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Neptune Station: Undersea Research Facility, University, and Community

This was the featured article in the June 2015 issue. In order to keep page loading time and memory requirements reasonable, the article has been broken up into several pages. Even so, viewing these pages is not recommended on download links with speeds less than 1Mbps, and true broadband capability is strongly recommended.

Station Overview

Neptune Station is an undersea science station located in 480 feet of water on a seamount. As a multinational government and commercial venture some compromise exists even in its architecture. Some participants argued for a domed community, while others, particularly those with undersea mining investments desired stacked modules placed in pits excavated from the seamount itself, thus the research station community is a mix of those two designs. The station serves as post-graduate schools in oceanography and marine biology for major universities from each member state involved at the station project (18 are nation states and 34 are multinational corporations).

The station houses a permanent population just over 500, of which nearly 400 are students attending the university. The remainder includes the university staff, research station scientists, hydroponics workers, security officers, physicians and health care workers, moon pool maintenance crew, and the managers and employees of the restaurant and shops operating within the main habitat dome, as well as cleaning, engineering and warehouse staff.

Each dome is framed in titanium alloy in a proprietary, non-geodesic design holding a composite glass that withstands great external pressures. Beneath the large dome and the two smaller domes connected to the southwest sit atop disc shaped modular levels that stack into excavated round pits cut into the seamount below. The two smaller domes connected to the southward tube have no levels beneath.

Editor’s Note: Neptune Station has been released commercially by the author as a set of maps for Virtual Tabletop systems such as Roll20, at $3.99 from DrivethruRPG. The commercial products are at higher resolution than the maps presented here.

Author’s Note: if you ignore the undersea aspects in the areas surrounding the main map, as well as finding an alternative to the moon pool, and oceanography dome, this facility could easily work as a planetary space station on an airless or exotic atmosphere environment, so it’s doesn’t solely have to serve as an undersea facility. This map can be more versatile than that.

The commercial versions of the mapped station are currently scaled at 1 inch = 10 feet. The large, main map measures 7272 inches, so from edge to edge the area shown depicts 720 feet making the station an entire, compact undersea town and really quite extensive. This means rescaling it to 1 inch = 5 feet would rescale the dimensions to be 144144 inches, meaning you would have to divide this map into 4 quarters to display on platforms like Roll20. At the 1 inch = 5 feet scale, even the sublevels and the main habitat level would be larger than 7272, so a single full level couldn’t be displayed in its entirety on a Roll20 screen.