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Yesterday i was playing a bit of Aurora 4x, and among other resources, there's one called Sorium, which is then refined to produce fuel for starships. Sorium is found on gas giants, or super jovian planets, which are defined as extremely large gas giants.

I was wondering: how could a spaceship capable of interplanetary travel move between a base and a gas giant, dive in its atmosphere, gather the Sorium and get back?

I reckon a gas giant has usually a thick atmosphere, high pressure and a much stronger gravity than say, Earth.

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    $\begingroup$ Relevant XKCD: what-if.xkcd.com/138 And I am pretty sure I have seen something similar around here before, but I can't find it... $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Mar 10 '17 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ Anyways: Here are some questions that might be interesting for you. Setting up a mine and orbiting inside both related to gas giants. $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Mar 10 '17 at 9:51
  • $\begingroup$ "I reckon a gas giant has usually a thick atmosphere" - they don't. Hm or it depends on what you mean by an atmosphere. Below 1bar density grows pretty rapidly because of scale height 27km, nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/jupiterfact.html (scale height seems to vary because of temperatures variations, but ...) As answer o your question - they don't, they probably should use special equipment for extracting the stuff. $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Mar 12 '17 at 10:31
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I'd look into a floating mining base like has been proposed on Venus. If the atmosphere is thick enough then the base can be supported by balloons which could double as the air supply. Then, you can have the filters/harvesters on the base. You'd have to create a means of getting the processed gas back into orbit of course. NASA made a video about this for Venus awhile back so thats worth watching to see what it would look like.

Link: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.space.com/29140-venus-airship-cloud-cities-incredible-technology.html&ved=0ahUKEwjTqrnq9tPSAhUprlQKHXy_Cu8Qo7QBCBowAA&usg=AFQjCNGqQG2ACTVnomQ0GFgA0q8TV0ihww&sig2=MX20uAckhdLyFMselSX5yA

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To harvest such resources, there might be some troubles to face first.

1) A gas giant has a huge temperature (about 20 000K, says Wiki)
2) That space ship will need very strong motors, because, like you said, there is a giant G-Force          there.
3) How on (haha) earth will you manage to create a kind of Mine there? I mean, the G-Force will          make your mine collapse very soon, unless you use some kind of super-strong-steel...

Despite all this, it is theoretically possible to mine such things, or to gather them if they're lying ready for you.
If your spaceships/civilization is ready to travel interplanetary, it's possible.

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  • $\begingroup$ Gas giants are not any hotter than other planets. Perhaps the core is, but you're not going to the core. The gravity is not necessarily huge, either, Saturn for example has a gravity pretty much the same as Earth's thanks to its low density. Jupiter however does have over 2.5 g. (which would be difficult for humans and annoying for spacecraft, but certainly not any problem for typical structural materials) $\endgroup$ – Elukka Mar 12 '17 at 21:56
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Harvest via extraction. Your mining craft orbits the gas giant, and "injects"/inserts a flexible, tough-as-hell, tube to the optimum atmospheric depth, and extracts the resource being mined.

The key is the flexibility of the tube to compensate for wind speeds etc. The tube is also filled with nano bots that uses transference to move the resource up through the tube.

The Tube can therefore be squashed under atmospheric pressure, as there is no sucking taking place. It is a process similar to osmosis.

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