The gas giant Jupiter itself is uninhabitable, but the various moons of the planet are extensively exploited by several large corporations. The Jovian system currently has 32 million permanent inhabitants, living either in stations, surface cities or underground complexes.
The Jupiter system is basically being governed by several competing large corporations. The main governmental institution is a democratically elected Senate. The senators are usually CEOs of one of the big corporations. The Jupiter government provides a standard in law enforcement, security, waste disposal and some infrastructure for the whole Jovian system.
When the colonization of Mars grew out into a ever-expanding operation, it became clear that the Earth would not suffice as only source of resources not easily found on Mars. The developments in space travel and the innovations of building safe and comfortable underground principalities made the exploration of the outer solar system less of a daunting task. Slowly but surely different small science bases started to emerge on several interesting moons and asteroids. These research operations explored the possibilities of exploiting these celestial bodies to support the existing colonies.
Apart from mining, the colonization of the outer solar system was initially rather undesirable because of the harsh conditions. However, the big mining companies build beautiful, attractive and technologically advanced underground municipalities on every moon in the Jupiter system which could be exploited, including entertainment, healthcare and luxurious living quarters. This caused a huge influx of workers from Mars and some research personnel from Luna.
Five big corporations emerged in the Jupiter system. The first to create a solid foothold was the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC), already a massive company which started with the exploitation of several minerals and building materials on Mars, followed by a huge research department, perfecting space travel and colonization technologies. After the UAC, the company In-Gentriment which provided agricultural solutions for the population of the Jupiter system grew to be the next great mega corporation. Endeavour Computer Systems was the company which produced most of the embedded software and hardware systems of the mining equipment and the residential systems, which made this formally mostly Luna-based corporation a huge influence in the Jupiter system. The company Evol started small and obscure on Calisto, but grew into a billion credits corporation by its cutting edge trans-humanist projects that proved to be rather popular with the elite. The company Omni Consumer Products (OCP) produced all the consumer and luxury products which made living in the corporate establishments tolerable and even comfortable, and therefore grew into the fifth mega-corporation of Jupiter.
Many more small corporations exists in the Jupiter system, however, most of those have very short live-spans since they will be absorbed or out-competed by the mega-corporations.
Most inhabitants of the Jovian system you encounter while traveling between colonies are high-ranked businessmen, usually in very neat formal attire. You would rarely encounter any workers from the Jupiter system; they tend to never leave the place they work and live, unless sternly ordered to. Workers wear practical work clothing, depending on the branch they work in. This clothing proudly displays the logo of the company they work for.
A citizen of the Ganymede geo-cities (massive underground chasms, built like an upside-down city) is generally born into a corporation, works for the same corporation, shops in a corporation store with corporation money and follows corporation laws while living in corporation housing. Switching jobs, while technically legal under the Europa Accords, is usually a suicidally bad idea, as the corporations are unhappy about letting high-level employees go, and equally unwilling to create conflict over low-level employees. Luckily, people rarely think about leaving their job. Practically everybody seems to be rather happy with the life they are living.
The site of Bore serves as the main city on Ganymede, thus named because of the deep hole into which is was built (though many from outside of the Jupiter system claim the name has a different origin), and houses over 42 million people, employed by a multitude of corporations. Over 70% work for the Main Five: UAC, Evol, Endeavour, In-Gentriment and OCP.
The huge amounts of water-ice on the ice moon Europa has led to a rush on mining and selling the easily obtained source of water to the colonies at the inner Solar System and heavy industry companies. At that time, water was a luxury product and the use of water was heavily controlled. Heavy industry -like the processing of materials to build spacecrafts- use massive amounts of water, a resource relatively costly to get by in the inner solar system. For the colonies at the inner solar system, water was being extracted from surface and sub-surface materials on the planets, moons and on asteroids, and every drop was intended to be recycled, wherever possible.
It is extremely dangerous to land on the surface of Europa due to the massive radiation and constant bombardment of particles, but as soon as a spacecraft is safely embedded in the crust, it can be expanded to form a relatively protected mining hive. On Europe, the surface materials mix with materials from the liquid ocean below,which contains useful components to keep the mining outposts running, and provide easier access to ‘good’ water. But these streams can also be dangerous, slowly lifting underground mining operations toward the deadly surface.
As soon as 2098, several small companies already started operations to collect, purify and ship water from Europa to Mars and to Luna. In 2104, the UAC started to build a magnificent, cutting-edge modern and luxurious mining base deeply embedded into the massive ice crust of Europe. With this base, the UAC tried to absorb the smaller and more sober mining hives of their competition. This was largely unsuccessful, as many small corporations continued their own operations of mining and transporting water and other resources from Europe. These small corporations had a head start on the UAC in researching new techniques to make the mining processes in the Jovian system more efficient, and were able to seriously compete with the UAC in the exploitation of Europe.
In 2150, no fewer than 82 companies had ice mining operations on Europa and all of them were competing fiercely, figuratively and even sometimes literally undermining each other. In March of 2151, the first Collapse happened, killing 652 workers and destroying the entire base of the H2Optimist Company. When it was revealed this was intentional sabotage by an unknown company, SevCol pushed for the signing of the ‘Europa Accords’. This gave the signers a claim on separate areas of Europa, and prohibited mining operations within 500 miles of an existing claim, to prevent literally undermining the opposition.
Following the incident on Europe, SevCol pushed the ‘Conglomerate Treaty’ upon all the different companies exploiting the outer solar system, which dictated that different companies should try to co-exist peacefully to maintain a system of stimulating competition, thereby illegalizing the lawless, aggressive competition techniques issued on Europe. This made it possible for several great companies to emerge in the Jupiter system, together covering most needs of human kind.
The powdery sulfur-dioxide snow, high and steep mountain slopes and colorful lava flows makes the surface of this moon a true sight to behold. However, due to the frequent earthquakes and many active volcanoes, building any structures here is quite risky, as one of the founders of OCP has experienced while trying to build a private resort into the flank of a seemingly dead volcano.
One of the oldest, most heavily cratered objects in the solar system. Little is known about Calisto as the corporations like using this moon for secret projects, R&D and other shady programs. Of note is the heavily shielded Stanley/Robinson space elevator at the center of the Valhalla crater, run by Evol for their own private use. Why a single corporation would require the use of a space elevator on such a low gravity world is unknown , as the corporations are hesitant to let each other near the moon, let alone outsiders.