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  • Novel with male protagonist who is led to discoveries of alien engineering of solar system planets by an enigmatic Japanese? woman
  • Crystal 'flower' on moon, one planet has bands of metal that turn it into an engine
  • Male protagonist eventually has his mind installed in robot that tends a giant net or web.

Anyone know this story?

  • Thanks for edits. ..desperate for answer – Marcus Mahoney Oct 26 '18 at 13:21
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I believe this is Manifold: Space by Stephen Baxter. The blurb is vague, but as I recall from reading the book more than a decade ago, the things that look like they match up ("...beyond humanity itself", "...Moon, Venus, even Mars once thrived with life...", "...Japanese scientist Nemoto...") do match up with the OP's description.

The year is 2020. Fueled by an insatiable curiosity, Reid Malenfant ventures to the far edge of the solar system, where he discovers a strange artifact left behind by an alien civilization: A gateway that functions as a kind of quantum transporter, allowing virtually instantaneous travel over the vast distances of interstellar space. What lies on the other side of the gateway? Malenfant decides to find out. Yet he will soon be faced with an impossible choice that will push him beyond terror, beyond sanity, beyond humanity itself. Meanwhile on Earth the Japanese scientist Nemoto fears her worst nightmares are coming true. Startling discoveries reveal that the Moon, Venus, even Mars once thrived with life?life that was snuffed out not just once but many times, in cycles of birth and destruction.

  • Many thanks to Trip Space-Parasite for the answer! – Marcus Mahoney Oct 27 '18 at 0:59

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