I have been developing an advanced civilization inhabiting a world orbiting a gas giant about 3 times the mass of jupiter, the conditions have already been tuned to allow life to develop over its surface to the point of giving rise to intelligent beings.

I have been wondering if it would be plausible that they started utilizing their gas giant as a source of advanced resources, such as helium-3, as they started becoming space farers.

With space farers I don't mean interstellar specie, but mainly starting to colonize their star system, building outposts on the other worlds and within the asteroid belt, think about 'The Expanse' but with most of the population being concentrated on the homeworld and no settlemnt being truly self sufficient. As for technology, again think like 'The Expanse' if only just a bit more advanced featuring quantum computers, nanotechnology, cybernetics, biotech, advanced robotics and AI.

To give you a better idea of the situation:

Gas giant mass: 3 times the mass of jupiter

Moon mass: 0.7 earths

Distance: 1002864 kms or 544000kms

Do you think it would be plausible that they'd have facilities extrating helium 3 and similar compounds from their gas giant? And in case it weren't, do you think they could ever do that with more advanced technology?

  • $\begingroup$ Take look at this one u may need it toughsf.blogspot.com/2017/09/… also google "orbit air scooping" there is some fresh spin on the topic $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 17, 2021 at 9:06

1 Answer 1



However, unless you are considering ultra high tech and mega structures, it would be much much cheaper to mine the ice of the moons or rings for He3.

Mining off of the moons means you don't have to deal with with weather of the gas giant.

  • $\begingroup$ ShadoCat That is an excellent point yes, pheraps it would be better to save that for when they become interstellar. What if they tried to harness the energy of the storms though? I heard that they are extremely powerful in the gas giants, could they do that with interplanetary technology? $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2021 at 23:52
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    $\begingroup$ You also don't have to deal with the gravity of the gas giant which is the biggest problem $\endgroup$
    – Thorne
    Aug 17, 2021 at 1:04
  • $\begingroup$ @JuimyTheHyena The trouble is that as Thorne mentioned, a Gas Giant's gravity well is so strong that any energy you got from the storms would be lost trying to export it out of the gravity well. Also, I question how much energy you could get. An Earth based windmill can get energy from the wind because it is anchored to the Earth. There is nothing to anchor a generator to in a gas giant. You can no doubt generate some energy that way just by being in a wind sheer area but probably not enough to offset the cost of the equipment. $\endgroup$
    – ShadoCat
    Aug 17, 2021 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ ShadoCat I see, but what if one were trying to harness the static electricity? Like through the use of lightning rods? $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2021 at 18:21
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    $\begingroup$ @JuimyTheHyena, lightning rods connected to what? You can't ground anything except to the local electric potential. Now it is possible to have very long wires that run from one zone that has potential X to a zone that has potential Y but how do you protect that wire? All of this would be nice for a floating city in the upper atmosphere of the gas giant but the cost of exporting the energy off the gas giant will likely be more than the energy itself. $\endgroup$
    – ShadoCat
    Aug 17, 2021 at 19:47

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