Im busy wrtiting a Space Opera and was going to utilise the "hypothesis", or whatever you call it of an ancient civ mining gold here and utilising it to disperse into its atmosphere, in turn either creating oxygen, or possibly dispelling the toxic atmosphere ALLOWING for oxygenation of the atmosphere to take place.

I came across this article, but my chemistry is shoddy. Any other ideas ?


  • $\begingroup$ See this explanation of how catalytic converters work, Pay close attention to the Thermodynamics section - energy input into the process is needed to start the reaction. Dispersing catalysts into an atmosphere accomplishes nothing if you cannot energize the process. The ancient Earth used biology instead - cyanobacteria oxygenated the atmosphere in the Great Oxygenation Event $\endgroup$ – user535733 Jun 25 '18 at 21:58
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    $\begingroup$ Hello, Skyhigharteist, and welcome to Worldbuilding. While this is an interesting question, we tend to discourage questions that are too opinion based. Perhaps you could add more constraints to the question to better define what makes one answer better than another. Please take our tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have a nice day! $\endgroup$ – Gryphon Jun 25 '18 at 22:59

Possibly your alien planet has too much oxygen in the atmosphere and oxygen poisoning would be a problem for potential human or alien colonizers. Perhaps there is a native life form that flourishes in the high oxygen atmosphere that would be some type of pest for Earth or alien colonizers.

So maybe the miners were mining iron ores, purifying the iron, and grinding the iron into tiny particles they spread in the atmosphere to gradually combine with oxygen and precipitate out, lowering the oxygen content of the atmosphere to the desired level.


Not gold. Magnesium.


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The capture of light energy from the sun is magnesium dependent. Magnesium is bound as the central atom of the porphyrin ring of the green plant pigment chlorophyll. Magnesium is the element that causes plants to be able to convert light into energy and chlorophyll is identical to hemoglobin except the magnesium atom at the center has been taken out and iron put in. The whole basis of life and the food chain is seen in the sunlight-chlorophyll-magnesium chain. Since animals and humans obtain their food supply by eating plants magnesium can be said to be the source of life for it is at the heart of chlorophyll and the process of photosynthesis.

You want your photosynthesizers (possibly imported) to make you an oxygen atmosphere. But your world's surface is devoid of magnesium, the sine qua non for photosynthesis. Your aliens mine magnesium from the earth to enrich their lands and oceans, allowing photosynthetic organisms to do their work.


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