|Primary terrain||Living ocean|
Small rocky islands
|Native fauna||Its living ocean|
|Behind the Scenes|
Solaris is a planet almost entirely covered by a living, sentient ocean.
The planet orbits a binary star system. One of the stars is red-colored, while the other one is blue. No specific size is given for these stars, though the coloration is a direct indication of temperature, with the blue star being the hotter.
While planets in binary systems usually have a highly unstable orbit[Note 1], Solaris' ocean seems to have the amazing ability to create and/or exert control over magnetic fields (and possibly gravitational fields), which enables it to stabilize the planet's orbit. It was this fact that first brought the attention of Human scientists, who started studying Solaris and discovered the extraordinary nature of the planet's ocean.
Solaris' diameter is approximately 15,307.5 km – 1/5 bigger than Earth's. The ocean covers its entire surface, except for some small rocky islands, mostly located on the southern hemisphere.
The atmosphere has no oxygen and is toxic for Humans.
Solaris' single inhabitant weights seven-hundred billions of tons and is made of an amorphous organic matrix. The ocean is a completely nontraditional lifeform: it is not made of cells; it has no visible organs and no nervous system.
For many years, Humans have tried to communicate with the ocean, with no success. It is still not clear if the ocean is sapient, non-sapient or semi-sapient. Sometimes it clearly shows curiosity towards Humans and their experiments, sometimes it completely ignores them.
The ocean's scientific classification is:
Type – Politera
Class – Syncytialia
Category – Metamorphe
Solaris' ocean spends most of the time creating gargantuan and complex structures on its surface. Although scientists have studied and classified such structures for many years, their purpose remains unknown. Some of them last many weeks, others just a few minutes, but all of them are self-destroyed at the end, and the material they are made of returns to the ocean's matrix.
Solaris' ocean is not only aware of the Humans on its surface, but also indirectly interacts with them. Somehow it can read their minds and create a replica of a person that they remember well. The replicas look and behave almost exactly like a normal Human, even at molecular level, but they're actually made of neutrinos, giving them some superhuman abilities like regeneration and superhuman strength. Although neutrino groupings are highly unstable, the ocean is able to stabilize them, likely using magnetic fields. These "visitors", as they are called, are not aware of their true nature. Again, it is unknown why the ocean creates them.
- Solaris, by Stanisław Lem (1961)
- This is what is stated in the book, but recent studies have shown this to be false.