Planet Profile: Brunhild

“Brunhild is home to many large volcanoes, but by far the most spectacular are its unusual glass volcanoes. The moon’s outer crust is rich in silicon, and these giants spew molten glass onto the surface where it cools into solid lakes.”Brunhild moon

Name: Brunhild (Odin 1)

Atmosphere: sulphur dioxide with traces of sulphur monoxide and oxygen

Surface Area: 0.249 Earths

Surface Gravity: 0.315 g

Moons: None. Is a moon of the gas giant Odin

Brunhild is a moon of the gas giant Odin and is one of four so-called “Valkyrian moons”. Despite orbiting within its star’s habitable zone, Bruhild is unable to support human life because of its sulfurous atmosphere and extreme weather conditions.

While the atmosphere of Brunhild is not breathable, it certainly is warm. This is due to its thick atmosphere, and in part due to internal geological activity. Brunhild orbits close to the gas giant Odin and frequently passes close to its partner moons Hildr and Rota, with which it is in resonance; this causes extreme pressure on its interior. These tidal pressures makes Brunhild geologically unstable and drive a system of extremely active volcanoes. Like the Jovian moon of Io, it is literally being stretched by gravitational forces.

Brunhild is tidally locked to its parent planet, which it orbits once every 1.74 Earth days. This makes a day on Brunhild almost twice as long as on Earth.

Glass Volcanoes

Brunhild is home to many large volcanoes but by far the most spectacular are its unusual glass volcanoes. The moon’s outer crust is rich in silicon, and these giants spew molten glass onto the surface, where it cools into solid lakes. These lakes vary in colour and transparency from region to region, depending on the chemical elements present in the region of each volcano and on the geography of the area. The glass lakes of the southern hemisphere tend to be very dark and opaque, while those of the north east often have a green or yellow tinge due to the large amounts of iron and uranium that can be found there. In the north west, the lakes are remarkable clear, though still marked by impurities. The largest and clearest in this region is the spectacular Crystal Lake, which is the setting for the thriving Crystal Lake casino resort.

Crystal Lake is famous for its clear glass, spectacular sunsets, and the striking swirls of colour visible deep within the glass. From the southern shore of the lake, where the resort town of Crystal Shore is located, the twin volcanoes Big Forge and Little Forge can frequently be seen erupting in the distance, just beyond the northern shore. It is thought that the Big Forge volcano was responsible for the formation of this remarkably clear glass lake, but its flow has now shifted and the regular eruptions of it and its partner now feed into the growing Lake Ruttager, which is considerably less clear. The Brunhild Crystal Lake has been named as one of the 12 natural wonders of the known universe.

Settlement

There are three permanent settlements on Brunhild; the resort town of Crystal Shore, the small mining town of Green Lakes, and the improvised encampment of Camp Jack in the south. Crystal Shore is the largest settlement on the moon and has a population of approximately 9,000. The total human population of Brunhild is estimated to be in the region of 13,000.

Brunhild surfaceCrystal Shore was first established as a research station and later became a mining colony operated by the Galaher Enterprises of Mars. It was at this time that public interest in Brunhild’s unique geography began to grow, and Galaher capitalized on this by accepting the first tourists into their encampment. They converted a workers’ bunkhouse into a small hotel, acquired part of the old research station to be used as a recreational facility, and offered tours were of the northwestern glass lakes. Galaher’s tourist packages were a huge success, despite limited facilities, and interest in the Brunhild skyrocketed. Seeing the potential for profit, entrepreneur Billy Sedgewin acquired land immediately on the shore of Crystal Lake and began constructing the settlement’s first casino – “The Sedgewin Brunhild”. The Sedgewin Brunhild was later sold to Galaher Enterprises and renamed the “The Vegas Brunhild” as Sedgewin began construction of the much larger Crystal Lake resort complex, which included the iconic Crystal Towers Casino. The complex also included homes for 2000 employees and more than doubled the size of the colony. Gambling and tourism have remained a staple of the Crystal Shore economy, and the Crystal Lake resort is still Brunhild’s largest employer.

Elsewhere on Brunhild, mining is a growth industry, and the IPRE operated uranium mine at Green Lakes is now the second largest employer on the moon. In the south, the town of Camp Jack grew up as an improvised settlement for illegal miners, prospectors and smugglers. This illegal settlement has been able to operate as a base for criminal activity for over twenty years with very little outside interference. Recent attempts to remove it have been thwarted, causing much embarrassment to colonial authorities.

Government

Five years ago, Brunhild was granted official colony status by the government of Earth, and former British MP Michael Barnes was appointed as its governor. A council of prominent local businessmen was also formed to act as the colony’s governing body, with Barnes as its chairman. Since the formation of this crude government, attempts have been made to enforce stricter rule of law on Brunhild and to deal with the problems caused by the unlawful settlement of Camp Jack, however this has been largely ineffective due to a lack of available manpower, corruption, and the lack of respect the council commands. Of the council’s 10 members, 2 represent the Crystal Lake casino resort, 2 are employed by Galaher Enterprises, 2 are employed by IPRE and 2 by AgroBio Transport and Shipping; only one – a representative of a local workers union – is democratically elected. The council meets once every 6 months in the Crystal Towers Casino, the resort town of Crystal Shore having been named Brunhild’s official capital.


This article was written by Mark Ball.