- Side 3 redirects here. For the album by The Raspberries, see Side 3 (album)
In the fictional Gundam anime metaseries
, space colonies
play a pivotal role in ever-changing stories. Below is an explanation of the colonies in each of the Gundam
For a list of known colonies and asteroids in the Universal Century see Universal Century locations.
In the Universal Century (UC) timeline, space colonies are placed at the five Earth-Moon Lagrangian points. In most cases, a Lagrangian point is home to more than one group of space colonies. Individual colony pairs are known as Bunches, and a group of colonies that occupy a Lagrangian point are known collectively as a Side. Because Sides sometimes share a single Lagrangian point, it is possible to have two Sides in close orbit to one another. Most colonies in the Universal Century are O'Neill "Island 3" type colony cylinders, yet a few early built Bernal sphere (Island 1) and Stanford torus colonies are still in function, but most are changed to space stations or discarded. Side 3's colonies are identical in size and shape to the Island 3 design, but doubled the habitable area by removing the large window strips of the Island 3. Instead, close-type colonies were lighted through numerous smaller windows. Following the One Year War, in which the Earth Sphere's population was reduced by more than half, close-type colonies fell out of favor, as the smaller population could easily be maintained in standard Island 3 cylinders. A unique case was the Sweetwater colony at Side 3, which was composed of a closed type fused with an open type. The design was only used once, as it proved unstable, and was simply a means for the Federation to contain Zeon refugees. Sweetwater Colony features prominently in the UC motion picture Char's Counterattack as a Neo-Zeon base.
The first 50 years of the Universal Century were spent building the various colonies and placing them at the Lagrangian points, as well as colonizing the moon. By UC0050 nine billion of the 11 billion people in the Federation live in space colonies or on the moon. In UC0051 the Federation froze plans for additional colony development, and in UC0084 reorganized the remaining Sides into different Lagrangian Points. With the re-organization of the Sides completed, the Federation announced that the status quo would be maintained. In the latter half of the Second Universal Century the construction of new colonies was restarted.
Some colonies were also maintained in orbit around Jupiter, as part of the Jupiter Energy Fleet's Helium-3 mining operation. These colonies were also of the O'Neill Island 3 type. (Mobile Suit Gundam – V Gundam)
Future Century (FC) space colonies are created as artistic representation of the culture of the sponsor nation, rather than being based on proposed real-world colony designs. For example, Neo Japan is made of four modules in the shape of the four main islands of Japan, Neo France is supported on a bouquet of roses, and Neo America is a five-point star with replicas of notable American landmarks on the surface. (G Gundam
The colonies in the After Colony (AC) timeline (Gundam Wing
) are generally based on the Stanford "Island 2" type layout
, and are also located in gravitationally stable areas around the Earth. Colonies in the A.C. Timeline are identified primarily by Lagrange point
, although travel time between colonies (even to L3) appears trivial.
The first colony of the AC timeline was completed in AC 001, and colonial development continued peacefully until AC 040, when the fighting on Earth spread to the colonies, many of which were uncompleted. Several of these uncompleted colonies were damaged by the resulting war. Colony funding was reduced to a trickle in A.C. 060, and disputes over the theft of materials in A.C. 070 prompted the Middle Eastern nations to step in as mediators for other nations, and to help with the colonial construction, they also began mining the asteroids. By A.C. 102 Colony L1 was completed, and 15% of the Earth's population moved to the Orbital Village at L1. The rest of the colonies were completed soon thereafter, resulting in mass emigration to space. (Gundam Wing/Endless Waltz)
Space colonies in the After War timeline (and those dropped on Earth at the end of the 7th Space War) are identical to the O'Neill "Island 3" type colony cylinders
seen in the Universal Century timeline. (Gundam X
To date, this is the only Gundam
calendar timeframe not to have space colonies. Most of CC's space colonies, except those on the moon
, whose population eventually became known as the Moonrace, were destroyed long ago when the Moonlight Butterfly destroyed all technological remnants. The remainder left for interstellar space. (Turn A Gundam
For a list of known colonies in the Cosmic Era see Cosmic Era locations.
A small number of colonies in the Cosmic Era (CE) timeline are designed on the O'Neill Island 3 design (such as Heliopolis at L3) or the Bernal Island 1 (like Mendel at L4), however, the most common space colonies are titanic, thirty-kilometer long hourglass shaped colonies called PLANTs (Productive Location Ally on Nexus Technology), each of which has a population in excess of 240,000 Coordinators (virtually no Naturals live in the PLANTs). The PLANTs are arranged into "cities" named after the months of the year and located at and around L5. Each city has a particular group of scientific specialties (for example, Martius City specializes in aerospace technology and shipbuilding).
