Building in Beyond Earth
A Microbial Mine has similar effects to aSkycrane
One of the offshoots of research into synergetics was biomining, the extraction of exotic minerals from raw ores by genetically mutated epistatic microorganisms. Mutated acidophilic archaea (from, for instance, Pyrococcus furiosus or Sulfolobus metallicus) are used to leach out even minute amount of minerals from the ore, as opposed to the more expensive and energy intensive methods of extreme heat or reactive chemicals. First used in asteroid mining prior to the Seeding, microbial mining techniques were applied to the ore brought up from the olivine mantle using several species of bacteria to isolate various rare earths and minerals. The colonial missions included samples and genetic maps of these bacteria, which became the basis for synergetic research on this planet. In time, and continuing now, a number of booming microorganisms were engineered for production of rare but critical elements such as promethium and technetium, both without stable isotopes. Microbial mining facilities resemble laboratories more than foundries, segmented into clean rooms to limit contamination of the rare minerals, and are usually placed near the ore sites – in some cases in underground facilities near canyons or boreholes. Given that the process of microbial mining is relatively benign in terms of ecological impact, it has become the favored method of extracting minerals – even common ones – for a number of settlements.