Earth is the home of Humanity, located in the Solar system on the Orion-Cygnus arm of the galaxy. It is a verdant world which supports millions of native species. Vast smart cities rise high in the air, ensuring that their immense populations produce only a small physical footprint. They are surrounded on all sides by the lush preserves which now cover most of the planet.
While the lands and oceans have largely been healed by the extensive and costly Restoration Project, which aimed to reverse ecological damage of ages past, some areas remain barren. The North American badlands are a prime example, and very little has been able to grow there since the bombardment which occurred near the end of the Asia-Pacific war.
Aside from Damastion, Earth is the only class zero planet in the Empire. Seen from space, it is a mainly blue ball wreathed in white cloud, with visible continents coloured green, brown and grey. The polar ice caps are white. Amongst the rocky planets orbiting its star, Sol, it has relatively high density and surface gravity. The rocky surface of the planet is a thin crust with relatively low density, essentially floating on a denser semi-liquid mantle.
A strong magnetic field deflects a significant amount of harmful stellar radiation. Also, around 71% of the surface of the planet is covered by water, an organic solvent. Both of these attributes contributed significantly to the emergence of life on the planet.
Earth is the location of the Zeroth Gate Nexus and as such is a key strategic planet, defended by an entire network of Fortress-class battle stations. Three of these stations — Fort Sol, Fort Luna, and Fort Terra — are enhanced above and beyond the Fortress-class specification with very heavy defence systems.
The planet is also the location of the Pavadene Fleetworks shipyard, the Maxus Industries Drive Factory, and of course Imperial Fleet Command. There are no heavy industrial operations on the surface of the planet itself; all fabrication is carried out in orbit. Fleet Command occupies several facilities, with many of its administrative functions conducted on Fort Sol.
The dominant sentient species on Earth is humanity. Representatives of other species do live and work on the planet, however there are few permanent ethnic settlements. Across the galaxy, most sentient species tend to prefer to live permanently on planets where their species is dominant.
The human population, at its peak in the 26th Century, exceeded fourteen billion. In co-ordination with the Restoration Project, the Gate Initiative, and the Colonisation Push, Earth was systematically and aggressively depopulated. The population in the 38th Century is closer to 3,500,000,000.
The majority of citizens now live in tower cities, often named after the now obsolete nations which constructed them. The tower cities incorporate several smart networks dedicated to renewable power, community farming, and clean transport. The size and shape of the cities provide huge amounts of free space per capita, and their efficient design generally means they have no great reliance on importation.
Part of the Restoration Project involved the careful demolition and erasure of hundreds of vacant old-style cities, and all of their attendant infrastructure including connecting roads. As a result of this, nature has reclaimed vast tracts of the lands which once belonged to humanity. There are incongruous clearings dotted across the landscape, containing buildings and monuments which were deemed to be worth preserving and protecting. Examples are the Eiffel Tower, the third Chrysler Building, and the statue of Roima Gotharom.
Earth image courtesy of NASA / NSSDC.