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The Centauri Highway by Thobewill The Centauri Highway :iconthobewill:Thobewill 12 2 Valles Marineris v2 Preview by Thobewill Valles Marineris v2 Preview :iconthobewill:Thobewill 18 0 Valles Marineris, M-Year 164 by Thobewill Valles Marineris, M-Year 164 :iconthobewill:Thobewill 22 4 Union of Socialist American Republics by Thobewill Union of Socialist American Republics :iconthobewill:Thobewill 23 4 Parallel Evolution by Thobewill Parallel Evolution :iconthobewill:Thobewill 80 11 A selection of flightless Enantiornithines by Thobewill A selection of flightless Enantiornithines :iconthobewill:Thobewill 25 4 Pterocetoid Ambush by Thobewill Pterocetoid Ambush :iconthobewill:Thobewill 29 3 Wolf-like Neoazhdarchid by Thobewill Wolf-like Neoazhdarchid :iconthobewill:Thobewill 25 2 Browsing neoazhdarchid skeletal view by Thobewill Browsing neoazhdarchid skeletal view :iconthobewill:Thobewill 23 2 Dia de los Muertos Tyrannosaurus rex and skull by Thobewill Dia de los Muertos Tyrannosaurus rex and skull :iconthobewill:Thobewill 56 1 Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland by Thobewill Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland :iconthobewill:Thobewill 5 7 Survivor by Thobewill Survivor :iconthobewill:Thobewill 40 7 Lycopterus romulii by Thobewill Lycopterus romulii :iconthobewill:Thobewill 30 9 Collumnopterus by Thobewill Collumnopterus :iconthobewill:Thobewill 43 2 Rhino by Thobewill Rhino :iconthobewill:Thobewill 31 7 Dinosaur and Pterosaur by Thobewill Dinosaur and Pterosaur :iconthobewill:Thobewill 36 8

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The Centauri Highway
***Not with a bang, but with a whimper***

Many thought Humanity would conquer space in an explosive series of daring interstellar leaps, launching huge generation ships full of tens of thousands of colonists to distant stars. Unfortunately, the realities of interstellar travel make these schemes extremely expensive and conducive to failure. Accelerating anything massive to significant fractions of the speed of light is devilishly difficult and keeping machinery in working order over centuries and millenia with no spare parts is possibly even harder. People tried to leap to the stars, but most often they tripped and fell. Lightsail probes visited other stars, but it seemed for humans, the stars were mostly out of reach.

However, interstellar space, while profoundly empty, is not that empty at all. For every star, an estimated 100000 rogue bodies over 400 km in radius lurk in interstellar space. As the inner system filled up, and the good worlds were taken, people settled for less good ones, and looked outward. Slowly, humanity pushed outward like a slime mold, taking the slow path of least resistance to the stars.

***What's old is new again***

One percent of the speed of light is about as fast as most people travel anymore, and only when in a hurry. Some top of the line trade ships can do 0.05 C but the fuel costs are astronomical and only economical over shorter trips. The void between stars is criss-crossed with human settlements on dark bodies, lit only by artificial lights and the flickering fusion drives of migrants and traders. Information, goods, and genes diffuse slowly throughout the network, making trade routes important for the first time in human history since the information age. Speed of light delays and poor infrastructure means news travels slowly, and must be relayed and bargained for, as in the old times. People changed, both in their customs and in their biology, as humanity adapted itself to the sunless abyss. You might know a guy who knows a guy whose cousin met someone from the Inner System, but that's about as close as the contact gets, and most colonies are self sufficient, trading with nearby worlds to get what they cannot make themselves.

***Plugged in***

11,800 years from now, in the year of Barnard's Star's closest approach (not visible in this slice) the Centauri Highway is well-developed. It could be traversed in a lifetime, and few make that pilgrimage their mission, gaining passage on merchant and migrant ships as they island hop their way to the stars. Most, however, rarely leave home. Only a millennium ago, the expansion wave, spreading in a spherical pattern at the pace of population pressure rather than that of the fastest ship, reached Alpha Centauri, and found it already inhabited, if sparsely, with people who left on daring voyages from the Inner System or from other parts unknown thousands of years before. Contact was a shock to both sides, but the connection of the Highway did a lot to develop the struggling colonies of the Alpha Centauri system. Now, Alpha Centauri, formerly an isolated island, only connected by periodic information transmissions and probes, is plugged into the heart of human civilization. Time will tell what changes this brings.
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Thinking about opening up commissions. Would anyone be interested? I'd probably be doing custom maps.
Valles Marineris, M-Year 164
This is a first version. Not entirely happy with it. 2nd version coming soon. I know some of the names are covered partially. Sorry about that.

164 Martian years since the first colonists landed on the Red Planet, the planet sports a decently thick (500 millibar) carbon dioxide atmosphere. This, combined with a cocktail of more exotic greenhouse gases, has made the planet warm enough that the equatorial region is above freezing for half of the year. A tenuous water cycle exists, with semi-permanent lakes and streams forming in canyons and craters across the equatorial band. Snowfall is common. Shrubs, mosses, lichen, and algae have begun to colonize the warmer, wetter places.

It's spring, and the winter melt has begun. The residents of Valles Marineris don't notice. 50 M-years ago, the largest canyon system in the solar system was been tented over and made liveable. The thick tent, kept aloft by the higher pressure inside, enclosing an area twice the size of California, is truly an engineering marvel. It blocks some UV radiation and acts as a greenhouse, warming the previously firgid valley to t-shirt weather. Inside, people go about their daily lives, able to breathe Earthlike air under a Martian sky. Over 20 million people, or 40% of all Martians, call Valles Marineris home, making it the economic, cultural, and financial center of Mars.

Parts of the Valles Marineris canyon system have been allowed to remain "pristine", in order to facilitate Aerological exploration. The ever increasing snowfall has, however, begun to threaten these ancient environments. Some anti-terraforming activists have begun to call a halt to terraforming, or even de-terraforming. Valles Marineris, they say, shows that it's possible to live a comfortable, contained life on an alien world without destroying billions of years of scientific data and beauty. Advocates of terraforming say that the Valles Marineris habitat, while incredible, is far from a truly natural environment, and that as long as Mars remains uninhabitable, the lives of all people on Mars are under threat. A failure in the tent could kill 20 million people.

The Mariners are split on these issues, but have nevertheless begun to help tent over other canyon systems, basins, and craters to serve as more comfortable living spaces for a generation of new Martians. Some joke that if the Mariners have their way, the whole planet will be tented in 100 M-Years' time. The Mariners seem fine with that.

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Union of Socialist American Republics
A map of a collaborative worldbuilding project i started and worked on from 2014 to 2016. Subreddit here at /r/socialistamerica. Finally decided to upload here.
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Thobewill
Thomas Marks
Artist | Student | Digital Art
United States
On Friday, I'm going to Munich! I'm gonna spend a month and a half living with a host family and taking intensive language courses 5 days a week. I'm super excited!

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:iconmonsoni:
Monsoni Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2017
Happy birthday to you!

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SkarmorySilver Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2017
Happy Birthday! :D
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Tigon1Monster Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2017
Happy Birthday!
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Dataizm Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Student Filmographer
Happy birthday. Still check by every so often.
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:iconthobewill:
Thobewill Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Thank you!
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mynameisnotdave23 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Happy birthday!
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:iconthobewill:
Thobewill Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Thanks!
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AnonymousLlama428 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
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:iconthobewill:
Thobewill Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Thank you!
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Sanrou Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016   Digital Artist
Happy birthday! :D
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