Kerhb, designator RS 1187-2598-8-1793082-47 1 (0.9.7.4rc1), is a unique dwarf desert planet located along the outer edge of the Andromeda galaxy and is home to equally unique organic unicellular life.
It is the first of seven planets orbiting an extremely dim T3-class brown dwarf and has one asteroid moon.
Kerhb is one of the most intriguing worlds yet discovered by the crew of the WDS Isvoy. For example, despite the planet's small diameter and low gravity, Kerhb maintains a relatively dense pure-Xenon atmosphere. Furthermore, Kerhb has two very large and powerful auroral belts, suggesting the planet has an abnormally metallic core. Finally, Kerhb hosts Xenon-based unicellular life, an extreme rarity in the Universe.
For some unknown reason, even though Kerhb is a desert world, existing on the planet is a massive hurricane. Perhaps, it is theorized, the storm feeds off of heat radiating from the terrain's surface, since the world is tidally locked. Also, it may just consist of some sort of cloud vapor, which the shipboard computer could not detect. Furthermore, no rain from the storm was visible. Clearly, these phenomena require further study.
Kerhb is located along the outer edge of the Andromeda galaxy and was discovered using a new tool of a recent SCART update. Kerhb is the first of seven planets orbiting a T3-class brown dwarf and completes an orbit of the star every 2.874 Earth days. Scientists were initially perplexed at why a planet so small in diameter, nearly ten times smaller than Earth, had such a thick atmosphere. One clue seen was in the planet's mass. It was measured at 0.002 Earth mass, suggesting loosely packed material, or numerous caverns below the surface traveling straight through the planet.
Kerhb is rather hot at around 93 degrees Celsius due to its semimajor axis of only 1.7 million kilometers, approximately. Outgassing through subterranean vents is one contributor to the planet's temperature. It could be that unicellular life is actually what is carving tunnels through the planet, thus causing Kerhb's mass to be far less than otherwise expected.
A terraforming study was conducted, and while Kerhb could be terraformed, it is not advised due to the amount of light the planet receives from its parent T3 dwarf; it was concerning that darkness-based dementia could render any colonists insane. That, and the cost of removing an entire atmosphere, would surely destroy all unique life on the planet. It was concluded to leave Kerhb unaffected and simply perform a detailed study of the planet. After all, life has not been discovered around such a dim star before; maybe within binary system where the other star supplies most of the heat, but not a single T-class.
Parent T3 Brown Dwarf
The central brown dwarf seems to be well-behaved, and probing the star's history has shown that it seldom suffers from CMEs, likely giving life a chance to flourish. When it does unleash a CME, they usually are very small and localized, and does not affect the dwarf planet. They usually originate from bands of hot plasma clouds in the star's southern hemisphere. However, light levels are so low on the planet, how life ever arose is a mystery, and is one the crew of the Isvoy hopes to solve.
Life first appeared on Kerhb around 750 million years ago and still remains in a unicellular state. During this time, a complex ecosystem comprised of millions of unique species of bacteria and single-celled fungi has formed.
Cells have evolved a variant of photosynthesis that can make use of almost any wavelength of radiation energy emitted from the planet's parent star. Thus, almost all life lies in the mountainous highlands of the planet's day side, since at these altitudes Kerhb's atmosphere does little to filter out radiation. For this same reason, life cannot survive in areas often covered by clouds, such as low-lying plains, salt flats, and the planet's entire night side.
Initially, all life on Kerhb was Carbon-based; however, around 100 million years ago a certain species of bacteria evolved a method of utilizing the abundance of Xenon in Kerhb's atmosphere. Since then, life on Kerhb has split into two major groups: Carbon-based life and Xenon-based life. The difference has given the two groups distinct advantages, as Carbon-based organisms tend to be more complex and highly suited for a single environment while Xenon-based organisms are capable of very rapid reproduction in almost any region life can be found in.
Kerhb has only one tiny asteroid moon 28.4 kilometers in diameter, and is roughly shaped like a piece of popped popcorn. This caused some crewmembers to joke around, and soon the moon was jokingly referred to as "the most delicious asteroid ever". The captain, however, named the moon after a prominent Earth scientist, a Dr. Boothe Edway. Edway is an average chondrite asteroid that likely wandered into Kerhb's orbit and aerobroke uncontrollably. It was then likely impacted by another asteroid, gaining momentum. This would explain the "popcorn" shape and its orbit around Kerhb.