The history of Joi is of course closely tied up with histories of its five colonies. This section details the common history of the sytem (mainly the pre colonisation surveys etc.). More detailed histories of the colonies can be found on the following links.
61 Ursae Majoris was first surveyed in 2226 by a French survey vessel operating under the auspices of the ESA. The Planets and Joian Continents were named by the Captaine DeSalles (according to the protocol giving the discoverer the right to name their finds) giving both the Sytem and Planet a francophone character.
The ESAS Argonaute surveyed the system locating the main astronomical bodies and placing orbital survey satellites around the more interesting planets (Joi, Hiver and Grandpere). The Argonaute also conducted remote fly-bys on remaining planets using its stutterwarp survey drone while the ship herself remained in orbit above the garden world.
Recognising Joi (an apparently 99% Earth compatible world) as the priceless asset it was the Argonaute remained in orbit around Joi for several weeks. During this time DeSalles mapped the planet and conducted both remote and manned surveys and sampling of the atmosphere, oceans and landmasses.
When the time came for the Argonaute to depart a long duration observation platform and a constellation of remote sensing satellites were left behind to collect data until the follow on survey mission was despatched.
The Argonaute's discovery prompted great interest amongst the ESA nations privy to its data and a full ESA follow up mission was planned for 2229.
The first elements of the ESA Joian Survey Team finally entered orbit in early 2233, delayed by the diversion of resuorces to the Bavarian settlement of Alderhorst in 2231.
While the planetary scientists began analysing the seven years of accumulated data from the long duration observation platform, left behind by the Argonaute, engineers assembled the pre-fabricated orbital terminal that was to be the survey team's headquarters. The preliminary analysis of the stored data revealed no major geological (eg vulcanism or earth quakes) or atmospheric threats (eg hurricanes or other violent weather) to human habitation. Consequently the survey leader (Proffessor Manfried Dorfmann) selected one of the smaller islands between Pays d'Esperance and Pays De Verde (the two major continents) as the Survey Team's planetside base.
The Isle de Madellaine (named for Captaine DeSalle's daughter) was used to minimise the team's impact on Joi as well as to minimise the risk to the team from as yet unknown natural dangers (eg poisonous flora or aggressive fauna). Once the site had been selected a pathfinder group was flown down to the surface using the Team's four VTOL Roton landers. While the support staff cleared a compound and set up temporary quarters the xeno-biologists set about their work.
By the middle of 2233 the majority of the initial survey team had settled in to their new orbital home and completed their review of the collected orbital observations. The pathfinder xeno-biologists, from their temporary quarters below, had produced a very favourable report on the Joian biosphere (or at least that portion present on the Isle de Madellaine). As anticipated the Joian life forms were highly compatible with their Terran equivalents. The biochemistries were sufficiently similar that Terran amimals could eat Joian plants (and visa versa) and gain nutrition. Similarly Terran plants could be grown in Joian conditions with little or no modification. In short Joi represented a virtually ideal candidate for colonisation. The only downside were the orbital survey results that indicated a lack of the heavier elements in the planetary crust although these were only preliminary as no field geology had been possible.
Armed with these preliminary reports Professor Dorfmann recommended that the ESA upgrade the survey to Stage 3 (a full pre colonisation survey) as planned and that ESA member states should consider Joi for primarily agricultural colonisation. Dorfmann's report came as no surprise to his employers and additional resuorces were quickly dispatched to begin laying the ground work for colonisation. Wishing to claim Joi for themselves the ESA nations also quickly filed claims under the Melbourne Accords to the main Joian continents. France claimed the Pays d'Esperance, Bavaria selected the Northern Pays de Verde (which they later transferreed to their Hanoverian allies) while Britain and Azania jointly reserved the Southern Pays de Verde.
