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Old 12-01-2019, 11:31 PM   #1
Ezra
 
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Default Space Mining: Ore Availability and Yield

An exploratory prospecting vessel would make an interesting Traveller campaign, but I'm wondering if GURPS has published a system for mining that would give a table of ore availability and yield. The GM could just make it a long task and assign some arbitrary amount of ore available, but it would be fun to have a random ore generator, and a system to see how much prospectors retrieve after working for a set amount of hours.
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Old 12-04-2019, 06:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Space Mining: Ore Availability and Yield

There was an article in the old print JTAS that covered mining for Classic Traveller, and was reprinted in Best of Vol 1. Included a two page flowchart and a list of all the required rolls. It doesn't go into a lot of detailed on specific ores that can be found.

Book 6: Scoundrels for Mongoose Traveller has a three page chapter on mining, including two pages of charts and one page of "life in the belt".

Neither are quite what you are asking for, but they are the closest I have available to refer you to.
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Space Mining: Ore Availability and Yield

In the brand new Xboat issue #2, there is a four page article on asteroid mining "Based on the original charts from JTAS."

But I am not sure if there is a way to get it yet if you weren't in the Kickstarter.
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Old 12-04-2019, 04:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Space Mining: Ore Availability and Yield

Realistically this is going to be super boring (the geological processes that create concentrated veins of ore don't exist in asteroids, so much a question of whether it's mostly silicates or mostly nickel-iron, plus ice in the outer system), but that doesn't make for much of a game.

I would avoid using random tables, though, because the interesting thing from a campaign standpoint isn't the mining itself, it's the shenanigans around the mining (claim jumping, etc).
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Old 12-04-2019, 06:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Space Mining: Ore Availability and Yield

GURPS Transhuman Space: Deep Beyond discusses asteroid mining (pp. 34-36), but doesn't have any tables.

Classic Traveller offers the Beltstrike module boxed set, which expands on the JTAS article. It has a fairly detailed prospecting procedure, based on somewhat dated (i.e., pre-Grand Tack model) stellar system physics. The asteroid types are still as Anthony says. The discoverable resources are different than the JTAS article: radioactives*, dense metals, crystals, and artifacts.

For what it's worth, I tried to write up belters for GURPS Traveller. I couldn't make the economics of independent prospectors and miners work without some kind of "space diamonds" or unobtanium.



*Radioactives are mostly not, in fact, good asteroidal resources. They are concentrated by the geological processes that occur on planetary surfaces.
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Old 12-04-2019, 06:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: Space Mining: Ore Availability and Yield

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*Radioactives are mostly not, in fact, good asteroidal resources. They are concentrated by the geological processes that occur on planetary surfaces.
That statement is true of just about any resource you might name. They're a bit better for finding siderophile minerals because most of Earth's supply is trapped in its core, but it's still along the lines of "purify a thousand tons of iron to get a kilogram of platinum", and more problematically, there isn't a "mother lode" out there, one nickel-iron asteroid has the same stuff in it as another.
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrash View Post
The discoverable resources are different than the JTAS article: radioactives*, dense metals, crystals, and artifacts.

F
Fortunately for us (if not so much for the worlds in question) The Ancients blew up a significant number of (formerly) Earth-like planets producing a number of thoroughly unnatural asteroid belts.

The science Anthony and Thrash mention as applying to asteroids untouched by the Ancients is ast least as borign and unhelpful as they imply.

The "geology" of these post-catastrophe asteroid belts is the same as that of the terrestriakl type worlds they used to be enlived by Ancint artifacts or at least semi-melted hyperdense battlearmor.

Remeber: all Traveller problems that can not be solved by Vilani conservatism can be solved by the Ancients!
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Space Mining: Ore Availability and Yield

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
The "geology" of these post-catastrophe asteroid belts is the same as that of the terrestriakl type worlds they used to be ...
Statistically, at least, you are going to have a hard time finding anything very different from regular, remnants-of-planet-formation asteroids. The Earth's whole crust is roughly 0.5% of its total mass. The portion where interesting geological processes have occurred is even smaller.

Pallasite meteorites demonstrate that the results of unlikely events can be found, but it's hard to base an entire industry around them. Larry Niven's stasis boxes (e.g.) were a useful narrative device precisely because they were detectable without a lifetime of searching for each one.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: Space Mining: Ore Availability and Yield

There are the Dwarf Planets; once you hit self-rounding to solid, you also start having a bit of concentration to the core of heavier elements.

The concentration processes are interesting, because some are gravitational/mechanical, while others are thermochemical.

Sulphur is concentrated by thermochemical - it's dissolved in hot water, and when the water hits surface and cools, the sulphur condenses out. Not going to happen on a dwarf.

But a dwarf planet might have a core... Ceres is expected to...
(Src: Space.com)

Not as differentiated as larger worlds, but still, a core expected to be mixed (chemistry definition) metals and silicates (as opposed to Astronomers' definition of metal being anything higher than helium being, which even a snowball is 8/9 metal). And Ceres isn't all that large as far as Dwarf Planets go.

Plus, Ceres is expected to have an ocean layer; if it does, the thermochemical concentrations may happen.

If the core gets radioactives, the core may be more consolidated than size would otherwise indicate. And might also drive a good bit more thermochemical concentration.

it is possible that some asteroid belts may have remnants of shattered dwarf planets or even proper planets; there's not enough mass in ours to represent that, but it's also possible Ceres is still slowly clearing its orbit... or might have an untimely impact and cease to be a dwarf planet...
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Old 12-05-2019, 02:16 AM   #10
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Default Re: Space Mining: Ore Availability and Yield

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Originally Posted by ak_aramis View Post
The concentration processes are interesting, because some are gravitational/mechanical, while others are thermochemical.

Sulphur is concentrated by thermochemical - it's dissolved in hot water, and when the water hits surface and cools, the sulphur condenses out. Not going to happen on a dwarf.
I suggested once that the surfaces of sulphur moons like Io might be a good source of accessible chalcophile minerals, which no class of asteroids is noticeably enriched with. But I could never quite get a JTAS article out of it.

One problem with the suggestion is that sulphur moons, being of necessity in close orbits around large gas giants, are likely to have a severe radiation hazard from their plasma toruses.
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