Questions tagged [mining]

The process or industry of obtaining inorganic resources from a location.

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7 votes
4 answers
1k views

What might happen to plastic after millions of years of geological activity?

I'm considering a worldbuilding exercise focusing on a "second generation" civilization, which arises after a previous civilization from millions of years ago either died off or left the ...
6 votes
1 answer
125 views

What are the best places in the solar system to mine for fission fuel?

Aliens show up in a generation ship. They don't particularly care about living on a planet specifically, and they don't have any interest in conquering Earth for our land or our water or our ...
3 votes
6 answers
340 views

How to properly mine an explosive ore

In my world, there is a dangerous ore that is very explosive if struck harshly, making picaxes useless. Despite this, the kingdoms want to mine it to clear room for construction, and use the substance ...
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3 votes
1 answer
83 views

Making plutonium and tritium nuclear fuel with N.I.C.E. (Nuclear Ice Contained Explosions)

I want to produce fissile material. I want to produce a lot of fissile material. Fortunately, I read the Wikipedia page on Ted Taylor. It states that: Apart from bombs, Taylor also explored concepts ...
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7 votes
6 answers
399 views

Aluminum in a renaissance era civilization

While trying to figure out how a civilization with 16-17th century technology could make airships I started to wonder how the wide availability of aluminum would affect a civilization. In our timeline ...
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2 votes
5 answers
134 views

How could large scale mining operations render an arid region unlivable?

A story I am working on sees the characters returning to a fairly arid planet that was mined heavily by an interplanetary corporation. This left most of the planet uninhabitable and forced the local ...
4 votes
3 answers
178 views

What is the ideal 'mouth' shape for rock eating robots?

The question is literally the tittle above. You're wasting your time reading this. For context: The planet Abios is inhabited by a race of sentient robots. They're mechanical. They need infrastructure ...
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5 votes
7 answers
251 views

Could the extraction of rare earth elements (REE) be more efficient on asteroids as opposed to on earth?

Could we mine or extract REEs in asteroids more easily than on earth? The following conditions apply: Ease of extraction does not include getting to the asteroid or transferring materials back to ...
5 votes
2 answers
238 views

In my story, a new metal is found, but an overlooked mineral is in the ore of the metal. Why wouldn't prospectors be able to identify it?

The story takes place in the far future. It involves space exploration and inhabiting new planets. The new overlooked mineral is an "associated mineral" - it occurs where the new metal is ...
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0 votes
3 answers
169 views

What could be ethical reasons for deep sea mining? [closed]

Unfortunately in real-life on our planet (Earth) deep sea mining for rare earth minerals is devastating to biological ecosystems and has very little motivations beyond the capitalistic/industrial ones,...
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11 votes
7 answers
2k views

Building a Dyson sphere while preserving moons/other objects?

Humans want to build a Dyson sphere around the Sun. They have noticed that Ganymede's icy composition would be perfect for mining to get the icy resources needed to build the sphere, or Mercury could ...
6 votes
1 answer
288 views

Is this asteroid realistic?

I would like to know if the following properties of this asteroid are realistic without conflicting with each other. situated in the inner part of the asteroid belt in the Solar System S-type ...
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0 votes
1 answer
89 views

What material could be found (Mining) on this planet? What could I do to have more important materials on this planet?

The planet is Earth-like with gravity: 1.05 Earth's, an Atmosphere of N2: 94% / H2O: 1% / CO2: 1% / Ar: 3% / 1% Other gases with 1 atm pressure at sea level, 40% of the land is H2O water, there is ...
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1 vote
2 answers
179 views

How feasible is it for one Medieval-era man to mine ore in real life?

I've been curious about just how well RPG mining would compare to real world mining. Assuming the proper ore was visible on the surface (therefore easy to find), how well would ol' John be able to ...
1 vote
3 answers
145 views

Would drilling up magma be a viable method to obtain resources?

Would drilling up magma be a viable method to obtain resources? The way this drilling up of magma works is by drilling a hole 0.5-2 meters wide. Magma come up & once it is a few 100 meters below ...
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2 votes
1 answer
124 views

What are some non-military reasons for a country wanting to control an impact crater where the Strait of Gibraltar used to be?

