The Earth, cradle of humanity.
This image was taken during the 2338 joint Arcadia-New America expedition to the solar system. The structures surrounding the planet are six space elevators ("beanstalks"). According to Janus they were once used for heavy transports from the surface to orbit during the last days of the exodus; today they and the ring serve as vertical cities housing several billion embodied or virtual humans. The surface is mainly unpopulated, except for some areas inhabited by religious, environmental and social fundamentalists and a few museum cities such as New York, Calcutta and Bangui. The total population is estimated to approximately 50 million traditional humans. The majority of the inhabitants of the solar system live elsewhere.