As reinforcements arrived Dorfmann expanded both the orbital and planetary faciliies. In orbit the terminal was extended to accomodate the larger numbers of staff while the low orbits were seeded with GPS, communications and observation satellites. A small fusion reactor was dropped to the Isle de Madellaine base to provide power for the expanding facilities. The temporary accomodations were dismantled and more permanent structures errected (using local materials where possible) for accomodation, laboratories, maintenance buildings, vehicle hangers etc. A full size runway for space planes was added to replace the Roton landing pad. In addition an LTA docking tower and a small harbour were constructed to provide local atmospheric and ocean transport. A sealed hydroponic farm (using only sunlight and purified water from Joi) was set up to supplement imported foods with fresh produce. A cracking plant was also dropped from orbit to provide hydrogen and oxygen for both local consumption and visiting starships. Thus by the first quarter of 2234 Joi had effectively become the field station of several Universities Xeno Biology and Geology Departments and an area office of a number of other research organisations (eg IEX, Royal Society etc.).
Once the work on the Isle de Madellaine campus was completed a number of outposts were set up around the globe along similar lines to the orignal camp at Isle de Madellaine. The more distant outposts were set up and serviced directly from orbit using the VTOL Rotons while those more local used LTA transports. The outposts were sited to allow a full survey of all the different continents and and various ecological types. The outposts typically consisted of some form of local generation suitable to the location (eg wind, solar, hydroelectric, tidal etc), a cracking plant, accomodation for staff, a small suite of laboratories for local work plus maintenance facilities for both manned and remotely operated LTAs and rovers.
With a whole world to survey and only limited time and resources the survey team could not possibly visit every location, categorise every species or analyse every amino acid. Instead the emphasis was on determining the basic biochemistry of Joian life as a basis for future work, providing a broad survey of the most common plants and animals present and determinig the basic geology of the planet. Much of the data was collected and initially analysed automatically with human intervention only where anomolies or more interesting phenoma were observed. Thus remotely operated or computer controlled LTAs and rovers would make visual observations of animal behaviour or obtain samples of plants or rocks. These would be uploaded to the computers in the orbital terminal which would analyse the results and combine them with other data collected by satellite or by researchers at the Isle de Madellaine laboratories. Analysts in orbit would then review the computers' results and order additional surveys or more sampling and so the survey progressed.
While a great deal of the effort on Joi itself was dedicted to the collection of data using remotely operated or automated vehicles it was still necessary for humans to perform the more delicate or subtle tasks. Thus research scientists and explorers could be found all over the planet capturing the local fauna for more detailed study or investigating the habitat of potential food plants to determine what conditions were required to promote their growth. Their laboratory based colleagues meanwhile were busy engineering and test planting Terran crops (such as rice or grain) to improve their performance under Joian conditions or attempting to improve the yields of the Joian flora discovered in the field.
By the end of 2237 the preliminary survey was complete. The original promise of the Joian biosphere had been fully realised. Joian plants and animals could easily support both humans and Terran livestock (requiring only a few additional supplements for missing minerals and vitamins). Terran crops could also easily be adapted to Joian conditions and indeed appeared to thrive at the expense of the natives (being immune to all the local pests and diseases and generally more vigorous).
Geologically the news was more mixed. It appeared that plate tectonics on Joi had ground to a halt due to the formation of unusually (relative to their Earthly equivalents) stable continental and oceanic plates. This had obviously occurred recently (geologically speaking) as the planet still retained a gaseous oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere with sufficient CO2 to maintain habitable temperatures and liquid oceans. It appeared that Joi had once been a much warmer world but that the atmospheric CO2 content (and resulting greenhouse effect) was being gradually reduced by the weathering process - as the CO2 formed carbonates (limestone) with the calcium in the crust. On Earth this process was countered by the subduction of limestone below the crust and the out gassing of the CO2 released by the high temperatures via vents and volcanoes. Thus Joi was doomed to an icy future, albeit one several million years away. On the positive side the lack of plate tectonics also meant a lack of earthquakes and volcanic erruptions.
The unusual nature of Joian geology had also resulted in an absence of many elements from the surface, or sufficently near the surface to make mining practical). Technologically vital metals such as nickel, cobalt and copper were either all but missing entirely or so evenly distributed that their extraction was impractical. Thus although Joi was a biological paradise it had very little potential as an industrial powerhouse, indeed it was likely to have difficulty supporting sufficient industry even to meet domestic consumption.
With the Pre-Colonisation survey complete the ESA facilities were gradually run down with all the out stations being mothballed. Meanwhile the national survey organisations with colonial claims began their own work to locate the sites for their colonies and examine the local conditions for threats and opportunities.
There is little common history post colonisation.
Copyright J.M. Pearson, 2004