Large enough that it could almost have formed the nucleus of a protostar in its own right, Jupiter’s massive size makes the Jovian system one of the most challenging places in the system to colonize. Jupiter’s powerful magnetic eld means that its inner moons— and the outer ones, when their orbits pass through its immense magnetotail—are bombarded with enough ionizing radiation to kill transhumans not protected by the heaviest of shielding within a matter of hours. There are sixty-three moons and moonlets in the Jovian system, but only the well-explored, populous, regular moons are described here.
Resources and Economy
Jupiter’s powerful gravity well is a major hindrance to gas mining in the planet’s atmosphere, as even craft that do not succumb to the violent, centuries-long atmospheric storms can only achieve escape velocity with the most powerful propulsion systems. Given the need for heavy shielding on such craft, gas mining on Jupiter is not nearly as efficient as on Saturn. Jupiter has a tenuous ring system, much less dense than Saturn’s, which extends out for 20,000 kilometers around the planet, encompassing the orbits of its two closest moonlets.
Jupiter’s gravity, however, is also a valuable resource. Craft bound for Saturn and beyond can slingshot themselves outward by circling the planet to pick up velocity, cutting months or years off their trips. The heavily militarized Jovian Republic levies tolls against all spacecraft using Jupiter’s gravity to pick up velocity, including asteroids under propulsion. This protection money is the Junta’s primary source of revenue. Planetary Consortium ships generally accept the payment as part of operating expenses. Other factions are not so cooperative, and the Junta regularly seizes or destroys blockade runners.