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Planet: Barnard C867547-9

Star: Barnard's Star (M4V)


Next to Prometheus, Barnard is the Terran Confederation’s most populous colony. Although the planet resembles Terra in several respects, it is not a particularly hospitable world, and it is likely that many of the next waves of colonies will surpass it. Barnard’s primary hazard is the atmosphere itself. It is composed of the usual mix of oxygen and nitrogen found on terrestrial worlds and is even of approximately the same density as Terra’s. However, the planet is deep within an ice age caused by a deficit of carbon dioxide in the air. This lack has varying effects on different people, but it is common to experience dizziness, disturbed breathing, and sleeping difficulties. Over time the symptoms get stronger, so people living on Barnard prefer to live in enclosed habitats with the right amount of carbon dioxide introduced into the air. When he goes outside, a citizen will wear a small remixer mask that retains enough CO2 to make up the difference.

The planet is also tidally locked to its red dwarf primary. Despite the constant mixing of the atmosphere and oceans, temperatures can get too high or low for comfort away from the twilight zone. People do venture out into the “hotback” and “coldback,” but such expeditions require preparation. So far, all colonization ventures have stuck to the band of relatively pleasant territory in between. Of course, Barnard is the second-closest reasonably habitable world to Terra (again behind Prometheus).

Unlike better worlds that are further out, it has been surveyed completely, and exploitation of its resources was under way even before more distant planets were discovered. As a virgin world, Barnard still has easily accessible stocks of rare metal ores and petrochemicals, and arable land to help feed Terra’s billions. While their world is far from perfect, Barnard’s inhabitants make the most of its proximity to a market of billions.