New answers tagged

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Crazy idea, based on deadly endemic cave species and Seallussus' idea of a tolerance the locals have built over years against the poisenous atmosphere: It's a high-security bank vault The locals (in that case a tribe of 200 to 300 people but with a steady population) are not interested in money or the value of “dead” materials (gold and jewels, anything you ...


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The town is an exile / hideout / prison / isolation for one important person (the river and trade route might be a little unfavourable for a prison) Maybe the prisoner was the leader of a riot against the king or a fanatic cult. Or even guilty of war crimes while helping the actual king claiming his throne. And after a life of intrigues and battles this ...


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Endemic species There are endemic species that only evolved on one island or in one cave after being cut off from the rest of the world... let's assume the super narrow vertical hole leads to a cave deep below the desert, the only place where a rare species (animal, herb, fungus) lives which is either the caviar of your world or something you can extract a ...


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"The kingdom is pretty dependent upon this resource." - that could be anything, If it's either world-beating quality (the world's best mirrors/porcellain/wine) or unique (the dutch East-India Company was the only supplier for nutmeg for some time because it only grew on one island) it might grow into an essential part of that countrie's economy. ...


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Meteoric Iron Ancient civilizations called Meteoric Iron many different things: star metal, metal from heaven, fire from heaven, lightning iron, etc. but one things is true across the whole ancient world. They all attributed mystical or divine properties to this natural alloy making it by far one of the most rare and valuable substances in the ancient world....


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As soon as you say desert, the obvious answer is water. In this case: The "river" would be underground, so the staff of 15 maintains access to the water. The value is that without this water stop, the trade route could not cross the desert. The reason it doesn't grow: with more people more food would need to be brought in, making the trade route ...


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Salt. In the pre-industrial world salt was an essential ingredient in food preservation and seasoning. It was also a luxury good because the only way it was by either; A) the use of evaporation ponds where possible in coastal regions or inland via (rare) salt water springs. B) Mining it. Either from buried underground seams (ancient ocean beds or salt lakes ...


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A ferry Travellers come along. They have no way to cross the river safely with their goods and animals. They pay you in gold or valuable goods that they are carrying. Ferry boat across the Nile


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This resource is INFORMATION. Or unique skills this 15 people possesses. This 15 people are Guild of Cloud Watchers. They observe clouds all day, and say, when there will be drought, rain or where winds will blow in various kingdoms, surrounding the desert. But, to be honest, their forecasts not always true, but local governors believes them, so, its reason ...


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Prophet. https://citydesert.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/daniel-the-stylite/ Saint Daniel first lived in the church of the Archangel Michael, but after some nine years, Saint Symeon the Stylite appeared to him in a vision, commanding him to imitate his own ascetical struggle upon a pillar. The remaining thirty-three years of his life he stood for varying ...


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A unique animal to the desert that has to be undisturbed to produce product X. I'll just use ostriches here to give that thing a name, also because it's used a lot in ancient Arabic poetry and they lived in the desert. But you can change it to Griffins or whatever you want. Also change the product. I'll just call it X. It can be gold, magical lighting gems, ...


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Plutonium and product only obtainable thru fission If you're talking about elements(as opposed to molecules), then Plutonium can naturally occurs on planets (see the Oklo Natural nuclear fission reactor) but not in asteroid. Note that even inside the Oklo mine, you can not currently find Plutonium (it decayed long ago), but your civilisation can certainly ...


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Simple sedimentary or metamorphic rock. Seriously. Asteroids don't have the flowing water needed to form sediments, nor do they have the tectonic activity needed to compress and heat rocks to make metamorphic ones. If you want some nice sandstone for your fancy space hotel, you'll need to import it from Earth or Mars. It might be possible to manufacture it, ...


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Agricultural products Sure, you can grow small amounts of food in orbital growhouses and hydroponics. But planets provide you with plenty of space for large-scale farming, forestry and animal husbandry. When launch costs aren't too expensive in your world, then planetary agriculture might be far more economical than orbital agriculture.


