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I am trying to design an exploration team so that they can explore what Kepler Bb, the planet I am constructing, has in store for them. Here are some things I want for my exploration team:

  • They must be able to see the world around them from all points of view (top down, bottom up, low, high)
  • They must not have too many or allergies are a much higher risk
  • There must not be too few people or the chances of success will be low
  • The team must be able to address the threats listed below

Threats present on this planet:

Venomous Animals

Venom is a concern - mild, but still concerning. Even though these people have a super immune system that reacts quickly to venom and poison, some people might be allergic to venom without realizing it. So it isn't the venom directly that is the problem but rather the amount of venom and chance of allergies. I mean, if Alma, one of my characters, stands her ground against a venomous snake, she might get bit more than once. This could lead to allergies or worse, death. That is a big problem for a small civilization, and more so for a much smaller exploration team.

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Allergy from venom

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All that might be left after death, a skeleton.

Natural disasters

If you are exploring, you don't have a permanent shelter. And while I envision some underground colonies, in which my explorers can handle pretty much any disaster (from floods and droughts to tornadoes and blizzards), an exploration team away from any underground city would not be nearly as prepared. Here are just a few natural disasters they will have to face:

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Wildfires are not common on Kepler Bb but can happen before thunderstorms. Burns are a major risk even far away from the fire because fire spreads quickly, and is especially hot. The only safe spots outside the underground cities will be wherever water is, like in rivers and lakes.

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Floods are a big problem for people outside the cities, especially flash floods. They can come without warning and drowning is a risk, especially for children and weak people. A baby can drown in just a few inches of water, way below their head level. Weak people will more easily sink to the bottom and drown there.

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Blizzards are uncommon but even with several layers of warm clothes and as little exposed as possible (only the nose and mouth to breathe and the eyes to see) frostbite (essentially a cold burn) is a major risk.


These are just a few of the natural disasters they will have to face. This is where high numbers come in handy, because the more settlers there are, the higher the chance of survival is for every single one.

Additional Problems
So I mean, they might want to pack a lot of stuff (A single Kepler Bb humanoid can carry a whole bear for a short distance without muscle injury). But that leads to higher risk of muscle injury, or if they trip, fractures. It would probably be mostly water, and other essentials they are carrying, but individuals like my character Alma will be able to fly; when Alma is in flight mode (not the "fight or flight" type but you know, actually flying) she has secret pockets in her wings to carry precious stuff like maps, bird chicks, and her little girl, Kate.

Context Related to Problems with Packing
In fact, in one of my previous chapters Alma started exploring at 8 years old and a convocation of eagles stopped her in her tracks and she had to find a water source. Once she found that water source she got an eaglet from the convocation of eagles, put it in one of her wing pockets, carried it home and then flew back east towards the river to catch some fish and made a pond back home.

Anyway, what would be a reasonable size for an exploration team?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Zxyrra, Green, Frostfyre, Thucydides, kingledion Dec 14 '16 at 18:11

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ I do not understand this at all. There is so much random information here. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Dec 6 '16 at 3:04
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    $\begingroup$ @kingledion I tried to sort their information and strain out some irrelevant stuff; grammar and mechanics should be better. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Dec 6 '16 at 4:00
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    $\begingroup$ Caters, while all contributions on this site are welcome, I've noticed that a couple of your more recent questions have had some of the same problems. It would help us if you proofread questions for clarity, tried to keep it clear what you've been asking by including less story-based information and more question-based concerns, and elaborated on things that others might not know about (underground cities? Alma? Kepler Bb? Wing pockets?). It may also be useful if you link to related questions, as you have asked several in the "Kepler Bb" series. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Dec 6 '16 at 4:04
  • $\begingroup$ This is a story-telling problem, not a worldbuilding problem. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 14 '16 at 13:01
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I'm going to try and answer this, even though it's a mess. I don't mean to be rude, but reading your question makes me wonder if you are a child yourself. Who sends children, babies and...an eagle(?!) to explore Exoplanets?

Anyway...

Preparing the exploration

Exploring an entire planet is not something that would be possible nor planned as a one-time en-devour. Planets are huge, even with very advanced technology that would speed up exploration it would take ages.

Previous to any exploration by humans, Exoplanets would be visited by robots, and other autonomous vehicles, like this. It then would become clear if the planet is of any interest to humankind:

  1. Colonization
  2. Resources (Minerals, Water, ...)
  3. Strategic/military importance

At that point it would be already clear if the area of interest is dangerous to humans. If there are hazards that can be dealt with, an exploration force would, well, just prepare to deal with it. Just think of how NASA prepared for the human moon exploration. Space, or in this case the surface of the moon, is an extremely hostile environment, way more than some venom or a blizzard. Apollo 11 had a crew of 3.

You cannot take in consideration every single issue the exploration of an alien world could come up with. If the environment is considered too hostile for human exploration, and there is nothing that can be done about it, exploration just won't happen.

If possible, human exploration of a small and confined area of the planet would commence.

Exploration

The first exploration team on a new planet would probably be very small. Cost does play a role, since space travel costs a lot of money, but risk has probably also a major role in it. Since, as stated above, the only other celestial body a human has set foot on is the moon, and those where 2 of 3 men in the Apollo 11 mission, I'll use examples of explorations teams active here on earth.

The exploration of the north pole in recent decades happened with teams of just a few men. Such expeditions usually are of short duration and the area that is explored is relatively small.

If a base or colony of some sort can be established, which can support further explorations, larger teams would be deployed. In the 19th century part of north America were explored by the Corps of Discovery, 37 men that went on exploring for 3 years.

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