Altair Prime is estimated to be slightly older than planets such as Katia and Terra, approximately six billion years old, compared to their more standard four billion. As a result, Altair Prime is a planet ironically past its 'prime'-- while the planet still supports life, it is nowhere near as lush and verdant as it once was, according to the planet's abundant fossil record.
By that fossil record, Altair Prime's main window of life was approximately a billion years ago, when it supported many populations of flora and fauna, with millions of species, most of them still being discovered by Imperial scientists. Sometime within the last 500 million years or so, the planet suffered a minor cataclysm when some force shifted the tilt of its axis, changing the environment and killing off over 90% of the life on the planet.
Composition and StructureEdit
While Altair Prime is not a dead world, it is a world in decline, and this is evident not only on the surface but also in its composition. It is composed mostly of dense, heavy materials, and while it is still geologically active, its tectonic plates move very little. The upshot of this is that Altair Prime suffers from few earthquakes, but this also shows that the core inside the planet is slowly cooling down, and in the span of 500 million to another billion years, the planet may more closely resemble Mars.
The planet has abundant mineral deposits, but the exact nature of these deposits are a closely-guarded secret of the Katian Empire, who guards those numbers out of tactical conserns.
Altair Prime's atmosphere is breathable, at least by most humanoid standards. Its weather, however, is notoriously brutal, with extreme colds in winter and extreme heat waves in the summer. At higher elevations the air does get dangerously thin, and only the younger generations recently born on Altair (rather than those who immigrated to the planet after the Katian Civil War) seem to be able to tolerate living at those heights.
Oceans, lakes, and seas make up very little of Altair's overall composition, with less than 20% of the planet being covered in water during most of the year. During the "spring monsoons" that number swells to closer to 25%, with widespread flooding occurring in various regions of the planet. Over the course of the following summer, that 5% is re-evaporated back into the atmosphere again.
Orbit and RotationEdit
Altair Prime has a mean solar day, day consisting of 32 standard hours, giving it a longer day than most home-worlds, but the locals have adapted to it and abide by it. Many Imperials take it as a symbol of pride that their day "accomplishes more than most other days".
The Altair Prime solar year is also slightly longer, but only by a few weeks, giving it a year length of 58 standard weeks, though this also varies-- Altair Prime occasionally suffers from the gravity of nearby gas giants which pull on the planet, rushing its orbit for a period of time, a phenomena that Imperial scientists call "tidal rushing".
Moons and SatellitesEdit
Altair Prime has only one natural satellite that could be considered a moon, though it is more accurately considered a 'trapped asteroid', not unlike the moons of Mars. Emperor Gabriel Manx named the moon 'Guardian' shortly after founding the Empire on Altair. This name was made all the more appropriate after a large missile and planetary defense base was established there.
Like any civilized world, the planet also has a large number of small artificial satellites, typically providing telecommunications assistance, but also providing constant surveilance and monitoring of the Imperial citizens below. An extensive GDI (or Global Defense Initiative) screen exists over the planet as well, shielding the planet from space-based missile attacks.