Sideritic asteroids are composed of almost pure nickel iron, and represent a sizeable proportion of all asteroids in most star systems. They are moderately bright and fairly dense. It is believed that these asteroids originated from larger parent bodies that had developed sufficiently to become differentiated; that is, they had begun to form a crust, mantle, and core. Almost certainly these bodies were then destroyed by collisional processes with other bodies in the very early stages of planetary formation, when a typical inner system region might contain hundreds of planetesimal bodies. The result would be, of course, the smaller and often irregularly shaped metallic Sideritic asteroids.
Many Siderites have eccentric orbits, reflecting the volatile birth that they experienced. However, many are also found in confined belt orbits. Those in belt orbits are prone to further impacts with other belt objects, and as such represent the source of most iron meteorites.
Sideritic asteroids, classically called M-type asteroids, are probably the richest and most sought after of bodies when it comes to minerals. Planetary economies are often maintained by the mining of these bodies, and industrial bases often rely on Siderites for raw materials in the manufacture of many items.
A Sideritic Tale
In 2443 Amtech established an outpost on asteroid 22 Kalliope, a Sideritic Type Asteroidal Class body some 180 kilometers in diameter. The base was to be designated the Ardele Mining Post, and sported a full population of 420 individuals. The administration center was placed in orbit on the asteroid's satellite. Already host to many deep crevices, work on this asteroid soon created a network of crisscrossing tunnels. As these tunnels were played out, they became new habitation and storage space for the outpost.
In 2476, a miscalculation is rock depth lead the automated diggers in the Dina Tunnel to break through into a deep crevice that had been designated C-S12 during the initial asteroid survey. While workers were erecting a sealant wall, others took advantage of the opportunity to investigate the crevice's interior, which was twenty some meters in diameter, as opposed to the three meter entrance on the asteroid surface, some 120 meters above. What was discovered, lying crumpled in a far corner among some boulders, absolutely amazed the workers and sent shockwaves through the scientific community.
A body, mummified from exposure to space, lay among those rocks, draped within the torn ruins of a spacesuit unlike any other on record. At first it was thought that this was some prospector from an earlier era in space exploration, who had fallen down the crevice and had been killed when her spacesuit had ruptured in the hail of sharp rocks that had accompanied her to the bottom. But further tests revealed that the body was at least eleven thousand years old. This was the Kalliope Woman, one of the first concrete pieces of evidence that Humans had ventured out into space at a time when they were thought to have only existed in primitive societies. In time, she would be linked to the era of the so called Lost Civilization, and Man's first expansion into space under the tutelage of the alien Sivata.
Today the Kalliope Woman rests in a special wing of the Smithsonian-Geographic Terran Museum in New York on Earth as the center piece to an entire discipline on the Lost Civilization period.
Sideritic asteroids represent a great source of mineralogical wealth, and in a developed solar system most are scarred not only by ancient impacts, but by mining pits as well.
Siderites of Note: In the Sol System, the asteroid Kalliope is a famous Sideritic body. It hosts the Ardele Mining Post, which has come to honeycomb the body, and was the site of the discovery of the Kalliope Woman. This was a body discovered in a deep crevice, dating back nearly eleven thousand years, and was presumably a Human from the Lost Civilization era. In the Alpha Centauri A system, the Siderite Caphonos was the first asteroid in that system to be host to an extraplanetary mining operation.
Uses: As has been noted, Sideritic asteroids are mainly used for mining purposes, being the source of great mineral wealth. However, they are also often used as outposts or bases, due to their greater than average density and on hand construction materials.
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