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I'd believe that you shouldn't be able to find any mineral or rock that must have some kind of differentiation in their genesis, since most asteroids don't have the temperature or the time or the mechanisms to do such processes. Their composition is pretty much always iron-niquel. The rocks I'm talking about are things like granites, andesites, or acid rocks....


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Basically any material that was build up by our oceans. So again lime(stone), any form of salt deposits (being regular NaCl "cooking salt" AND other salts used for solid fertilizers) Then stuff that formed under heavy compression deep below earths crust - like diamonds and other half / full jewels - smaller asteroids simply lack the pressure and ...


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Every mineral that needs liquid water to form, i.e. minerals formed in hydro-thermal processes. Since small cosmic bodies such as asteroids lack liquid water and hot cores, hydrothermal processes are very unlikely to occur.


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Anything that needs high heat and pressure to form. Diamonds are the standard example but others exist. Or even granite. It better be pretty cheap to lift, but maybe granite tile is all the rage amongst the wealthy.


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Bitcoin Because you can fit more server farms on a planet than on an asteroid. Also the Deep Space Network has very high latency, you get better internet on Earth's surface. Drugs You can't grow weed and magic mushrooms on space rocks.


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Concentrated anything. Asteroids have everything mixed. Eventually, heavier minerals are deeper inside, if the asteroid has long enough molten past. They lack atmosphere and hydrosphere that can selectively dissolve, transport and precipitate minerals. Volatiles. Water, amonia, gases of any kind. Evaporated long ago. A tiny amounts may be found trapped in ...


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Concentrated uranium & thorium ores. Obviously, rocky asteroids contain uranium and thorium as well, but only in very low concentrations. One might think that the density of such substances would result in them being trapped in planetary cores--and to some extent, they are--but the chemistry of uranium and thorium results in their compounds being ...


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Ores. Most of the things we mine have been concentrated by hydrothermal or long-ago biological processes, which is the only reason they can be mined economically.


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Hydrogen and Helium Light elements are abundant in universe, but are hard to remain in small gravity bodies. However, gas giants Saturn and Jupiter are the obvious sources in Solar System.


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The most obvious ones are those made by living beings, but there are also those created in the presence of liquid water (like the ones they identified on Mars) or atmosphere (whether because of free oxygen, or because of the other gases in a reducing atmosphere, like that of every other planet in the solar system, or Earth's before blue-green algae). There's ...


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Minerals of biological origin. Chalk, various types of limestone, marble, coal, fossils, petrified wood, amber, guano. It is surprisingly hard to find examples of non-biological minerals that are unique to planets. Early solar system conditions allow of the formation of minerals we would not think would be able ot form at a casual look at space conditions. ...


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Terraforming is valuable for 2 reasons: shortage of living space for the evergrowing human population human luxury - having the option to live in and experience different worlds Point 1 will get solved when people learn to live in free space. Which isn't that hard considering we can more or less do it right now - but won't have near-light speed travel or ...


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Why can't you just stripmine the planet and then terraform it afterwards? There's no ecology so you aren't harming anything strip mining it. Presumably you are only collecting valuable minerals and elements from concentrated deposits which still leaves behind all the more mundane stuff that biology (as we know it anyways) is mostly composed of plus traces of ...


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Strip mining doesn't automatically placate the planet is uninhabitable. What are you extracting you have to ruin the entire biosphere? Strip mining is a cheap method of mining, but depending on what mineral resource your extracting; that doesn't bode well for strip mines. China is full of them for rare earths and they're environmental nightmares. Mining ...


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No FTL? Terraforming is strongly preferred. Consider this - terraforming takes a long time. Do you know what else takes a really long time? Getting anywhere without FTL. There are 33 stars within 12.5 light years of Earth. Travelling at 0.5c requires having about 1.4e16 J kinetic energy per kg, and via e=mc^2 we know 1 kg could be converted into about 8.9e16 ...


