|Classification||Autotroph & Chemotroph|
|Social Structure||Large groups (groves)|
|Homeworld||Saandeth (Core 1232 B130563-D)|
The Airplant is a plant-like creature, native to Saandeth (Core 1232 B130563-D), that has found great use in the Terraforming industry.
Physiology & Ecology
On its home world, airplant is part of a small eco-system of bacteria and lichens which requires almost no water and derives what it needs from the breakdown of minerals. Airplants are purplish-black, spreading plants.
The population of Saandeth is clustered into a few dense population centers, leaving most of the surface undisturbed.
Life Cycle & Reproduction
Airplants reproduce in several ways:
- Through runners, which can propagate into new plants, creating thick and vast colonies.
- Through the transportation of small pieces of an Airplant by animal or wind vectors. Surviving pieces can grow into new plants and form extensive colonies.
- From the distribution of spores, which can form new colonies of Airplants in appropriate environments.
Some researchers believe that this hardy plant may reproduce in even other ways not yet well studied.
Diet & Trophics
As an autotroph, the Airplant uses the light of the nearby star to generate energy, and as a Chemotroph, the Airplant derives the rest of its sustenance from the breakdown of minerals present in the soil where it grows.
The airplant absorbs large quantities of solar energy, including ultraviolet and gamma rays, which power its enzyme systems and break the bonds of these compounds.
History & Background (Dossier)
One of a terraformers' best tools is a lichen native to Saandeth (Core 1232 B130563-D). Because of this purplish-black, spreading plant, very small desert worlds may have their atmosphere altered to become a thin but breathable atmosphere of nearly 100% oxygen.
Oxygen is frequently present in the soil of barren worlds, locked in chemical compounds. If the planet's gravity is strong enough to hold the liberated oxygen near the surface, a light but adequate atmosphere builds up over the centuries.
To speed the terraforming process after introducing the plants, domed areas may be constructed to hold the oxygen in higher concentrations, allowing human settlement that much sooner. The smallest worlds rarely hold hydrogen in their formation, so is still non-existent in such places. But hydrogen can be brought in and burned in fuel cells, producing both energy and water for a colony.
Travellers' Aid Society Advisory
The Travellers' Aid Society finds Airplants to be a non-dangerous lifeform and no special precautions need be taken around these beneficial organisms.
However, Airplants, while largely similar to most Sophont lifeforms in biochemical terms, is not a significant source of nutrition, and has been found to possess a very mild poison (toxin), which can cause internal and external (non-lethal) irritation when ingested or exposed to a Sophont's skin in quantity. Small amounts have a much lesser effect.
References & Contributors (Sources)
- Periodical: MegaTraveller Periodical: MegaTraveller Travellers' Digest No. 10
- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science