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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Galaxy Survey Expedition One – Log Entry 5: Why Survey rather than Prospect

WREDGUIA FB-F D11-42: that is the only star system you need review to understand why prospecting rather than surveying is the ultimate in losing propositions. It is a trinary system with the main star being a class G white-yellow youngish plasma monster. That at least marks this system as one not to pass up. Let's start our lesson by having a look at the initial scan of WREDGUIA FB-F D11-42.

[caption id="attachment_4849" align="aligncenter" width="1920"]WREDGUIA FB-F D11-42 Initial Scan WREDGUIA FB-F D11-42 Initial Scan[/caption]

As you can see in the upper right corner of my ship's HUD, there are a total of 19 astronomical objects in this system. That includes the main star identified when I nearly dropped into it from hyperspace, and the 18 new objects discovered by the Advanced Discovery Scanner. Now, have a look at the radar display. Notice that none of the supposed planets are visible on that display, and only two of the stellar masses show. That would indicate great distances between star in this system. A quick look at the navigation screen can confirm the suspicion.

[caption id="attachment_4853" align="aligncenter" width="1920"]WREDGUIA FB-F D11-42 Navigation Screen WREDGUIA FB-F D11-42 Navigation Screen[/caption]

As you can see, the two other stars, though not yet scanned, can only be those first column objects at 66,596 light-seconds and 67,099 light-seconds. That's a long way, and a quick check of the galaxy map will confirm the other two stars are red dwarfs.

This is the point where prospectors lose. The common wisdom of prospecting says red dwarfs have mostly icy worlds and if they are further away than a couple thousand light-seconds one should move on. It just isn't worth the time to fly all the way out there just to find a bunch of worthless ice balls. At this point the prospector targets the next system and engages hyperdrive.

The surveyor understands the need to map all the astronomical objects because it is not up to him or her to decide what is valuable and what is not. So the surveyor sets course, puts the throttle on 80% (because anything more risks undue wear and tear on the engines and I'm a LONG ways out,) and decides to take a short nap.

When the ship reaches those far way embers, the work of scanning all the things starts. You feel lucky if one of those astronomical objects is a high metal content world. If two are high metal content worlds you've hit the mini-jackpot. Then there are days when you scan two distant red dwarfs and hit the mother lode (for red dwarfs at least; let's not get too carried away with visions of riches.) This video chronicles what a red dwarf bonanza is.


If you count all those valuable planets, there are 13 of them. At current cartographic payouts, that will bring me between 36,100 credits and 56,500 credits. Add to that my potential 50% first surveyor bonus and this system is worth up to 84,750 credits. That is hardly worthless, but every prospector out there has just flown by this system. I'm not so far out of touch as to believe no one else has ever dropped out of hyperspace in front of this system's main class G star, but I do know prospectors leave when the distances are discovered. That's why I survey. As the old movie says, "is like a box of chocolates."

There were other highlights from my surveys too. In all a dozen new systems made it into my video catalog. Here are the highlights.

[gallery type="square" size="medium" ids="4865,4864,4863,4862,4861,4860,4859,4858"]

At WREDGUIA EX-O B47-3 there were only four planets of note, but they comprised a terrestrial type water world with carbon-water-based life, two high metal content worlds one of which was as dark as coal-black, and a rare terrestrial type ammonia world with active ammonia-based chemistry and carbon-ammonia-based life!

At WREDGUIA NI-I C23-14 I dropped out of hyperdrive to discover two stellar objects on my radar, yet the galaxy map only listed one. To say this piqued my curiosity is an understatement. When I looked at the navigation screen, it was piqued even more as the "stellar" object was listed like a planet. You know, with the icon in the second column under the primary rather than in the first as secondary stellar objects usually are. When I flew out to it, that object was one of the strangest damn things I've yet encountered: a Y class brown dwarf with the most gorgeous ring system. Also in that system were four high metal content worlds (two with rings,) and a metal-rich planet that looked like the center of a steel foundry bucket. That was one molten glob of space metal let me tell you.

At WREDGUIA ER-Q B46-5 I had a close encounter with a close binary pair. Fortunately, I did not drop out of hyperspace between them. They were actually in orbit of the main red dwarf. This was a second red dwarf with a class T brown dwarf in very close proximity. They were a gorgeous pair. But that wasn't the most surprising find in this quadruple star system comprising two red dwarfs and two brown dwarfs.  Nestled in the Goldilocks zone of the primary red dwarf, a mere 113 light-seconds away from it, was, incredibly, a terrestrial water world with carbon-water-based life! I was not the first surveyor to visit though. Commander Thoms had already surveyed all the things, including the fourth brown dwarf more than 73,000 light-seconds distant. Good work Commander Thoms!

For those who would like the reference, here is my updated video catalog. You can select a specific system of interest by using the drop down menu icon (the three horizontal line icon) in the upper left corner. Enjoy!


1 comment:

  1. […] Galaxy Survey Expedition One – Log Entry 5: Why Survey rather than Prospect April 26, 2015 […]


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