1986VG1 designation is based on the minor planet naming conventions used by the International Astronomical Union. In this naming convention, the designation is more accurately depicted as
1986 VG1 and it translates to the following:
- 1986 – The first element indicates the year of discovery.
- V – The first letter indicates the half-month of the object's discovery within that year.
Vindicates the period from November 1 to 15.
- G1 – The second letter and following numerical suffix indicate the order of discovery within that half-month. The first 25 discoveries in a half-month receive a letter from
Iis never used) and any sequences after that use a number to show how many sequences of 25 letters have been already used.
G1means that one letter sequence has already been used, and
Gis the seventh letter in the sequence, making this the 32nd minor planet discovered in the half-month period.
In the packed form of minor planet designations,
1986VG1 would be designated
Sometime by 1994, a rogue extrasolar asteroid (later named Polyphemus) entered the Solar System and struck Ulysses. This impact event caused Ulysses to shatter into an estimated 10,000 fragments that formed an asteroid cluster with a long elliptical orbit around the Sun. Scientists discovered the cluster in 1994 and predicted that its orbit would cross into Earth's orbit in 1999 and cause a devastating impact event on Earth.
Orbital diversion tactics were scrapped because they couldn't divert the orbit of every individual fragment approaching Earth. Instead, the world's countries worked together to develop a railgun network that would attack and destroy the fragments when entering the atmosphere. They named the network Stonehenge, after the monument in England.
"Stonehenge Type-0", a prototype located in North China, was the first to be constructed. "Stonehenge Type-1" was next, constructed in the eastern United States of America. "Type-2" was then constructed in Australia, "Type-3" in Turkey, "Type-4" in Namibia, and "Type-5" in Argentina. The latter four facilities were sometimes collectively referred to as "Type-5"s, presumably due to similarities in their construction.
Impact and immediate effects
In July 1999, the Ulysses cluster crossed the Roche limit and began to impact all over Earth. The Stonehenge networks destroyed as many of the fragments as they could, but a large number still broke through. Indeterminate swaths of people were killed and the world's infrastructure was almost completely destroyed. The devastation caused a brutal collapse of international stability and the global economy entered a state of chaos, especially in the Eurasian continent that endured the most damage. In one extreme circumstance, Japan relocated its capital after Tokyo suffered significant damage and at least one direct hit to the city.
The Ulysses Disaster forced many Eruasian countries to reorganize as regional federations. They diverted almost the entirety of their military budgets to reconstruction efforts, leading so-called "revival budgets" to constitute 58% of the world's economy (an estimated $1.845 trillion USD) in the early 21st century. Military expenditure dropped to a meager 3%.
Many fragments of Ulysses that failed to burn up in the atmosphere or strike the planet became stuck in orbit around Earth. In the decades following the impact, fragments would continue to sporadically rain down onto the planet.
Rise of Wernher Noah
The territory lost in the Ulysses impacts depleted the world's energy sources. This caused disputes between countries over the remaining natural resources; these disputes escalated into regional wars, which caused even more civilians to end up as refugees. The European Union, Russia, and some Asian countries created semi-autonomous regions to handle the refugees. Iyuli, one such region located in southern Russia, was the largest and took in a large number of refugees, but treated them poorly with subpar living conditions and cheap labor. Native demonstrations were held against "foreign workers" which threatened the fragile peace in the surrounding region.
Wernher and Noah Enterprises, a private military contractor, stepped in during the midst of the rising conflicts. Most military spending was redirected to Wernher Noah and the company experienced large growth in the aftermath of the disaster. The company offered to support the job market in Iyuli and other refugee zones in similar situations. The countries overseeing these zones welcomed Wernher and offered large areas of land for Wernher's operations. In return, Wernher hired and trained many foreign workers for its booming military projects as well as its entry into the energy and space sectors. Wernher also helped train pilots to use the aircraft produced by its Advanced Automated Aviation Plants. All of these actions resulted in major economic growth in the refugee zones and a reduction in the regional conflicts.
By 2019, Wernher's large weapon stockpiles made breeding grounds out of the refugee zones for armed extremist groups. They united under a multinational network calling itself the Sons of Troia. Arrows Air Defense and Security and the United Nations Forces found themselves fighting against these terrorists in their resulting insurgency. This even included the Sons of Troia commandeering Stonehenge Type-3 in Turkey, forcing Arrows to destroy the facility. This later escalated into a world war known as the USEAn War after the terrorists' leader, Kacper Cohen, formed the USEA Federation and aimed to replace the United Nations.
Wernher Noah was also involved in creating the Orbital Laser Defense System, a satellite that would vaporize or redirect remaining fragments in the atmosphere to protect Earth. However, Kacper Cohen and Wernher's research and development division secretly used the platform to develop a destructive weapon that could send fragments raining down onto the surface. The OLDS was utilized during the United Nations Forces' Operation Bunker Shot, destroying a large number of UNF ships but failing to prevent the UNF's victory in the operation.
Ulysses impact sites
Several major impacts caused fragments of various sizes to break away from:
- Southern West Africa (Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon)
- North Atlantic Ocean, south of Sierra Leone and Liberia
- Generated four additional impacts from breakaway fragments, reaching as far as south of Cote d'Ivoire.
- Northern Madagascar
- South Sudan or Central African Republic
- Chad, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria
- East India
- Tokyo, Japan
- Jōtō Crater
- Hokkaido, Japan
- South Italy
- Parts of Eastern Europe
- North East Pakistan
- Parts of Russia
- North East and South China
- The Philippines
- Pacific Ocean near Indonesia
- South America
- Central America
- North America
- Western United States
- Northern Canada
- Pacific Ocean near the US west coast
- Yucatán, Mexico
- Atlantic Ocean
1986VG1 Ulysses shares its name with the real-life 5254 Ulysses, which was provisionally designated "1986 VG1". 5254 Ulysses is a Jupiter trojan instead of a natural satellite orbiting Jupiter (5254 orbits the Sun in a similar orbit to Jupiter's).