A ductile metal with an atomic weight of 63.5 and atomic number 29, copper has high thermal and electrical conductivity. On this planet as on Earth, trace amounts of copper are necessary as a dietary mineral in lifeforms, in which it serves as a key element in the respiratory enzyme cytochrome oxidase. Being malleable, it has been used on ancient Earth in every manner, from weaponry to decorative art, from coinage to construction, as well as being the primary component of several alloys. Found in large surface deposits on this planet, copper is crucial to the colonies for its electrical properties, and is used for integrated circuits, circuit boards and magnetrons. Copper is also used extensively on-planet for heat sinks and heat exchangers in lieu of aluminum due to its superior heat dissipation. The homes of most Colonists use copper wiring and plumbing exclusively, as it is relatively inexpensive and other minerals used for these purposes on Earth are not as abundant. Because of its beneficial properties – including its electrical conductivity, tensile strength, corrosion and creep resistance, low thermal expansion, and ease of smelting – planetary survey crews made locating copper deposits a prime objective after first landings. In decades before the Great Mistake, antimicrobial properties of copper had also been discovered regarding its effectiveness in countering a wide range of bacteria, adenoviruses, spores and fungi; investigation of its application as a counter-agent to xenomass-produced miasma has accelerated after promising initial tests.