Aether was discovered by the Luminoth scout X-Qar. Local lore describes the planet as once being "a fertile, aged world, with bountiful fields and oceans." The Luminoth who had settled in the mountains, forests, and plains there enjoyed a Golden Age of prosperity and enlightenment, and when Aether's planetary energy began to fail, the Luminoth staved off its desolation by constructing Energy Controllers to preserve and regulate the remaining energy.
But their paradise did not last forever. A Leviathan from Phaaze struck the planet, despite efforts to change its trajectory by the Luminoth, and sent the planet into a state of Transdimensional Flux. Massive environmental damage and a consequential war between the two dominant races, the Ing and the Luminoth, devastated a good portion of the Luminoth population. Extreme climate shifts left most of Aether uninhabitable. The northern regions of the planet still support life and have served as a Phazon mining post for the Space Pirates.
After the crisis was solved, the Luminoth began the arduous task of mending Aether and returning it to its former glory.
- Main article: Dark Aether
Approximately five decades prior to the events of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, a Leviathan struck the planet's surface, splitting the planet's energy flow in two, thus creating the alternate dimension known as Dark Aether. Inhospitable to normal life, Dark Aether developed an ecosystem of its own, supporting strange hostile creatures known as the Ing. The Ing engaged in war with Aether's dominant sentient species, the Luminoth, over the control of the planet's natural energy.
Originally the energy was regulated by devices built by the Luminoth called Energy Controllers. The devices provided the Luminoth many technological wonders, including a weather control grid and a teleportation network. Dark Aether had similar devices, linked to its planetary energy.
Using the Energy Transfer Module that bonded to her suit, Samus was eventually able to siphon all of the planetary energy out of Dark Aether's Energy Controllers, resulting in the dimension's complete collapse.
Space Pirates Arrive
After the fall of the Luminoth, a Space Pirate science team detected the presence of Phazon on Aether and shortly there after the Space Pirate High Command authorized the deployment of a mining team. The team found large amounts of valuable Phazon, but soon fell under attack of the Ing. The science team found ways to utilize the Dark Beam, created by the Luminoth, to open spatial rifts into Dark Aether for mining operations.
Aether after the Crisis
Once Samus was able to rid the planet of its dark twin, the Federation took great scientific interest in it. Samus had previously eradicated all known samples of pure Phazon on Tallon IV, but on Aether there was an abundance of the strange substance. Research with Phazon eventually lead to the development of the Phazon Enhancement Device Suit, that was later used for military purposes. The device was also utilized by Samus in her efforts to destroy Phaaze. The surviving Luminoth began to mend Aether in order to return it to its natural state.
Topography and Ecosystem
- Main article: Temple Grounds
The Temple Grounds make up the area beneath the Great Temple and are the crossroads of the Luminoth colonies. The G.F.S. Tyr crash-lands here, as does Samus Aran's Gunship. A large Splinter hive is nestled into the subterranean sections of the Temple Grounds and is where many troopers of GFMC Task Force Herakles met their end.
- Main article: Agon Wastes
- Main article: Torvus Bog
The Torvus region was full of lush forests when the Luminoth settled there. When a Leviathan struck the planet's surface, it was flooded by neighboring seas and became a treacherous marshland.
- Main article: Sanctuary Fortress
The Sanctuary Fortress was founded by the Luminoth E-Btr in Aether's mountainous region, and was the first area the Luminoth colonized. Sanctuary Fortress is the pinnacle of Luminoth Technology, with advanced architecture and equipment throughout, including patrolling Luminoth Mechanoids.
- Main article: Luminoth
The Luminoth are a peaceful, highly advanced, sentient species that had previously inhabited large areas of the planet. In her logbook, Samus estimates that their technology is on par with that of the Chozo. Their civilization was brought to an end by the Phazon comet. A handful of the Luminoth survived in protective stasis, waiting for the crisis to clear. The species is capable of flight and psionics.
According to Luminoth Lore, the species did not originate on Aether. They were starborn explorers of the galaxy, meeting with a vast number of "enlightened minds" such as the N'kren, the Ylla, the Chozo, and the Bryyonians.
- Main article: Ing
In the Luminoth Language, "Ing" means terror. The species is capable of morphing itself to numerous different shapes. These variations serve a wide variety of purposes, from storing valuable items to waging war. The Ing are also able to possess other lifeforms as well as their deceased bodies.