Let's say that there's a 2-million-year-old impact crater where the Strait of Gibraltar used to be, and that there's an impact peak or a series of impact peaks in the middle that are far enough above ...
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13 votes
5 answers
730 views

What is a plausible way to maximize the amount of NATIVE silver deposits in a given area?

I have a region on a 'Eurasia' style continent that is surrounded by large mountains. The reason that I came up with was a very dense and volcanically active microplate that was being compressed on ...
1 vote
0 answers
56 views

Why would one live in space [closed]

In my world build I want a civilization that lives in space and does astroid mining for resources, to build a giant moon sized AI computer orbiting the planet. However something i have trouble ...
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0 votes
1 answer
127 views

Can cold thrusters be improved for work in space

This belter got Mr.X thinking and it is a stroke of genius this time. What do we do with all that oxygen we get when extracting metals from their oxides? we liquify and use them as a reactive mass of ...
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20 votes
10 answers
3k views

Delivery of minerals to Earth from the asteroids by artificial meteorite or solid metal glider

Scenario Mining of asteroids is a successful venture in the future. However much of the resulting mineral yield is required on Earth and the problem is delivery. Carrying thousands or millions of tons ...
10 votes
8 answers
1k views

Asteroid mining and Newton's 3rd law

Imagine mankind has established mining facilities on NEOs Some of them send raw ore directly to other processing stations in space, others refine on site. All of them use a system based on cargo '...
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-4 votes
1 answer
113 views

How long until my army men can produce metal? [closed]

After a bit of fighting, both green and tan team army men decide that they need more than plastic bullets to defeat each other, they want metal to make super armored metal tanks. Green team sets up ...
6 votes
3 answers
429 views

Is the composition of the major asteroid belt bodies different enough to make trade between colonies worthwhile?

For my question I'm assuming that we're talking about colonies on the very biggest bodies that are 100s of kms in size. I'm assuming that by this point humans have become cyborgified/roboticized ...
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6 votes
4 answers
287 views

Using pre-steam technology how can a large bore tunnel be used to drain a lake from below?

General scenario A planet similar to Earth but with only 1% of Earth’s water supports a civilization with pre-steam levels of technology that live near a river on the south side of a mountain range. ...
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21 votes
8 answers
2k views

Most efficient way to break up planets for material harvesting

Rocky planets are terrible. Convenient Earth like planets are rare, but most are too cold or too hot. They are covered with sand. I don't like sand. It's coarse, and rough, and irritating, and it gets ...
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4 votes
1 answer
142 views

How fast can one mine talc?

A bit of background for this question first. I am working on a high fantasy universe that I have been expanding quite a bit over the months. I have three generic species: Men, Dwarves, and Elves. All ...
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18 votes
14 answers
5k views

How to decide if a Planet is better off to be Terraformed or Stripmined?

In Science Fiction, when civilizations grow powerful enough to conquer the planet and are in need for room, they turn to the planets in outer space. Obviously, the other planets have very different ...
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9 votes
6 answers
1k views

How could a world develop where it was necessary to mine all soil for agricultural use

I want to create a world were soil mining is a major industry. Imagine a vaguely Earth sized world where almost the entire surface of the planet is under, ocean, ice caps or is a hot or cold desert ...
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5 votes
5 answers
1k views

Discovery of advanced titanium alloys by medieval civilization?

Within the backstory of my world, I’m trying to justify the preeminence of a smaller nation as a result of its abilities with metalworking. We’re working under the assumption that this nation happens ...
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3 votes
3 answers
168 views

What would make people choose open-pit quarrying instead of tunnel mining? [closed]

I want to describe a mining town, but I envision the tunnel-type of mine, not an open quarry. All the stones/minerals that fits with the world, however, seem to have been typically extracted from open ...
1 vote
1 answer
83 views

What effects would large-scale hydraulic mining have on the landscape?

Premise/question Hydraulic mining is the process of spraying high-pressure jets of water into the ground to dislodge sediment and rocks. The muddy water from this is directed into sluices where ...
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3 votes
4 answers
156 views

How would someone actively search for titanium ores or other minerals?

I'm working on a story where the main character has to search for titanium (or rather ores containing titanium) in order to repair the hull of a ship. She's on a habitable world that's essentially a ...
4 votes
3 answers
353 views

Would a glass chisel be possible?

