Cosmic Bloom · Solaris Wiki | World Anvil

Cosmic Bloom

Welcome to Solaris, traveller! This is a slower-than-light science fantasy set in our own solar system.
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Content Warning:
This condition can cause death. It can also turn the skin translucent. It has some mental effects like inducing claustrophobia. There are no images.
Cosmic Bloom is caused by an astroplankton infestation onboard a spacecraft. When enough astroplankton get into the spacecraft filters, they cluster together into lumps of algae. In favourable conditions, the algae will not only grow at extreme rates: it begins to bloom. Blooming algae releases dangerous toxins into the air which can cause damage to the ship and crew. Cosmic Blooms are best known for turning skin and tissue transparent.   Compare and contrast to Crystal Infestation and Paradisius, two other well known infestations that can happen aboard spacecrafts.

Crew Symptoms

CW: This section contains mild body horror and induced phobia.   Passengers in craft with uncontrolled algae growths can suffer all kinds of ill effects, such as headaches, nausea, and trouble breathing. These symptoms usually improve after disembarking. The symptoms of a more severe infestation however, are not so easily cured. Algae that is in full bloom can cause far more severe and long-term effects up to and including death, depending on the particular strains present.   One of the most visible permanent effects is transformation of skin, where large patches of afflicted tissue turn transluscent or transparent. Intense claustrophobia is another common symptom in survivors and one that is particularly debilitating aboard a craft.

Put to Use

Algae is widely considered something to avoid on ships, which are kept in as sterile condition as possible both for crew and ecological safety. However a new wave of organic ships deliberately host algae and provoke cosmic blooms to produce oxygen or other desirable gases.   The practice is controversial. It's impossible to make sure no algae leaks into space, or onto a space station as its inhabitants get on and off, and even beneficial algae can be difficult to get rid of where it is unwanted. So far organic ships have not caused any serious algae spills, but many believe it is only a matter of time. However, until such a spill occurs no strong push to ban the practice has arised.


Step 1. Use a filter brush to physically collect the algae.
Step 2. Place the algae in a completely airtight specialized containment jar.
Step 3. Disinfect jar, brush, site, person who did the work, and maybe the whole ship while you're at it with enzyme cleaner.
  Ideally a Cosmic Bloom should be prevented before it happens. Common space procedure says that at the first signs of an algae infestation, which can be as simple as mild discolouration around the filters, a deep cleaning should be prioritized.   Most spacecraft have specialized filter brushes that help physically remove the algae. However, without proper handling of the tools and contact points, the algae will be spread to new parts of the ship. The astroplankton that makes up most algae is usually too small to be seen with the naked eye. A surface that looks "clean" may easily still be infected. It is paramount that the area and tools are thoroughly disinfected or the algae will just grow back.

Related Articles

Outer Space
Locations Asteroid Belt ( The Collision Course ) · Oort Cloud
Species Deep Space Leviathan · Orbitross · Astroplankton
Materials Astrallite
Technology Crystal Technology · Super Wide Access Network · Spacecraft ( Dragonfly Carrier )
Society Traditions ( Dumplings in Space ) · Organizations ( Sentinel ) · Conditions ( Deep Space Syndrome )
Notice: This article is a stub. If you'd like to see this article expanded, please leave a comment!


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Dec 2, 2023 21:54

Translucent skin is an unsettling image. Like those odd frogs! Interesting how people found uses of the algae, even if it's controversial.

Dec 2, 2023 22:08 by Annie Stein

Thank you! My thinking was that it's kind of like it makes you the deep sea creature.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Dec 2, 2023 22:01

Hu funny, I had a similiar idea for me space world. Not with algae, but with something similar. Good work.

You wanna see what we did for the last events? Go, click here: Eddies Major Events
Dec 2, 2023 22:09 by Annie Stein

It might be more like the other two conditions I'm planning on writing this month! It's cool how we can end up with similar ideas, but they all become unique in their respective contexts. Thank you!

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Dec 3, 2023 20:08 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

'Organic ships so far have not caused any serious algae spills...' YET. YEEEEET. O_O   I love the space algae. <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Dec 4, 2023 13:55 by Annie Stein

Thank you! Yeah, they're trying their best to keep things contained, but it is seen as like a thing that is bound to happen it organic ships really take off.

