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Although usually associated with asteroid habitats, interstellar habitats are completely different. The two mark different eras in the history of the Affiliated Habitats, interstellar habitats being the early times when the Affiliated Habitats had nothing to do with the Zambarau Concord, asteroid habitats representing the later era in which the Affiliated Habitats co-operate with the Concord and begin to build within the solar systems. This difference is evident in the functions of the two types of habitat. Asteroid habitats are colonies, usually dependant on planets or other habitats to supply each other; interstellar habitats are almost completely self sufficient, operating in a closed ecological cycle (with a daily efficiency of 99.9999% and enough supplies to last 200 years in an emergency, an interstellar habitat could theoretically last for nearly 14,511 years before its closed ecology starts to collapse). Interstellar habitats are huge constructions; capable of housing millions of people.

When the Drones and Clones first left the Zambarau Concord they left in asteroid habitats, but soon, to increase efficiency, these were turned into much smoother cylindrical habitats, made of sheet metal processed from the asteroids. This much more efficient use of the ore from their origional asteroid habitats meant that they could build a much larger habitat (capable of housing 20 million people) from the origional asteroid habitats (capable of housing 30,000 people). Around the time the Affiliated Habitats started to be amalgamated back into the Concord these habitats were arranged into giant rings, each individual habitat illuminated through windows by a giant light source at the centre. Giant 'communal' habitats such as these existed on the routes between nearly every adjacent solar system in the Concord.

However, the Affiliated Habitats soon learned that they not going to integrate themselves into the Concord very well by putting their habitats together into giant 'service stations' between the stars; they had to make themselves into a destination. With access to the resources present in the solar systems, the Affiliated Habitats could now begin the first of its famous megaengineering projects.

After over a century of construction, the Affiliated Habitats completed the interstellar habitat we know today. These habitats are giant belts or rings, 2000 kilometres in diameter and 500 kilometres wide, only carbon nanotubes (or rarely DCMs) are strong enough to support such a huge structure. The habitat spins for artificial gravity and giant, 100 kilometre high synthetic diamond walls prevent the atmosphere from 'spilling' over the edge; the great advantage of these habitats is that they are open to space (the artificial gravity and diamond walls stop the habitat from losing its atmosphere), so there is no complicated or congested docking system like in other habitats; landers can be sent down as if the habitat was a planet. Indeed, the interstellar habitats have been said to combine the best aspects of planetary and habitat-based living.

Currently, for political reasons, the populations of the interstellar habitats are not included in the official demographic total population of the Zambarau Concord.


 

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