“Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.”
While humanity has gone beyond Jupiter, the attempt to do so is constantly confounded by new obstacles just as it is constantly buoyed by new discoveries. Many humans in the Earth Sphere today have seen what lies beyond the Earth Sphere, thanks in no small part to Fold technology; the Zentradi have accurate, relatively up-to-date maps of much of the universe, as well.
The obstacles they found were tolerable to a species for whom every day was the same, eating reprocessed nutrients and knowing only endless battle with the things their masters left behind; for a species that now knows the wonders of culture, the miracles of song and kindness and a real sense that each day offers more than the one before, those same obstacles now feel insurmountable... or at the very least, not worth chancing.
Traveling Past Jupiter
Travel past Jupiter generally requires a Fold drive -- an engine that makes two points in space, very briefly, the same point, or at least attempts to connect them. There are, of course, three interrelated problems with this:
- Fold drives were exclusively produced in Neo-Britannia and Neo-Hong Kong, previous winners of the Gundam Fight;
- Neo-Britannia and Neo-Hong Kong took all Fold drives in the Earth Sphere in for 'readiness assessment' after recalling all Macross fleets and announcing a moratorium on long-distance travel;
- Neo-Britannia and Neo-Hong Kong's wealthy citizens folded themselves and their infrastructure out during the Axis Shock in 0093, revealing that they'd taken the drives for themselves and handed back mostly dummy drives.
Accordingly, for the moment, Fold travel out of the Earth Sphere is a no-go. The fleets that returned are "stranded" in the Earth Sphere, right back where they started.
Problems with Travel
Even if one were to somehow get a fully functional Fold drive, there are numerous obstacles to traveling that far. The most notable is the Fold fault, which can be conceptualized as a wrinkle between two locations. Some Fold faults are tolerable, adding only days of travel; others are less so, with wild space-time distortions. Previous Zentradi culture, such as it was, considered the specific effects of Fold faults largely non-notable, and maps are accordingly frustratingly vague.
Beyond that, well... it's a big universe. You can run into some dangerous things out there.
Some species, such as the Vajra, essentially ignore Fold faults. The mechanism by which they accomplish this is not yet understood.
Known Space Past Jupiter
While these locations are mostly 'pencil sketches' to the average Earthnoid, a few places are now known quantities to those in the Earth Sphere, to varying extents.
- Astragius Galaxy - Humanity hasn't been to the Astragius Galaxy; it lives primarily in Zentradi oral tradition. On the Zentradi's last visit, some 12,000 years ago, the Astragius Galaxy had few hostile Protoculture remnants and the indigenous life seemed perfectly capable of repelling any that arrived; accordingly, the Zentradi decided it was best to simply leave it alone.
- Eden - Eden is the first human civilization founded by the Macross Colonial Fleets after the Zentradi War, some ten lightyears from Earth. Communication between Eden and Earth was minimal even when there were Fold drives in the Earth Sphere; Eden is now essentially cut off, though it was self-sustaining as of 0075.