In a society, where everything is made up of glass, everything would break rather easily. Things like swords and mallets couldn't function in such a world. As to still have something o work with, I ...
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3 votes
2 answers
229 views

Most cost effective way of mining a giant cube tungsten

A cube of pure tungsten, 1000 feet wide on each side, sits flat in the middle of a grassy field on Earth. The owner of the field wishes to sell the tungsten. What is the most cost effective method, ...
2 votes
3 answers
167 views

Logistics of how to mine an asteroid [duplicate]

How would one go about mining an asteroid in a broad sense? This question not in the mining itself, but location of the mining. Say you have located an asteroid in that would like to mine. Which ...
2 votes
1 answer
119 views

Extracting all water from Ganymede?

Is it theoretically possible to extract all ice and water from moons with subsurface oceans like Ganymede or Enceladus? What would the consequences of isostatic rebounding be if this was done on a ...
3 votes
2 answers
251 views

How do you get steel outside Earth?

I'm looking for a more economical and efficient method of making steel for my project Death Star Unlimited, a mega infrastructure orbiting Mars with a mass of 500,000,000 metric ton give or take 1%. ...
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11 votes
6 answers
3k views

What is a good reason not to mine a planetary ring?

Most planetary rings are rich in water in the form of ice, especially now we are running low on freshwater reserves on Earth. Imagine someone discovered a huge chunk of meteorite consisting of a ...
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1 vote
3 answers
221 views

How to mine a moon made of half uranium and half radium?

Imagine one day the moon suddenly transformed into a colossal elephant's foot and we need to get to the moon to obtain sample... Could it be done using modern day technology to mine the uranium for ...
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10 votes
9 answers
3k views

What element, if any, would justify mining stars (financially)?

Alright so in my sci-fi a prominent corporation dominated by the Borlak species (Mantis-like Hexapods). The Borlak make their money by mining "dead systems", solar systems without any habitable ...
0 votes
3 answers
97 views

SFR Breeders on Small Mars Moon feasibility

Need help with a topic for a sci-fi book. Basic premise is 200yr in future, mining facility on small Mars moon of Phobos. Power source we would like is an Sodium Fast Reactor breeder as we think this ...
5 votes
3 answers
332 views

How would iron smelting work in a planet with no oxygen?

Imagine a small planet, rich with iron, but with a negligible atmosphere, mostly devoid of oxygen. Once harvested, how could iron ore be smelted and refined into iron? And would the ore itself be ...
14 votes
4 answers
800 views

Will asteroid mining be economical in foreseeable future?

I see that asteroid mining had already been extensively discussed in the context of today's technology (Ex. Is Asteroid Harvesting economic?) and the answer is a definitive "No" - it's not economical ...
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4 votes
5 answers
270 views

What are some examples of minerals that Earth might require in the future from space?

I'm looking to know about minerals that space miners can extract from other planet surfaces or directly from asteroids. Something that Earth as a planet may need in the future.
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15 votes
9 answers
3k views

Methods and Feasibility of Antimatter Mining?

Say 200-300 years in the future, humankind has colonized much of the solar system, using a combination of laser thermal drives and solid-core nuclear rockets (fusion never really panned out). ...
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6 votes
4 answers
188 views

Identifying minerals without sight

Properly ventilating a deep mine is a significant engineering challenge. Ergo, you don't want to be carrying around torches that use up some of your precious breathing oxygen if you don't absolutely ...
19 votes
4 answers
762 views

How deep could dwarves actually delve?

Given an arbitrarily long time to do so, what is the maximum depth too which a dwarven civilization could practically extend their mines / cities? And what would be the final limiting factor ...
4 votes
2 answers
938 views

How long would it take a single person to mine and refine ore necessary to smith with?

So the backstory is I am DM-ing a 5e D&D game for my players; I have just given them a forge that makes magical items if it uses a certain ore from inside the mine it is in. They have 1 dwarf who ...
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7 votes
10 answers
2k views

What benefits would be gained by using human laborers instead of drones in deep sea mining?

In the near future the demand for resources only rises due to both a ever growing population, energy and resource crises, and rampant consumerism. Peak oil has been reached, scarce resources like ...
36 votes
30 answers
10k views

What would be the most expensive material to an intergalactic society?

Imagine an intergalactic society that has the following abilities\tech: Warp drive allows trips between stars in days and galaxies in weeks. Able to live in spaceships for long time without health ...
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