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Dec 3, 2023 20:09 by Michael Chandra

I never gave much thought to infections on board of a spaceship, but with a setting where they don't go through a massive cleansing after every use, this makes a lot of sense!

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
Dec 4, 2023 13:55 by Annie Stein

Thanks! I do think they usually do clean the ships whenever they dock, but it's hard to get everything and all kinds of stuff can happen while in transit.

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Dec 5, 2023 23:55 by E. Christopher Clark

I see so many story possibilities here, from the first serious algae spill caused by an organic ship to a much smaller personal, character-driven problem that's just exacerbated by cosmic bloom. Well done!   I also really like how you handled the Content Warning near the top. Sharing it as an optional clickable expanding thingie (I'm good with the words tonight) feels like a really smart choice.

Check out my progress on the Cabinet of Curiosities
Dec 6, 2023 10:32 by Annie Stein

Thank you! I like having lots of interesting complications to work with, they're good for storytelling.   As for the Content Warning, thank you! I wanted to let people opt in to get all the information upfront to decide if it's for them or not, but I also didn't want people to get spoiled if they didn't want to.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Dec 6, 2023 10:56

Space algae! Such an interesting concept - and of course there are people finding uses for it even though it's potentially so dangerous, I'd hate to be the one that causes a major incident because of it!

~ write what you love
Garlan | Ma'rune | Osiron | WorldEmber 2023
Dec 6, 2023 11:11 by Annie Stein

Innovation rarely comes without risks. The strains that they use for organic ships are significantly safer than just any old space algae, they make sure they'll only produce the atmosphere they want. So at least you don't get the problems of suddenly having air noone can breathe!

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Dec 14, 2023 14:36 by Rin Garnett

"It hasn't caused a problem yet, so it's probably fine!" - words they hopefully won't regret in a few years...

Dec 14, 2023 18:03 by Annie Stein

Yeah, it's really a matter of when not if! Not a good omen

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jan 4, 2024 17:28

In particular I enjoyed on the straight-forwardness yet horrifying manner that the article lays out causes, symptoms and cures of the disease.

Jan 5, 2024 09:38 by Annie Stein

Thank you!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jan 8, 2024 16:27 by Judith (she/her)

Love the unique symptom of translucent skin! Very visually engaging way (by my imagination) to make me not want to have this ever.

Jan 12, 2024 19:23 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much! It's one of my favourite parts here, and I kinda wanna draw it, icky though it may be.

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Jan 13, 2024 02:29 by Valentine

The formatting looks really good (not to mention the content of the article)! Any good tips or tutorials you can maybe point me to?

Jan 13, 2024 11:48 by Annie Stein

Thank you! I think some general advice is that formatting for web is a different process to formatting for print. I find we're used to much shorter paragraphs online, sometimes you even see a linebreak after just a single sentence.   I use a mixture of columns and infoboxes (an aloud could serve the same purpose), and my custom container that makes the grey alternate section (you could achieve something like it with horizontal rows, ie hrs) I recommend reading up on the bb code available on WA and thinking about how you'd like to use the tools at your disposal.  

BBCode Tags
Generic article | Jan 25, 2024

This article lists most BBCode tags with an example on World Anvil.

  I have also linked some of my favourite tutorials in Resources ^^

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jan 13, 2024 23:57 by Valentine

You are awesome, I appreciate you!

Jan 20, 2024 01:54 by Tlcassis Polgara | Arrhynsia

This was interesting - like the way algae blooms in the ocean when it gets too much nutrients. I backed up into the astroplankton and found it interesting that it usually lives in deep space. What does it feed on? Good article!

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Jan 20, 2024 10:22 by Annie Stein

Thank you! Like oceanic plankton, astroplankton is a collection of a whole bunch of different microorganisms. A lot of them absorb energy from the sun, but some of them eat other astroplankton or cosmic snow (which is like basically any debris/dust in space).

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jan 29, 2024 00:35 by Tlcassis Polgara | Arrhynsia

Very very cool!

Follow my worlds: Arrhynsia and Compendium and check out my author website at to see my latest work!
Jan 24, 2024 22:51 by Henry Rait

Gotta give some shout out to your presentation. The theme is simple, but pleasing to look at, and the way you structure the actual text is nice!

Jan 25, 2024 10:35 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much! Glad to hear it!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!