- "Science teams have discovered the presence of Phazon in the Dasha system four cycles ago. High command authorized the deployment of our team shortly thereafter. Our orders are to establish a base on planet Aether and evaluate local Phazon resources. Because this world lies on the periphery of Galactic Federation territory, we are following stealth protocols at the highest level. A cadre of elite commandos has been dispatched to provide security for our force as well. This operation is now under way." —Space Pirate Logs: Log 04.468.1 (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "This is a statue of X-Qar, the first Sentinel of Aether. It was X-Qar who discovered the world of Aether, and led her people to settle on its wondrous surface." —Scan Data (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "Aether was a fertile, aged world with bountiful fields and oceans. The native creatures were gentle compared to the other worlds we had encountered. We settled in a mountain region first, in cliffside dwellings. In time, we established settlements in the green forest of Torvus and in the fertile plains of Agon. A Great Temple was built between our three domains, a place of peace and a monument to our accomplishments. It was a time of harmony for our people." —Luminoth Lore: Paradise (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "Planet Aether, home of the Luminoth, was struck by a “Phazon Meteor” five decades ago. The impact had catastrophic effects on the already unstable planet, creating a “dark twin” of the planet and a fierce race known as the Ing. A brutal war between the twin planets took place, with the Ing gaining the upper hand. The G.F.S. Tyr went to the sector to investigate pirate activity, but were forced to make an emergency landing on Aether. Shortly after, the entire crew of Tyr was attacked and annihilated by the Ing. Hunter Samus Aran was sent to investigate, and wound up entangled in the local conflict. Aran fought against both Space Pirates and Ing, and arose victorious. Aether’s “dark twin” vanished, taking with it the Ing horde, and the planet’s peace was finally restored.
After the Aether incident, the Federation sent the G.F.S. Anhur back to Aether to deal with the pirate base. Upon arrival, the crew and marines of the Anhur assisted the native Luminoth in dismantling an abandoned Space Pirate mining facility. During the operation, the crew detected the presence of Phazon. The ship’s crew investigated and collected several kilograms of ore, which would later lead to the development of the PED." —Galactic Federation Data "Anhur Incident" (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption)
- "Energy Controllers were built by the Luminoth to regulate Aether's planetary energy. Several wonders are powered by the Energy Controllers, including a weather control grid and a teleportation system. When Dark Aether was born, it too had Energy Controllers, all linked to that world's planetary energy." —Logbook (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "The Phazon Enhancement Device is designed to harness the energy of Phazon minerals, originally discovered on Aether, for a new Federation weapon system. It is being tested on GF Marine battalion stationed in the Norion system. Marines can initiate an energy siphon from a supply of Phazon carried in a backpack into their armorsuits. This allows them to temporarily enhance the exoskeleton and weapon systems to their armorsuits. To date, no marines have displayed signs of “Phazon sickness.”" —Galactic Federation Data "Phazon Enhancement Device" (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption)
- "This is a statue of K-Tch, a great hero of Agon. He was a farmer until Agon was devastated by the coming of Dark Aether and the Ing." —Scan Data (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "The starborne terror burnt through the heavens and struck Aether with and untold might. We all expected the world to shatter...but Aether held. There was great devastation, however. The green plains of Agon were scorched forever, and the forest of Torvus was engulfed and wracked by the sea. The skies burned for days, casting darkness over the land." —Luminoth Lore "Cataclysm" (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "This is a statue of E-Btr, the founder of Sanctuary. He lived for nearly 5 centicycles, and died in hand-to-hand combat during the first Ing attacks." —Scan Data (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "We settled in a mountain region first, in cliffside dwellings." —Luminoth Lore "Paradise" (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "Subject is U-Mos, a Sentinel of the Luminoth. Scans indicate numerous beneficial abilities, including heightened reflexes, durability, psionics, and flight. Ability to generate and manipulate energy on par with that of the Chozo. Dating scans suggest an age of 2.15 centicycles. Only known active member of the species: remaining Luminoth locked in protective stasis until crisis is resolved." —Logbook (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "It is told that the Luminoth were not born of Aether, but of the stars. In the early days, we roamed the greatness of the void, bathing in the glorious light of a thousand stars We met a vast number of enlightened minds... the N'kren, the Ylla, and the Chozo among them. Each of them, we found, had claimed a homeworld and formed a deep bond with it. In time, we decided to do the same." —Luminoth Lore: Origins (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "The ships of Bryyo sped to the stars, in all directions, bearing the banner of peace. Soon we found stellar brethren in the Chozo, the Luminoth, and the Ylla. Starborne knowledge came to Bryyo, and we gladly sent our wisdom to our new friends in return. The hearts of Bryyo were filled with pride, and they honored the Lords of Science for all the wonders we provided. As the time of New Bryyo came to be, the old ways faded. The cries of joy from those who honored Science covered the angry shouts of those who mourned the old ways, the Primal Traditions." —Bryyonian Data "Age of Science" (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption)
- "In time, we created machines to open rifts to our enemy's world. Volunteer scouts went through the rifts and found a twisted world, harsh and poisonous...a Dark Aether. They discovered that this world held the missing half of our planet's energy. They also saw the true face of the enemy, a race we came to call "Ing", meaning terror. Our scouts could not survive long on the surface of Dark Aether, so venomous was its air. Still, we vowed to return. We prepared for war." —Luminoth Lore: Dark Aether (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "Planet is unstable due to transdimensional flux. Warfare has devastated a good portion of the world's population. Finally, extreme climate shifts have left most of Aether uninhabitable." —Metroid Prime 2: Echoes Logbook "Aether" (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "Satellite information shows that Aether is slowly recovering from a cataclysmic event. A stellar object struck the planet with an incredible force, burning Aether's fertile plains and destroying the lush forests covering her surface. The planet's own energy supply, once torn in two by the impact, is now stable. The inhabitants of the world, the starborne Luminoth, have begun the long task of mending Aether back to its former self." —Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Logbook "Planet Aether" (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption)