Here’s a collection of source material that piled up:
Huge Ring System
Astronomers have discovered an exoplanet, in the system, J1407b, which is 200 times the size of the ring system of Saturn. There are also gaps in the rings which they think indicate the presence of moons there. The Contact Light setting has got to have at least one gigantic ring system like this!
Ancient Star System
In other news, Kepler has found an ancient planetary system. The system, Kepler-444, is 11.2 billion years old. It has at least five planets – all of them too hot to support life – but it means ancient systems can exist amidst much younger stars. Planets on which civilizations rose and fell long before life even got started elsewhere.
Science Fiction Atmospheres
In 2005, Prof. Pierrehumbert wrote an essay about Science Fiction Atmospheres.
There are Intergalactic Winds – I’ll have to do something with them.
TL 8 ASAT Technology
I am always looking to fleshing out those TL charts, and here is an example of TL8 ASAT technology at work.
I think most of you will probably know Starflight, but on the off chance that you don’t – here’s a decent Let’s Play of that 1986 science fiction classic.
(Scott does pretty good space-based game Let’s Play videos IMO.)
Starflight has been cited as one of the biggest inspiration for Mass Effect, and you can easily see many similarities.