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Subject: Prospecting in atmospheric 'Aerostat' Sites rss

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David Ells
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The rules (2.6E & 5.6B) state that Laser-type Robonauts may not perform aProspect Operation in Sites with an Atmosphere. These Sites include Venus, Mars, Saturn, Titan, and Uranus.

For those Sites, you must use either a Missile or Buggy Robonaut. So far, so good.

Yet the Venus, Saturn and Uranus Sites are represented in the game as 'Aerostats', since their 'surface' is not otherwise suitable for landing. Venus features a dense (92 atm) atmosphere of Sulfuric acid clouds and a average surface temperature of 462 C; Saturn is a 'gas giant, and Uranus is an 'ice giant', and all feature high-speed winds.

Edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volatiles

"Planetary scientists often class volatiles with exceptionally low melting points, such as hydrogen and helium, as gases (as in gas giant), while those volatiles with melting points above about 100 K are referred to as ices. The terms "gas" and "ice" in this context can apply to compounds that may be solids, liquids or gases. Thus, Jupiter and Saturn are referred to as "gas giants", and Uranus and Neptune are referred to as "ice giants", even though the vast majority of the "gas" and "ice" in their interiors is a hot, highly dense fluid that gets denser as the center of the planet is approached."

(Page 12 of the rules (designer's notes regarding the 'Aerostat Gondola Factories' does explain how these Sites might function after they have been Industrialized, but I could not find an answer to my question below.)

Since Laser Robonauts are not allowed to prospect on these 3 Sites, that leaves Missiles and Buggies to do the work.

Yet I am having difficulty understanding how a Missile and / or Buggy could prospect these 'Aerostat' Sites.

I know the rules say it's possible / allowed for them to prospect here, but I am wondering indeed whether they actually can do this.

What would be the rationale behind allowing Missiles & Buggies to prospect in the 3 Aerostat Sites? And if so, what would this scientifically represent in actual terms?

Thank you, and Happy New Year!
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chuck dunn
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My take is that if you 'land' on the areostat then the buggy and missles function would be to hover and maintain altitude while obtaining the sight requirements for industrialization...


also as 'Aerostat Gondola Factories' are theoretically possible how else would you allow the sight to be obtained ?..
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Francisco Colmenares
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Lasers can prospect these sites, they just have to be ON the site. What's not permitted is prospecting from orbit (outside the site). For example if you land on mars your laser can prospect without a hitch, it's just not allowed to prospect mars from ORBIT.
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Jeff Chamberlain
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Francisco is correct. Lasers can prospect any site. The restriction the OP is talking about only prevent lasers from using their special ability, which allows them to prospect from orbit.

Lasers work fine in an atmosphere, they just can't scan through an atmosphere from outside that atmosphere. And in that sense, the rules for aerostats for lasers/buggies/missiles are pretty consistent...the aerostat sites are still beneath the top layers of the atmosphere, and lasers still aren't able to penetrate through that atmosphere into the area of the aerostat from orbit.
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David Ells
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Here the truceless armies yet / Trample, rolled in blood and sweat; / They kill and kill and never die; / And I think that each is I. // None will part us, none undo / The knot that makes one flesh of two, /
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Sick with hatred, sick with pain, / Strangling -- When shall we be slain? // When shall I be dead and rid / Of the wrong my father did? / How long, how long, till spade and hearse / Puts to sleep my mother's curse?
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colmenarez wrote:
Lasers can prospect these sites, they just have to be ON the site. What's not permitted is prospecting from orbit (outside the site). For example if you land on mars your laser can prospect without a hitch, it's just not allowed to prospect mars from ORBIT.


Yes, that is a good point; I had forgotten that you can prospect with a Laser robonaut if your Rocket Stack lands on the surface of a given Site. The advantage of the Laser robonaut is that you usually don't have to land (and thus save Fuel Points and time in game-turns) to conduct attempt Prospecting operations. [You may also prospect more than 1 Site if these Sites are 'adjacent' and not blocked by an Atmosphere.)

Thus if your Rocket lands on the surface Mars or Titan, you may indeed prospect there with a Laser since you are below / inside the Site's atmosphere.

Yet I am still interested in the Prospecting Operations in the 3 Aerostats - how are these actually done, in real scientific and game terms?
 
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David Ells
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Here the truceless armies yet / Trample, rolled in blood and sweat; / They kill and kill and never die; / And I think that each is I. // None will part us, none undo / The knot that makes one flesh of two, /
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Sick with hatred, sick with pain, / Strangling -- When shall we be slain? // When shall I be dead and rid / Of the wrong my father did? / How long, how long, till spade and hearse / Puts to sleep my mother's curse?
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Klintus Fang wrote:
Francisco is correct. Lasers can prospect any site. The restriction the OP is talking about only prevent lasers from using their special ability, which allows them to prospect from orbit.


Yes, thanks for pointing this out, I should have made this clear.

Klintus Fang wrote:
Lasers work fine in an atmosphere, they just can't scan through an atmosphere from outside that atmosphere. And in that sense, the rules for aerostats for lasers/buggies/missiles are pretty consistent ... the aerostat sites are still beneath the top layers of the atmosphere, and lasers still aren't able to penetrate through that atmosphere into the area of the aerostat from orbit.


