The surface of Altair was made uninhabitable long ago. Since then the planet has slowly begun to recover from the terrible ecological damage it suffered at the hands of the Altairans. The surface of the world is still plagued by radiation storms and acid rain, but life survives, if not in exactly the way that most picture. On the surface, huge ruins of abandoned cities are left, heavily eroded by acid rain and allowed to decay during the test. Tall skyscrapers are now little more than half a dozen stories high.
Explorers must exercise caution, and wear environment suits, but can move around on the surface with relative ease. While Harlan was never brave enough to go up to the surface itself, others can do so, and examine what remains of the lost world of Altair. Other underground bunkers from before the planet's destruction are still untouched, and hold an inventory of weapons, shields and other pieces of technology. (RPG: "Fantastic Frontiers: Stargate Season One")
It was decaying for some reason and was becoming unsuitable for the humans that lived there. The dying residents instead built android replicas of as many of them as they could. When SG-1 arrived, the only android left was Harlan, after Wallace died 99,207,000 Earth hours (11,000 years) before SG-1 encountered Harlan. Desperate for assistance, Harlan created android duplicates of SG-1 when they visited his world, the duplicates remaining with him out of a lack of anywhere else to go once their true identities had been revealed (SG1: "Tin Man").
Although they assisted Harlan in his efforts to rebuild the complex, and were even able to devise new power supplies for themselves that would allow them to operate offworld for longer periods of time, the android SG-1 were eventually destroyed in a conflict with Cronus (SG1: "Double Jeopardy"). At some point, Harlan provided a group of NID operatives with more information on the android technology, believing that they intended to help him, but this was a deception to allow the NID to create their own versions of SG-1 to do what they felt needed to be done. The complex on Altair was subsequently destroyed by the theta team, a version of SG-1 created to be so ruthless that they turned against their NID controllers, the theta team destroying the complex in frustration after Harlan confirmed that the power source for the androids couldn't be extracted (SG1: "Hydra").
Behind the scenesEdit
The name Altair may have come from the MITS Altair 8800 computer from 1975, or the star Altair from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, or possibly the planet Altair IV from the movie 'Forbidden Planet', Altair is, in fact, a real star 16.77 light-years away in the Aquilla constellation.