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 A Paradigm for Planetary Resource Extraction

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Selathorn

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PostSubject: A Paradigm for Planetary Resource Extraction   Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:48 pm

[This report, written by Brother Lal's economic advisers in 2282, explains in detail the Centauri method of classifying and exploiting the nutrient, mineral, and energy resources of different planets. The methods detailed within are the basis of economic activity within the Centauri sphere of influence, and are practiced on a very wide scale.]

Introduction

In the modern interstellar economy, a new paradigm for resource extraction must be considered to maximize efficiency. In the past, the doctrine of widespread Hybrid Forest coverage and assorted mining facilities (borehole and otherwise) allowed for mitigation of environmental damage as well as efficient extraction of all three primary resources. This, coupled with the satellite and lunar mining facilities, provided for abundant economic growth.

However, in the present day interstellar transport is now widely available, and numerous planets are available for exploitation within the Centauri sphere of influence. Additionally, we are confronted with highly-developed and well-established foreign competitors. The Rhean industrial colossus dwarfs Centauri industrial capacity (though this is rapidly changing) and Burnite energy generation puts our own to shame. Though ahead of lesser powers such as the Veridian Dominion and the OrdenReich, it is nevertheless important that we secure our relative economic position. As such, a paradigm for planetary resource extraction has been developed.

Step 1: Exploration

Firstly, before one can even think of exploiting the resources of a planet, they must consider the scale of our galaxy. There are approximately half a billion stars within the Korel galaxy, and within the Centauri sphere of influence there are approximately two million. But how can we exploit two million systems? Simply said, we cannot. This is why exploration is important. From a distance, sensors can be used to determine some of the most basic information about a planet: its size, its distance from its sun, its atmospheric composition, and its own composition. Based on this information, algorithms can note specific planets of interest. Exploration teams can then be dispatched to examine the planets with close range sensors, giving more detailed information.

Step 2: Classification

Once the detailed reports have been sent back to the central network, further analysis can take place using the economic algorithms. Based on the information procured, the system can give each planet a certain Classification on the basis of what resources are available on the planet and the relative ease of extracting those resources. The Planetary Classifications are broken up into three parts, N(utrient), M(ineral) and E(nergy). Each part is assigned a number, and the three parts are combined the form the Classification.

Nutrient Key:

1: A planet that has a pre-existing ecosystem incompatible with Earth-based organisms.
2: Either a planet that contains a pre-existing ecosystem compatible with Earth-based organisms OR a planet that natively-supports Earth-based organisms.
3: A planet that cannot natively support Earth-based organisms, but can be terraformed to do so with relative ease.
4: A planet that cannot natively support Earth-based organisms.

Mineral Key:

1: A planet with exotic minerals normally not found on other planets.
2: Either a planet with abundant and easily accessible common minerals OR a planet that has the presence of specific uncommon minerals lacking in the economy.
3: A planet with common minerals that are not present in sufficient quantity or accessibility to make extraction worthwhile.
4: A planet with very few minerals of any kind and appears to be depleted.

Energy Key:

1: A planet with material appropriate for fusion power generation in which the material is easily accessible and the location is conducive to on-site energy generation.
2: Either a planet with material appropriate for fusion power generation in which the material is NOT easily accessible OR a planet with material appropriate for fusion power generation in which the location is NOT conducive to on-site energy generation.
3: A planet with environmental conditions are appropriate for alternative forms of energy generation.
4: A planet that does not fit any of the above criterion.

For example, under the Planetary Classification system, Chiron is considered a N1M2E2 planet.

Step 3: Exploitation

With the above Classification complete, it is easy for the economic algorithm system to prioritize certain planets for exploitation and incorporate the necessary capital and labor in future economic plans. Most planets to be exploited will be chosen for no more than two of the above categories, though Chiron as a homeworld is an obvious exception. Terraforming units will be dispatched to the designated systems in order to build the requisite structures.

In the case of nutrient worlds, there are two possibilities. On N1 worlds, large-scale exploitation is to be considered undesirable: the environment will make nutrient production difficult, and destruction of the native environment will have far-reaching ramifications. Instead they are to be studied and samples of native organisms removed to further enhance scientific knowledge. On planets where is is not the case, however, terraformers will first alter the environment to support Earth-based organisms if necessary before constructing dense nutrient farms as well as rainfall condensers to encourage growth. Supply crawlers can then be dispatched to maintain the sites and relay the resources to an extraction point, using magtubes for rapid transport. Should population pressure on settled worlds be too high, worlds exploited for nutrients can be cleared for habitations and advanced industry, with exploitation moving onto other worlds to compensate.

In the case of mineral worlds, specific sites for resource exploitation will be designated, and terraformers will construct mines as well as magtubes to transport minerals to an extraction site. Mines will be operated by supply crawlers to minimize the amount of manpower needed. If the appropriate flat terrain is found, digging borehole mines can be considered. Borehole mines will produce large quantities of minerals as well as some energy as a byproduct, but they require long periods of time to set-up as well as human monitoring so that both mineral and energy resources are properly exploited.

In the case of energy worlds, there are two possibilities. In the case of worlds with material necessary for fusion are present, automated extraction facilities can be set up, which feed the material for a central automated fusion complex. The energy can be stored within quantum capacitors that will be removed and brought to settled worlds for industrial usage. In the case of worlds with alternative sources, the necessary systems for those sources will be constructed by the terraformers and the energy directed from the systems to a central storage facility where the stored energy is later extracted.

Conclusion

Based on the widespread adoption of this paradigm by the Planetary Governate and other groups within it such as Morgan Industries, the Planetary Governate has massively expanded its economy and industrial base. Now there are few restraints on population growth due to nutrients, as colonies like Refuge and unmanned facilities allow for a massive population boom across Chiron, with relatively little growth in nutrient production on Chiron itself. Additionally, more and more minerals are available for manufacturing, bolstering both Centauri economic strength but also military strength. Finally the increased availability of energy greatly aids Centauri commerce and allows for an increased amount of computronium to be supported, which encourages further scientific developments.
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