Yes, I understand that the rules are clear and consistent about which Robonaut types can prospect on given Sites; and though the Atmospheres are different for Venus, Saturn & Uranus, the main issue I see is the inability / undesirability of landing a Rocket Stack (with any Robonaut) on their surfaces, _and how one would go about using a Missile and / or Buggy in the 3 Aerostat Sites_.

If a Laser is unable / ineffective at prospecting there, I don't see how a Buggy or Missile robonaut would be any better.


From page 7, designer's notes:

"Robonaut Science - ... Assessing the a body [Site] for mineral or volatile resources may be done in three ways: (a) Raygun robonauts fire an energy beam at the surface from orbit. ... (b) Buggy rovers scavenge and beneficiate regolith ... (c) Missile robonauts assay metals and silicates by melting them with thruster plasmas. ..."

Again, not to beat a dead horse (or horse and Buggy, in this case), but I wonder how Prospecting Operations in Aerostat Sites are conducted by Robonauts of any type. I appreciate being able to ask for information on this arcane subject that doesn't come into play often in any case; I am interested to see what Phil & Matthew have to say about this.
 
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Jeff Chamberlain
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David Ells wrote:


If a Laser is unable / ineffective at prospecting there, I don't see how a Buggy or Missile robonaut would be any better.



But lasers are able to prospect there. They just are not able to prospect there from far away. A laser's effectiveness at prospecting an aerostat is equivalent to the effectiveness of a missile or buggy at doing the same.

It is an interesting question how the physics of prospecting an aerostats really works, but your premise that lasers are less effective than the other two at doing this operation in game is incorrect.
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David Ells
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Here the truceless armies yet / Trample, rolled in blood and sweat; / They kill and kill and never die; / And I think that each is I. // None will part us, none undo / The knot that makes one flesh of two, /
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Sick with hatred, sick with pain, / Strangling -- When shall we be slain? // When shall I be dead and rid / Of the wrong my father did? / How long, how long, till spade and hearse / Puts to sleep my mother's curse?
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Klintus Fang wrote:
David Ells wrote:


If a Laser is unable / ineffective at prospecting there, I don't see how a Buggy or Missile robonaut would be any better.



But lasers are able to prospect there. They just are not able to prospect there from far away. A laser's effectiveness at prospecting an aerostat is equivalent to the effectiveness of a missile or buggy at doing the same.

It is an interesting question how the physics of prospecting an aerostats really works, but your premise that lasers are less effective than the other two at doing this operation in game is incorrect.


Just to be clear, I am not stating (or maintaining) that Lasers are less effective in Aerostats; I believe it is the rules that say that they are not allowed (due to the effects of the Atmosphere at these Sites degrading their effectiveness) to attempt Prospect Operations while orbiting Sites that feature an Atmosphere (i.e. Venus, Mars, Saturn, Titan, and Uranus).

For me, I see all 3 Robonaut types (Laser, Buggy & Missile) to be equally unsuited / ineffective for Prospecting Operations in Aerostat Sites, _as I understand them (and the science behind this) as strictly a layman._

Indeed, a better question would be whether the Aerostat Sites are considered to be 'in orbit' above the Site, or part of the Site itself.

So I hope I'm not misunderstood here - I'm using the rules and designer's notes to try and understand how Prospecting Operations are conducted in Aerostat Sites, and how each type of Robonaut would function there while prospecting.

Again, none of this has much, if any, real effect on gameplay, it's just something I've wondered about. Thanks!
 
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Phil Eklund
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Thanks for asking an interesting question David. Prospecting in general consists of equal measures of finding potential resources, figuring out how to economically extract the resource using available technology, and building up the mining infrastructure necessary. As applied to aerostat mining, one must find the right layers of atmosphere. I will describe mining Venus, but aerostat mining on Saturn and Uranus are similar. The first problem is locating and extracting water. This is a real problem on Venus, which seems rather inexplicably dry. But without water, nothing else matters. Venus is a C (carbonaceous) planet on account of its CO2 atmosphere, so the Sabatier process (see description of ISRU Sabatier refinery card) could be used to produce water and oxygen (just as on Mars). Beyond water, one is looking for unique products not available in other environments. On venus there are interesting mining possibilities in the chlorine Cl2, OCS, H2S and SO2 layers. There is also the possibility of life, in fact, I feel that because Venus at these altitudes is by far the most Earth-like planet, life is more likely than anywhere else in the solar system. Extremophile cloud-top life is also possible on Saturn or Uranus, just as it is in Earth cloudtops. In any case, ET lifeforms could be exploited for space manufacture purposes. As for platform-specific duties, buggies in this environment would have hot air balloons and propellors instead of wheels, and the plasma exhaust of high Isp rockets could be used to fix CO2 or N2, as well as transport it to space. Rayguns would not have such a long range in the atmosphere, but could be used to probe the cloud tops (or bottoms). I hope this begins to answer your question.
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David Ells
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Here the truceless armies yet / Trample, rolled in blood and sweat; / They kill and kill and never die; / And I think that each is I. // None will part us, none undo / The knot that makes one flesh of two, /
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Sick with hatred, sick with pain, / Strangling -- When shall we be slain? // When shall I be dead and rid / Of the wrong my father did? / How long, how long, till spade and hearse / Puts to sleep my mother's curse?
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Thanks, Phil! Your explanation adds helpful information for helping new players (and some experienced ones whistle) visualize and understand how robonauts conduct ISRU prospecting in High Frontier, in this case in the Aerostat Sites.
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