Most Natural-occupied space colonies (the ones built on traditional designs) were destroyed early in the Bloody Valentine War by ZAFT forces, and the primary moonbase of the Earth Alliance was destroyed by the GENESIS laser at the end of the war, so virtually all of the humans living in space as of Cosmic Era 73 are Coordinators. This had disastrous consequences for the human race when the remains of the destroyed space colony Junius Seven (250,000 dead) were dropped on the Earth with the intent of causing the extinction of all Naturals (and subsequently, as the fertility of Coordinators drops off sharply with the third and subsequent generations, the extinction of the entire human race). (Gundam SEED/Gundam SEED Destiny)
The Gundam 00
timeline has very few colonies, the only known colonies being Krung Threp, operated by Celestial Being as the manufacturing and testing site for their Gundams; the Human Reform League's Quanqiu Bernal Sphere-type colony, which is connected to a solar power collection satellite and is home to a Supersoldier developmental facility; and a colony owned by the Union. By 2312, when the Earth Sphere Federation was founded, they had created another colony from beyond the asteroid belt.
It was hinted during Celestial Being's incursion into Quanqiu that combat within the colonies is forbidden by a treaty drafted during the Solar Conflicts.
The average space colony, no matter which universe it may reside in, has a set of dimension that are measured in miles
, which easily makes the space colonies the largest (improvised) ballistic weapons ever built, and it is not uncommon to see space-borne armies (like the Principality of Zeon) capturing or commandeering the colonies to drop them on the Earth. Due to their immense size, no fleet or mobile suit weapons are able to stop them. Only giant space weapons--such as the Solar System
superweapon in 0083, or specialized mobile suit weapons such as the Zero Buster Rifle in Gundam Wing--could ever hope to damage a falling colony significantly enough to prevent large scale terrestrial damage.
A colony drop of any sort has massive consequences for the Earth, usually drastic changes in climate and weather, and the loss of land due to the impact. Because of the tremendous damage caused by colony drops, any type of drop operation is usually viewed as the use of a weapon of mass destruction.
- Operation British: Zeon forces capture a depopulated cylinder (Island Iffish Colony) and attempt to drop it on Jaburo, the Earth Federation's subterranean headquarters. The Federation intervenes, and the colony's course is altered, resulting in 16% of Australia's land mass to be destroyed, including Sydney. In the novel version the colony fell on New York.
- Operation Stardust: The Delaz fleet captures two colony cylinders, forcing one (Island Ease Colony) off course. Originally thought to be targeted at the moon, the cylinder was reprogrammed to fall on the Earth. An attempt to destroy the cylinder with the Federation's Solar System II failed, and the colony landed in the American Midwest.
- Operation Apollo: The Titans attempt a colony drop on the lunar city Von Braun. The drop was unsuccessful after AEUG forces intervene.
- Haman Khan's Neo-Zeon forces drop a colony on Dublin, Ireland in Double Zeta Gundam as an attempt to kill civilians to demonstrate Neo-Zeon's power. While successful, the AUEG and Karaba are able to rescue some of the refugees before the impact.
- Char Aznable's Neo Zeon drops the asteroid 5th Luna onto Lhasa, Tibet. An attempt by the group to drop the mining colony Axis fails after the Neo Zeon are intercepted by Londo Bell forces.
- AC195- (early in year): Operation Meteor: The original Operation Meteor called for dozens of colonies to be dropped in order to create chaos on Earth for the five Gundams to take advantage of; however the orders to drop were ignored by the scientists who were charged with the construction of the Gundams, as they believed the Gundams alone to be enough and that they wouldn't have to commit mass murder.
- AC195- Eve Wars (December): The colony-sized space battleship Libra, after losing its primary beam cannon due to a collision with the similar-sized enemy battleship Peacemillion, was ordered to collide with the Earth. Swift action undertaken by the Gundam pilots on behalf of Earth pushed the two ships away from the planet and eliminated what parts of Libra that had broken off in the upper atmosphere.
- AC196-AC197- Operation Meteor: Dekim Barton's plan's involve dropping the 13-mile wide colony X18999 onto the Earth, and seizing control of the Earth Sphere Unified Nation. Swift action undertaken by the Preventers and the Gundam pilots; Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, and Trowa Barton were able to foil the plan before it could come to fruition.
- The remains of the PLANT colony Junius Seven are seized by an ultra-radical ZAFT unit loyal to Patrick Zala, with plans to drop it onto the Earth. Upon hearing of the plan, PLANT Supreme Council Chairman Gilbert Durandal sends the Minerva to stop them. At the same time, a strike team led by Dearka Elsman and Yzak Joule executes an EVA to plant a set of drills to plant charges with the intent of shattering the remains into smaller pieces. The strike team is ambushed by the radicals, who are in turn counter-attacked and ultimately defeated by the Joule team, along with Athrun Zala-led forces from the Minerva. However, the ambush is successful enough that the colony is only split into 2 pieces, forcing the Minerva to descend into the atmosphere to fire its Tannhauser positron blaster cannon to break up the colony as much as possible before the ship has to start proper reentry procedures. The Minerva succeeds in reducing the size of the fragments, but many pieces impact the Earth anyway, causing the destruction of many areas, including Rome, what appears to be Shanghai, and other metropolitan areas. Still, ZAFT's intervention makes the destruction far less severe than it would have been otherwise.
- In After War Gundam X, the Seventh Space War ends when virtually all space colonies are dropped on Earth, the largest and most destructive colony drop in the Gundam metaverse. The event kills 99% of humanity, either directly or in the aftermath, leaving Earth a post-apocalyptic waste when Gundam X takes place. The colony drop is the basis event of the After War timeline.