The Scintillayer

Satellite debris in orbit

There is so much debris orbiting the earth that it effectively cuts the planet off from leaving to or entering from space. It's quite pretty though, looking like somebody sprinkled glitter across the sky.


There are two predominant clouds of orbital debris. Those in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) comprise the first cloud and cover the planet like a carpet and are typically the source of most of the shiny flashes in the sky as they tumble in the sunlight. The second is the ring of Geostationary debris (GEO) which circles the equator at a significantly higher altitude and is rarely seen by those on the surface except on the darkest moonless nights.   Between these two is an assortment of random debris from spacecraft and the leftovers of the once vital GPS satellites.

Fauna & Flora

Before the great cataclysm, there were a number of orbiting research stations and even a way station for planned missions to Mars. There is a possibility that some of these stations may have survived but are forever cut off from the planet.

Natural Resources

Orbiting debris falls to earth regularly. Rarely does any material survive the descent to impact the surface. But when it does, the debris is quickly scavenged as it is one of the few sources of (readily useable) advanced materials available to Rifts Earth.
A representation of the orbital debris surrounding planet Earth in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and out to about where the GPS satellites once were in medium earth orbit. The orbits of satellites in medium earth orbit beyond the GPS altitude and those of geostationary satellites are outside the scope of this image..
The Scintillayer cover
Most people on Rifts Earth have no knowledge of space travel or even of satellite technology. Furthermore, since generations have lived their entire lives under the glittering sky, they do not think it unusual at all. As a result, some cultures have accepted a generated or adopted mythology or for the glittering sky.   Most explanations state something along the lines of every sparkle is someone's passing into heaven and that all the sparkles are all the people in heaven. Somewhat along those lines is the thought that the sparkles are lost souls who are in limbo, caught between returning to earth or advancing to become a permanent star.
Alternative Name(s)
MOD Cloud, The Shattersphere, The Heavenly Host, Lost Souls
Planetoid / Moon

Cover image: Tulcor's Rifts World Title by Tulcor


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