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Darwin IV

Darwin IV from the Documentary Alien Planet

Darwin IV
Source

Expedition (book) 

Alien Planet (documentary)

Orbital Position 4
Moons 2
Class Terrestrial
Gravity 0.6 g
Atmosphere Oxygen-rich (too much for human breathing)
Climate Semi-arid
Diameter 6,563 km
Primary Terrain Deserts and mountains, with a few areas of vegetation
Surface water Small water bodies, the largest body of water is covered by a major superorganism
Rotation period 26.7 Earth hours
Orbital Period 728 Earth days

Darwin IV is a small desertic rocky planet, the fourth planet in the Darwin Binary System formed by 6 planets, is 6.5 light years away from Earth's Solar System. With a very dense atmosphere and little gravity, it is home to a large number of complex organisms characterized by lack of eyes and rely mainly on echolocation and infrared vision, with different and aberrant forms and sizes.  In both the book Expedition and the documentary Alien Planet, Darwin IV is the first planet with complex life explored by humanity and where most of the events in both media happen.

Characteristics

Compared to Earth, the planet has far less surface water being only 5% covering the surface, which is mostly locked by the Amoebic matrix, and the rest of the water is found in the atmosphere, as well as in the polar caps and subterranean aquifers that protrude across the planet as small puddles.

The planet has lower gravity in addition to its atmosphere, allowing for organisms to get much larger than what is possible on Earth. Probably due to its small size (it is only a few hundred kilometers smaller in diameter than Mars), it has lost most of its major oceans over the eons. The terrain around the tropics and poles in both hemispheres is predominantly a plain with some geographic features probably caused by the now extinct oceans or by the now scarce rivers and lakes, while at the equator exist a series of mountain ranges which form a mountainous belt around the planet.




Environments

Due to the lack of large water bodies, its environment is predominantly arid, dominated by vast deserts, grasslands and with huge mountain ranges and long tundra around the poles. However, it still has small patches of forests, aquifers, as strange environments as the amobeic sea, and even by the density of the atmosphere the sky makes this its own environment.

Grasslands and plains

Forests

Amoebic Sea 

Also known as Mare Amoebicus, it's a vast, gelatinous, sea-like organism on Darwin IV, located in Planitia Borealis. It is a vast matrix of symbiotic life forms. It is Darwin IV's strangest biome. This bizarre and misnamed biome region is blanketed by a gelatinous, 10-meter-deep organism covering almost five percent of the planet's surface; it is, in fact, the largest single colony organism known.


Littoral zones

Mountains

Tundra

Air

Life

Flora

Fauna

The variety of faunistic organisms that exists on Darwin IV is quite bizarre and divergents in terms of diversity and complexity, since most have quite different morphologies varying a lot in body shape, number of limbs and sizes, it is even difficult to give an exact taxonomic affinity to each one due to the strangeness of its morphology for each species (Example: the Emperor Sea Strider is a relative of The beach walker, exibith both very derived trails that make the relationship very hard to link) However, these still have basic features that are found in all species, such as the lack of eyes, jaws and some kind of fur or filamentous covering, being these of naked, with a rugose leathered skin, varied forms of jawless tubular structures similar to proboscides, and being their way of perceiving their world by secialized sonars or infrared, this thanks to specialized organs, as well most have bioluminescent spots around the body.

The majority of the predominant fauna seem to have some kind of endoskeletons, quite similar to those of Earth vertebrates, having several a defined bilateral bauplan


History and exploration

Expedition

The events of the planet exploration occur during the middle of the XXIV century, in a future where humanity destroyed the ecology of the earth and that the race Yma has taken care in the repair of the planet. Thanks to observations of the benevolent aliens by the use of "Faster than light" satellites, the binary Darwin system as well the planets around wwere discovered and after sending a probe to that system, a expedition began to be prepared around the year 2355 and being fully equipped a year later. This Expedition being a bi-species participation, is formed by a team of scientists, technicians and surveyors human individuals including the author and wildlife illustrator of the book, Barlowe, alongside with some Yma individuals. The 3 earth years long exploration was done through 3 vessels called "Orbitstars" in a travel of two years, arriving on the planet on January 6 of 2358. It is implied in the book that this mission is not only for exploration, but as an opportunity for humanity to re-educate itself after the mistakes made by it in the destruction of the native biosphere of the earth, as well, is being clarified by the Yma that this would be a mission of observation, without interaction or physical contact with the native life. Throughout these three years of exploration, Barlowe along with several other members explored and observed most of the fauna and flora of the planet gathering data and recording what they could find, with an eventuality that ended with the death of two Yma members in the mountainous areas, however, this had no major impact on the mission. After their supplues depleted, the mission ended and the exploration team left Darwin IV on March 24, 2361.

Alien planet

In this timeline the exploration of Darwin IV occurs in the "near future" where instead of humans, a series of probes with advanced artificial intelligence is sent in a trip of several decades as the ship they travel at 20% of the speed of light across 6 light years. After the journey of decades, the Von Braun probe is deployed, and after collecting atmospheric data by the use of a small observation satellite, it sends the Probes nicknamed Balboa, Ike and Leo, of which the first has a flaw in its capsule and explodes upon entering the atmosphere, however, the other two manage to land in a plain region. 

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