Name: PFCX-669 (Sauna)
Location: Unknown; under analysis by Pathfinder at the present time.
Atmosphere: Earth-like mixture, higher in total greenhouse gas mixture
Planetary Type: Terrestrial/Borderline Greenhouse
Sauna was discovered relatively recently; orbiting a type F2 star at a distance that puts it in approximately the same section of the habitable zone as Earth, the first explorers thought they’d found a perfect world for exploration and exploitation. The Pandora gate sits atop an outcropping of bedrock that rises up from a jungle of massive ferns and more exotic kinds of plants, none of which appear to be flowering.
It took some surveying and orbital mapping to realize that the world is somewhere less ideal than hoped; a modest-sized continent sits near the northern pole, where the gate is, and it hosts most of the functional biosphere on the planet. The other two major continents suffer massive desertification, with remnants of other fernlike forests evident amid the parched wastes and a few scraps of isolated life clinging to the cooler peaks.
The oceans are a disaster – chemical sampling suggests that the planet suffered a massive release of carbon dioxide and methane at some point in the geologically recent past, and the oceans are nearly empty of complex life due to their heightened acidity. With what little life remains, the biosphere is starting to recover as the oceans sequester at atmospheric carbon, but the entire planet is squeezing through an evolutionary bottleneck.
The main transhuman presence on the planet stems from the gate colony and a pair of terraforming settlements, one on each of the desert continents, where terraforming theories are being tested to try to bring the greenhouse effect under control faster than the natural environment could. Of the two, the southernmost settlement, Prism, has had the most obvious success; they use quick-growing algae modified to be more tolerant to an acid environment to sequester atmospheric CO2, feeding harvested biomass into fabbers that render them into pourous spheres that get buried in the loose dust, providing dense nutrients ready for the planned second stage, which will be an attempt to spread the polar fern-forest after engineering it for increased heat tolerance.
Other transhuman presence on Sauna include groups of ecologists studying the strange non-flowering biosphere, paleontologists attempting to dig up the history of the world, and a small clave of conspiracy-chasers who are convinced that intellgient life once lived on Sauna, only to exterminate themselves with runaway climate change.