AAA003: Utopias - Spotlight: Jessica

[Image for display purposes only and not a reflection of the actual project: [AAA003: Utopias: Navigating Without Co-ordinates [working title, ofc]]]

For our third project, AAA Collective is making Utopias. We are each creating our own interconnected worlds, and stitching them together via Unity and Unreal black magic. It's not easy for me to summarise, but I'd like to give you a small glimpse into my contribution:

A Phase Locked Planet

My Utopia is a phase locked planet, also sometimes called a tide locked planet. This means it does not rotate, like Earth, but always has one face to the sun and one face in the dark. By coincidence, you might have seen some news articles lately about Earth-like planets, since a new one, K2-18b, was just discovered, and shows signs of being phase locked. Other famous Earth-like (and probably tide locked) planets are planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system, and Proxima Centauri B. The general concept is that these worlds have similar temperatures and gravity to Earth, and show signs of atmosphere and liquid water.

Edge of the Sanctuary Zone 

On a phase locked planet, the atmosphere has to be thick enough to diffuse the sun's heat along the edge between light and dark, hopefully enough that we can survive there. This is sometimes called the terminator zone (Yes, like the movie! Earth's moon is phase locked). I am no scientist, but I like to imagine what life would be like on planets like this. And in a time when we are rapidly destroying our own extremely habitable planet, it's interesting to me that we would day dream about trying our luck on an impossibly distant and barely habitable rock.

Permanent Sunset Zone

Like K2-18b, the planet in my project also rotates around a red dwarf star - casting a red glow over everything, instead of yellow as on Earth. You can explore from the safety of the Sanctuary: the narrow strip between the dark and light sides of the planet. The atmosphere clings precariously to the ravine that runs down the middle of the planet, and there you can find liquid water, vegetation, and the planet's inhabitants. It's perpetually sunset.

Entrance to the Hot Zone

Beyond the Sanctuary, on the sun side of the planet, is a hostile desert. There is no atmosphere here, the surface is continuously bombarded with radiation.

Deep in the Cold Zone

Opposite to the sun side is perpetual night, frozen and also uninhabitable.

Sanctuary Residence Building Interior

One of the concepts that informed the design of my project was the absence of signs of time passing. If there are no night and day cycles, no seasons, how would you organise your life? In the Sanctuary, the sleeping area is in the static shadow of the mountains, but from the right angle you can always catch a comforting gentle sun ray. On the balcony, the sunbeams will always be there to greet you. It's day time whenever you wake up. When you are ready to sleep, you can retreat into the shadows.