Terraforming (literally, "Earth-shaping") of a planet, moon, or other body is the hypothetical process of deliberately modifying its atmosphere, temperature, surface topography or ecology to be similar to the environment of Earth to make it habitable by Earth-like life.
Humanity began terraforming within Sol System, concentrating their efforts at first on Mars, but later looking to Venus, as well. Considerations were afoot for the Galilean Moons of Jupiter, but with the arrival of Warp Drive and the ecological disasters of the 22nd Century, these plans were largely abandoned.
Technologies developed during this period include:
- Space Mirrors: Aluminum sheeting deployed on carbon nanotube frames in either a ring or full circle. Depending on need, these mirrors are used to reflect more solar illumination to the planet in question, or to reduce the levels to terrestrially favorable levels.
- Asteroidal/Cometary Flybys: using aerobraking to deposit water, nitrogen, and other desired compounds into the atmosphere of the planet being terraformed, primarily. Flybys with bodies of sufficient size, proximity to the body affected, and frequency can also be used to increase or decrease the cycle of rotation of the planet to approach Terran norms (24 hour days).
- Microbiome remediation producing large quantities of bacteria that are helpful in fixing compounds within the regolith of subjects, or others that release desired molecules, such as oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and argon. These processes also help amend the soil in such a way as to form a solid crust and reduce the presence of atmospheric dust and fines that would otherwise foul colonial habitation air filters.
- Genetic Modification: used almost exclusively on flora, genes are introduced to help the life form cope with high levels of salt (sodium chloride) or other chemicals that would otherwise be harmful to the biome, allowing a faster transition to terrestrial norms of plant life and biodiversity.
- Magnetosphere Generators: bands of planet-specific size, and circling the planet at specific lattitudes, magnets supported by fusion-generators serve to enlarge, or create a magnetosphere to protect the planet from the stellar winds that would otherwise assault the atmosphere and put the colonists at risk.
- Gene Arks: spacecraft parked in orbit in the depths of space at significant locations, but also within the systems under colonization, these arms contain both the genomes and the necessary equipment to gestate and bring forth all life necessary to create a human-favorable biome of sufficient density for self-sustaining life.