The planet was once home to a large number of Space Corps scientists who lived and worked in an extensive research complex on the surface of the planet. This was before they all succumbed to some unknown catastrophe - likely involving the dangerous nature of Lanstrom's work, and later her contracted disease and madness. It likely was for the same reasons that the research base had been located so far from colonised space.
Discoveries by Red Dwarf
Three million years later, the JMC mining spaceship Red Dwarf passed by Lanstrom's planet. Holly picked up Lanstrom's distress beacon, so the gang quickly took a Starbug down to investigate, given the chance of meeting a live human female for the first time in eons, and the chance at gained a capable crewmember.
The climate was cold and snowy, with Kryten noting that the wind was 40 knots and variable. The gravity was fairly heavy, being 1.5 that of Earth's gravity, although the base apparently had it's own gravity systems. The base still had power, which was discovered by the 'bugs scouter. Rimmer was annoyed, since the others had ignored his command to launch the scouter, but obeyed Kryten. There appeared to be no living thing left on the planet when Starbug landed, with numerous vehicles and construction equipment still left around the domes and towers of the base. When they realised Lanstrom was a hologram, they asked Rimmer to return to the Dwarf in an escape pod so that they could use his light bee for Lanstrom.
Entering the base, Kryten discovered the fruits of Lanstrom's work in a cyro-suitcase - positive viruses, such as the sexual magnetism virus, and the luck virus. The gang were then horrified to discover the warnings about the dangerous viruses, especially when Kryten's Psi-Scan stopped working (due to faulty Martian power packs) to scan for any viruses. Luckily however, there was no dangerous viral strains in the air.
When they activated Lanstrom's stasis pod, the mad scientist emerged as a hologram with a dangerous psi-virus and began to stalk them through the base. As Lanstrom tried to kill the Dwarfers with hex vision, she expended her own life energy, and disintegrated into thin air. However, Lanstrom had already spoken to Arnold Rimmer over the radio, and had transmitted her virus to him over the radio waves.
As the others approached Red Dwarf in Starbug, Rimmer forced Starbug to go into the quarantine section of the Dwarf, Bay 47, where the others would be forced to watch helplessly as Rimmer's own madness unfolded. ("Quarantine", Series V)
- An interview between Dr. Lanstrom and Talkie Toaster on the official Red Dwarf website reveals a large amount of history on Lanstrom's base. Among other things, Lanstrom tells a story about how she once infected the hologram of another passing spaceship through radio waves, much like she did with Rimmer. This unfortunate hologram, 'Grandmaster Crust Wangle' as he came to call himself, killed his crew and destroyed his ship in some very interesting ways. (Interview)