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Old Jun 16 2008, 08:06 AM   #6

Kath's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Oop North

Fan of: Moreta
Default Re: Titanium on Pern

Originally Posted by Cheryl View Post
I was going with the theory that Pern is metal-poor in general, not just the super valuable ones.
Has anyone ever asked Anne what she meant by 'metal-poor'?

I guess it's one of those things that bugs me. No space-based culture would ever bother with 'traditional' metals stuck at the bottom of a planet's gravity well, even if the whole place was literally paved with gold (or iron, or titanium, or whatever) - it's simply far easier to crunch up asteroids in your local space-based manufactory.

Heavier, rarer metals on the other hand... you're going to need to search for those well within the snow line of a solar system, and they're going to be at their highest density in the inner planets simply because much of the ices and lighter materials that could decrease their concentration would have been driven off into the outer parts of the system. Plus, you get lovely tectonic processes on the 'right' kind of planets that can recycle deposits of the right ores onto the surface, rather than keeping the dense stuff locked into the planets' cores. And again, it's pretty much impossible to make a planet that's seriously devoid of metals such as iron, while by tweaking the constituents of the initial solar system nebula in a plausible manner you can easily banish all (or at least a significant percentage) of the transuranics!

[As an aside, Pern really does need a high iron content at the very least - it's a dinky little speck of a planet judging by the Atlas and various canon references, and it simply needs a large, dense core of something in order to give it earth-like gravity. Short of stuffing the planet's core with Unobtanium, or perhaps a singularity-sized compression of everything ever left behind in between since day one, there isn't much of an alternative!]

Oh well. I don't expect Anne ever considered half of this, or maybe even any of it! But still, where she's vague, I usually lean towards whatever explanation makes most sense, though I certainly don't expect everyone else to do the same!
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