Given that Starfield takes place about 300 or so years into the future, there’s a lot of background you have to catch up on when starting the game. There’s the formation of both the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective, the bloody Colony War, and the infestation of the Terrormorph enemies. Seeing as it’s our home though, you might be wondering what happened to Earth between now and the events of the game. Here’s what happened to Earth in Starfield.
Why is Earth Inaccessible in Starfield?
If you make your way over to the Sol system (our system in real life) and have a look at Earth, you’ll see that it’s a beige wasteland and is mostly inaccessible. There’s a very good reason for this, however, the answer doesn’t come until later in the story. This is your spoiler warning for the main mission Unearthed in Starfield. Do not proceed further unless you’ve completed it, or do not care about spoilers.
Related: How to 100% Survey Planets in Starfield
Now that we have that out of the way, Earth saw the start of its demise sometime in the 2140s and 2150s. Around this time, scientists based on the Moon were experimenting with the idea of warping gravity around you to speed across great distances. This would later become Grav Drive technology. To run these experiments, they had to test its effect between the Moon and Earth, which they found great success.
However, a side effect of these experiments was the “sputtering” of the Earth’s atmosphere out into space. In essence, that warping of gravity released some of the atmosphere, dealing great damage to the planet. That little mistake resulted in the Earth itself lowering to about 50 years left to be inhabited before natural oxygen would essentially be impossible.
Why is the Earth the Way it is Now?
Fast forward about 150 years or so, and the Earth is the barren wasteland it is now. According to the statistics, when you hover over the Earth, the atmosphere is now a layer of thin CO2, there’s a complete lack of magnetosphere, and life can’t be sustained. There are some traces of water still left on the planet, but these are few and far between.
While it shows zero signs of life these days, the Earth certainly does hold its legacy. Certain voice lines from NPCs talk about the Earth mainly being a myth, let alone the idea of it ever having life in the first place. For those who do know of it, it stands as a sign of how humanity’s desire for more can just as quickly be its downfall. Perhaps it’s also a glimpse of our future, but that’s not a conversation for this article.
While you’re progressing through the game, check out our guide on how to complete the Distilling Confidence mission in Starfield.