The Origins I probes were designed to confirm Earth life-capable planets. Although, the space agencies referred to them by their official name, the media chose to refer to them as Terra Nova probes after the broader organization that funded their construction and deployment.

Built by the BoeingLockheed plant on the far side of the Moon under contract to the Terra Nova Consortium, these probes consisted of a Winglee drive, a deep space communications package, a full spectrum sensor array, a biosciences spectroanalyzer, and an artificial intelligence (AI) control system. The sensitive probe was housed in a transport carapace the size of a small floaterbus that was jettisoned upon reaching the destination. The Winglee drive produced a 1,000km plasma sail which protected the instrument package from stellar radiation, and also produced a peak acceleration of 258.2kps and a velocity of .28C or 84,000kps.

Probes were named for the 88 constellations and given an additional numeric designator to identify their sequence position. The first of the Terra Nova probes was commissioned Ceti I and launched by maglev mass driver toward a colony-world candidate in 2038 CE. It orbited τ Ceti 4 in 2058 CE after traveling 5.7 light-years. The Terra Nova Institute received first data from the probe in 2064 CE.

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