I have to turn back. I've already drank half my coffee. I'll need to restock. Next time I'll take less real food to stock more coffee. I don't mind living off nutrient bars. I man's got to have his priorities. But don't worry, I'll be surveying systems until I get back to occupied space - even if I have to ration the coffee... gods forbid.
This past week of exploration I've surveyed 13 systems. Most have been visited before and I'm just providing confirmation data. However, there were several systems no one had ever surveyed. In particular was a T Tauri system, WREDGUIA HD-N B48-2, that was nicely lucrative with a high metal content world, a couple of fat gas giants and four ringed planets in all; plus a 50% first surveyor bonus. Prospectors always see to skip the proto stars as if the don't matter. I know better. They all matter.
The first system of note I visited was WREDGUIA RO-G C24-18. My initial scan showed 18 astronomical bodies in addition to the primary star, but the radar display didn't show much: just a binary star pair and four planets. I thought the rest would be mostly worthless moons. Man, was I wrong.
The first planet I surface scanned was a high metal content world. It was an orange world with lovely white clouds. I call these creamsicle worlds. The next planet was also a high metal content world of Io type topography with a large rocky moon. It had lots of sulfur and past volcanic activity but nothing very recent. A good stable mining world. And the high metal content worlds just kept coming. All four planets of the K class primary yellow-orange star were high metal content worlds with the fourth planet being a terraforming candidate!
I then turned my attention to the M class red dwarf companion star. That turned out to be the biggest surprise of this system. Most prospector think these are mostly dead and always cold stars. True enough in many cases, but now always. Not shown on my initial radar were eight more planets. What's more, they were ALL high metal content worlds. Planet two and three were the first high metal content binary planets I've ever surveyed. And more to my amazement, the last three planets were terraforming candidates. One of them had an atmosphere unlike anything I'd ever seen. The seventh planet has a 100% water atmosphere. Doesn't that make it a water world? I don't even know how that works. I'm a surveyor, not a planetologist.
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The next system of note I surveyed was the class F white star WREDGUIA IH-D D12-53. This is a trinary star system with a class K yellow-orange and class M red dwarf in orbit around the primary star. The surprise in this system wasn't just that there were two terraforming candidates in orbit, but that one of them did not orbit and of the three stars! WREDGUIA IH-D D12-53 A 2 is the first ringed water world in orbit around a gas giant I have ever encountered. It was spectacular! But with an argon atmosphere and below freezing average surface temperatures it will take a long time before humans will live there. The other terraforming candidate was WREDGUIA IH-D D12-53 B 1, which has a spectacular ice cap. I'm not sure how that happens on a planet with an average global temperature of 60 degrees Celsius, but it'll be habitable long before planet A 2.
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WREDGUIA HD-N B48-1 was another good system with 14 (!) high metal content worlds. This system is another illustration of why you cannot assume small cold stars aren't valuable. Six of those 14 valuable worlds orbit a class L brown dwarf. It isn't even a proper star, yet it's got enough gravity to hold that metal in orbit and pay for my extra coffee. Hell, WREDGUIA HD-N B48-1 even looks like coffee until you get really close. Then it looks like coffee laced with Red Bull.
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WREDGUIA DX-O B47-1 was also another high value system. It had eight high metal content worlds and half of them are terraforming candidates with three of those being Mars type worlds. Interestingly, all four planets are able to occupy the star's Goldilocks zone because they form a pair of binary pairs. But the coolest thing for me about this system is I'm the first surveyor to ever scan it. I'll get 50% more money for the effort and a little bit of immortality as the discoverer of these worlds. Way cool.
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So how much could I make from this system you wonder? Well, at current Cartographic payouts, this system will bring me a minimum of 110,400 credits. That's a minimum 1200 credits per star (this was a trinary system,) 2500 credits per high metal content world and 15,000 credits per terraforming candidate - plus another 50% of the total as a first finder bonus. That's the minimum. The maximum payout could be as high as 150,750 credits, though I know some of these planets will not fetch maximum price. That's not bad for about 30 minutes of survey work minus the site seeing. It beats the hell out of a monotonous trade run; that's for sure.
Of the 13 systems I surveyed this week, 10 of them made it into my planetary system library. WREDGUIA QO-G C24-1 was just a plasma monster without any companions or planets and WREDGUIA HD-N B48-3 and WREDGUIA DX-O B47-3 just had ice worlds. You can find the 10 interesting systems in my planetary system library below.