than my age. It’s the radiation. It ages biological materials almost two times faster than normal.” Doog: “Wait! What? I’m aging twice as fast right now!” Senex: “Not quite. Very little radiation penetrates the tower. You’re safe inside. Even if you weren’t, you’re only here for a day, so you’ll only be two days older.” Doog: “Two days older? Heck, I’ve made lifestyle decisions that have taken more days off than that. This one time on Camana IV…” Senex: “Maybe later Doog. Remember, we don’t have a lot of time.” Doog: “Yeah, of course. So where are we headed?” Senex: “This is the Sol Petra Mining Lab. Here, we collect data and map deposits of the mineral Sol Petra. The horizontal screen is a 3D map of one of the regions we‘re mining. You can see some of the deposits depicted in orange.” Senex: “The vertical screen is a digital image of a radiation intensity scan. The scan shows where solar activity has irradiated the planet’s surface. The strongest radiation is depicted as yellow. It looks like a flare may have directly struck the surface here.” Doog: “And why is that important?” Senex: “Well, radiation exposure fuses the planets naturally occurring basalt into Sol Petra. If we know where the radiation is, we know where the Sol Petra is.” Doog: “What is this Sol Petra you keep talking about? I’ve never heard of it.” Senex: “Computer, display Sol Petra molecule. Ah, there we go. Sol Petra is an ultra-rare mineral. It’s formed when solar radiation, specifically X-Ray and Gamma Rays, fuse the planet’s basaltic rocks. The fused rocks, or Sol Petra, have a unique matrix that can contain radiation.” Doog: “Contain radiation?” Senex: “Yes, see this unique structure? The molecules combine together to form pockets. These pockets absorb radiation and store it. Once the radiation is stored, no other radiation can penetrate it. The radiation acts like an insulation to other radiation.” Doog: “I guess that could be useful.” Senex: “It sure is. Sol Petra is a very efficient insulation. It is extremely useful in storing irradiated materials.” Doog: “And it’s only formed on this one planet?” Senex: “No. It can be synthesized artificially, but it’s much easier, and cheaper, to mine it naturally. Excan has one of the larger deposits known in this galaxy, and more is constantly being formed due to solar activity.” Doog: “So what’s next?” Senex: “Well, if you’re not too worried about aging, I figured we’d head out to the field.” Doog: “I’m in. My suntan could use some work.” Senex: “I’m afraid we’ll have to wait on the suntan. We’ll be wearing heavy radiation suits. They’ll certainly stop infrared and thermal rays. It’s the more powerful rays that we should be worried about.” Senex: “Welcome to the surface Doog.” Doog: “It’s good to be here Senex, except for this stifling, top heavy suit.” Senex: “You’re more than welcome to take it off if it bothers you too much. Of course, you’ll probably die in a few seconds.” Doog: “Nah, I’ll pass So, what’s this? Solar power?” Senex: “Yes. Evoma provides an abundance of solar energy. This energy is collected to power the tower and to maintain its shielding. It is also used to process the Sol Petra once it is collected. It requires lots of energy. More importantly, it serves as an early warning system. When the computer detects elevated amounts of energy, an alarm sounds. Elevated energy could mean a flare is coming. The residents in the tower hear the alarm, and know to take cover.” Doog: “What about us?” Senex: “Out here, there’s not much we can do. My father always told me to get into a little ball and kiss my &$$ goodbye.” Doog: “Great advice. Very comforting. So, what’s next?” Senex: “Remember that map and that scan we we’re looking at in the mining lab? That was this field. We’ve run some preliminary scans, but mining scouts are still trying to determine the exact location of the Sol Petra. All we know for now is that this region has recently been hit by a solar flare.” Senex: “Ah, here’s a mining scout now.” Doog: “Check out the laser on that thing! Sweet!” Senex: “That’s not a laser Doog. That’s a very precise scanner. The scout is mapping the mineral content of this field. The scanner can penetrate the regolith and determine the minerals below.” Senex: “The scout can handle almost any terrain, including the planet’s large rocks and canyons.” Senex: “Look. I guess we lucked out. It’s a LIU Armored Dump Truck. It’s transporting mined Sol Petra from the north to the tower.” Senex: “Unlike the scout, the truck is too slow to escape a flare. Instead, it has thick armor. It even has an armored canopy cover, seen deployed here.” Doog: “Enough of the product placement. Let the LIU sell stuff on its own time. Are we going to see something else or what?” Senex: “Before we head back, I figured I’d show you an exposed Sol Petra pit. The Sol Petra is usually covered in radiated regolith and small rocks. We’ve removed this top layer and exposed the minerals below.” Doog: “Cool, I guess. Rocks, irradiated or not, don’t really do anything for me. Anything else?” Senex: “I figured we head back to the tower and check out some of the processing.” Senex: “We process the Sol Petra on site. The lower half of the tower holds several manufacturing floors where Sol Petra is turned into various products. Here, workers are forming the Sol Petra into Radiation Storage Containers.” Senex: “High energy presses form the Sol Petra into various forms. Again, this machine is forming the mineral into a storage box.” Doog: “All this work for some fancy boxes? You sure are risking a lot. I mean you’ve given up your health, your appearance…no offense ma’am, and your safety to make some boxes.” Senex: “All in a days work for the LIU. We could be slaving in the mines on Aranea Serico or something worse.” Doog: “Yeah, I guess. I mean, I have to work as a TV host for almost no pay. Although, I do get to keep my good looks!” Doog: “Well folks, Excan is an interesting place. It certainly has a flare for the dramatic. Deadly solar storms and radiation are just a few of the dangers the people here risk to bring you radiation-proof materials. Well, see ya next time!” Note: Even with Doog’s limited exposure to radiation, he still aged forty one days during his brief stay. It has been determined that his less than ideal lifestyle may have contributed to the faster aging. And by less than ideal, we mean his use of copious amounts of drugs, alcohol, and prostitutes.


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