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Magnetic field or no. A planet without a magnetic field gets harsh treatment from its star. The solar wind strips away any atmosphere, as happened to Mars when its internal dynamo faded. Those charged particles in the wind are also brutal for life (and electronics) on the surface. The only prospect for life on a planet with no magnetic field is in deep ...


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They will terraform any planet that they can and ignore most of the rest As much as I love theorizing about mega-structures, the cost of pulling matter out of a planet's gravity well is immense; so, unless your civilization is using some manner of Non-Newtonian, free energy method of strip mining a planet, chances are that what ever fuel they are using to ...


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Disassemble everything: asteroids, planets, stars. A constantly-growing civilization which can think in the long-term will inevitably realize that it will hit constraints on population density based primarily off the number of people its resources can support, and once that happens, demographic crisis looms. Its goal, then, will be to obtain as much ...


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Neither option would be acceptable for any advanced civilisation, which would by definition be aware of the ecological consequences of its actions. They would take a 'tread lightly' approach and ensure that planetary life, archaeology etc is nurtured and encouraged, not exterminated for gain. They're not idiotic, genocidal 18th-century colonialists for ...


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The game Spaceward Ho! demonstrates a key criterion for this decision. Some parts of a world can be modified by terraforming (which the game represents as "temperature") and some cannot ("gravity"). Planets with good gravity (the range of 3/5 to 5/3 that of your homeworld) are good for terraforming. Planets with bad gravity (less than ...


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Terraforming is going to be a far greater investment than strip-mining. However, the cost will still vary wildly based on what the planet is like. Planets which are close to the target for terraforming will cost less to terraform, but will be in short supply. So the logic will likely go: Are we really low on a particular resource this planet has? Strip mine ...


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If the planets are unable to be terraformed, like those seen around red dwarfs, then strip mine them. This is because planets around class M stars usually have the star defeat all attempts to terraform the planet, since the solar radiation will strip away any atmosphere you may add. In fact, it's now theorized that planets like the Trappist 1 planets may all ...


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I don't think terraforming really ever makes sense. It just takes so incredibly long that it's just much more efficient to make orbital habitats by stripmining asteroids. In our own solar system, there is enough matter floating around in asteroids and minor planets to make many tens of thousands of habitats providing thousands of times the surface area of ...


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If it is a planet, terraform. Sure, hollow habitats are neat, but if you have the tech and energy budget that there is a genuine choice to strip-mine a planet, you are rich enough to afford the luxury of a planetary habitat. Wind and sun in your face, hiking the hills and sailing the seas, that just doesn't feel the same in an artificial habitat. People are ...


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Air and Cold Intake air (oxygen), and dump waste gases. A cold reservoir for those heat engines that you need to keep the air and water pumps going. You can mine mountain ranges from the inside for their cold. (Optional) Space for trash disposal if your ecologically-minded folks don't want to dump into magma.


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I find it hard to find a strong reason (resource or otherwise) for underground creatures to be on the surface. Vacation Why do we all flock to the beaches every summer? Because it's cooler there, and you can swim in the sea (which is decidedly not our natural habitat). Also you can go out at night and gaze at the stars. It's nice, really. So it's not that ...


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Food, clothes and plant-based products Your creatures might be fond of fruits, berries, nuts, mushrooms, truffles, and veggies that can be found on the surface. Even If they already have a good supply of underground nutrition sources, these still might count as a luxurious dish. Another use of plants is anything derived from them, for example, natural ...


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Some options: Energy - there are not so many source of energy down there and they all are not effective in earth depths. You can't burn oil or coal (for long) - due to products build up. And thermal energy cannot be extracted without good cooler. So they may want to have: Free water (in form of liquid and vapor) - is perfect source of mechanical energy and ...


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