Oort Cloud
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Basic Information

The Oort Cloud is the little-observed vast comet swarm surrounding the Sun from 2000 AU to (earth-orbits) to 50,000 AU, or 0.8 light years, with a mass about five times as large as Earth. It is thought to consist of a ring-shaped inner swarm and a spherical outer swarm, and be the origin of long-period comets. Most of the comets seemed to have been ejected from the proto-planetary disk during the formation of the solar system, but others might have been captured from other stars. These comets are mostly made from frozen water, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide with some rock.

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Game and Story Use

  • It's not easy to detect objects that distant. It's likely that most of them are small comets, but there may well be entire planets in the Oort Cloud.
  • Although it's cold so far from the Sun, the Oort Cloud might not be as lifeless as it seems.
    • There might be colonies in this region. The hydrogen in the ices can fuel fusion reactions to keep them warm for a very long time indeed.
      • With their smallness, a Planet of Hats seems much more likely, although the population might be surprisingly big.
      • Similarly, there might well be an Ecumenopolis over an entire habitat, a network between several core arcologies extending hundreds of levels down.
      • If a disaster wipes out life in the inner system and spares the comets, they'll live on.
    • There's life swimming in ammonia beneath a Cryovolcano and surviving on heat from tidal friction and radioactive decay. It stays dormant when times are harsh.
    • Nemesis is keeping them warm.
  • What about machines and artificial lifeforms?
    • There's a dwarf planet criss-crossed by a superconducting quantum grid. It's your job to make contact.
    • An automated mining fleet is prospecting for Phlebotinum in the Oort Cloud, and it's suddenly gone silent.
    • Precursors put a defense grid in the Oort Cloud to keep out the local Eldritch Abominations, but it's started to fail. Can you repair it before they break through?
  • It's sufficiently cold and distant to contain Sealed Evil In A Can, or a Paranormal Waste Repository, a Temporal Safehouse, Soul Jar, or anything else that needs to be hidden.
  • Remember, other star systems will have an Oort Cloud as well. There might be entire civilizations overlapping one another, if they like different habitats.
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