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I'm amidst crafting a world but not sure how to fill in a few gaps. Your suggestions and ideas would be greatly appreciated!

  1. I've got a scenario where an extraterrestrial meteor hits planet earth. It carries with it a mineral formation that can self-replicate.

  2. Refined version of this mineral formation yields Neutronium, which is exceptionally easy to use for fusion.

  3. However, the byproduct of said neutronium is harmful and not discovered until later. It releases a gas which interferes with biological growth and causes mass infertility,.

So the questions are as follows;

  1. What sort of mechanical action would be required for the mineral to self-replicate? Nutrients? Oxygen? etc.

  2. Does anyone have suggestions on the mechanical action of the waste from said neutronium on how it interferes with reproduction and fertility?

Obviously - since this is sci-fic - we're not going for by-the-books accurate. But some reasonable logic would really help flesh out this world I'm crafting.

Thanks everyone!

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    $\begingroup$ Neutronium is a real thing, different from what yiu describe. This sounds like a comic book plot, so generally fails “reality check”. Nothing about this is reasonable logic about how things work. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jan 30 '17 at 1:20
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz That's a lot harsher than it needs to be. 90% of the content of this site fails "reality check" but the whole point of asking about it is to make it reasonably passable. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 30 '17 at 1:39
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    $\begingroup$ As noted, this was meant to be a sci-fi plot. $\endgroup$ – NightsWhisper Jan 30 '17 at 1:39
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, I was evaluating it as reality-check as asked. That tag carries specific semantics. Plenty of good fiction is not realistic. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jan 30 '17 at 1:42
  • $\begingroup$ Please, one question per question, and don't use names that already have scientific meaning. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jan 31 '17 at 7:34
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From a strictly science-based perspective, you can get pretty close.

You can use a real element as your "Neutronium", and play with its characteristics to suit your purposes, if you're willing to bend the rules a bit.

Replication

This is the hardest criteria to meet. With a scientific base, it's really hard to get an element to "make more of itself", and you'd be better off having it cause a chemical reaction around it that makes something similar. Having said that, Neutronium can be a decay product of the actual meteor's material. It doesn't strictly replenish itself, but the meteor / surrounding rock generates it over time, so it may initially appear to replicate.

Nuclear potential

Another workaround, you can ditch nuclear fusion for nuclear fission, the process we use in reactors today. You can only get energy from fusion using the lighter elements, all of which we have discovered with certainty. Fusion won't work from a scientific perspective if you want a strictly alien element, because we've discovered everything we can fuse with.
Meanwhile, we have yet to discover all the heavy elements, the ones you would use in nuclear fission. There is a hypothetical island of stability - a range of mostly stable elements that are supposed to be out there somewhere - that you could make the meteor with, and use fissure for energy.

Harmful byproduct

This becomes rather easy. Nuclear reactions produce radiation, which isn't particularly healthy. Releasing a ton of radioactive particles by crashing a radioactive meteor would give a whole lot of people cancer, and chemotherapy to treat that cancer can cause infertility.

Bonus

If you use a super heavy element, it will likely have a lot of neutrons. This is a great way to derive the name Neutronium.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much for the response. Would you say there were a QUICKER way for something to create infertility? Treating Cancer to cause mass infertility is a bit slow for my purposes. (Sounds terrible... I know..) $\endgroup$ – NightsWhisper Jan 30 '17 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ See this video for what neutronium would actually do if you had a sample. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jan 30 '17 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ @NightsWhisper perhaps the radiation itself damages enough cells or causes enough cancers. It's hard to find a method just to target that area however. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 30 '17 at 2:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Zxyrra can replication be just crystal growth? Some sort of catalyzing process that makes more and more of the mineral? This is an area of chemistry I'm very weak in, so I'm spitballing. $\endgroup$ – SRM Jan 30 '17 at 4:22
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    $\begingroup$ @ Nightswhisper ...The same radiation described above could attack the RNA of a simple, otherwise innocuous virus, bringing about mutations (highly plausible), maybe one of the herpes or perhaps a rhinovirus, now with the added effect that the virus now also interrupts cellular meiosis, preventing the formation of the haploid cells needed for reproduction $\endgroup$ – Joe Jan 30 '17 at 16:45
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I asked a question a while back involving self replicating metal, and the answer (with some heavy rulebending) could apply here too.

Living metal

The mineral itself does not self replicate, but is home to a colony of bacteria . This bacteria consumes resources (perhaps for safety sake limit what it eats) and secretes your element as waste. This will be a slow process however, but the writer can accelerate it a bit.

To solve the fertility problem: A sub strain of the above mentioned bacteria (or another strain altogether) feeds on the reproductive cells, preventing pregnancy. If you want to go darker, amniotic fluid or the fetus itself.

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