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Adams Helium

Megacorp, later House, of gas giant miners in the Beta Virginis system

Adams Helium
Image from Anders Sandberg
Helium-gathering balloon in the atmosphere of Adams. The balloon itself contains heated hydrogen, which is generated as a by-product of the filtration process. The factory module is seen below. It contains a small nuclear isotope reactor, an active He3 isotope filtration system, cryosystems to store helium, navigation equipment and a set of shuttle canisters. When the factory has extracted enough helium, a shuttle canister brings it up to a high atmosphere rendezvous with a manned shuttle. Due to the gravity well and complexities of navigation within giant planet atmospheres, new canisters cannot be supplied and the balloon is retired once all have been used; the reactor is turned off, and it sinks into the depths of Adams.
House Adams (formerly Adams Helium Consortium) began as an indigenous megacorp that was the major producer of He3 in the system during the pre-Federation days. Long rendered irrelevant by off-system megacorps, they have their hereditary capital on Reagan, one of the moons of Adams, where they still practice their quaint traditional lifestyle. This involves building floater devices that are dropped into the Adams atmosphere. The floaters are solar-powered balloons carrying helium extraction equipment, accumulating the valuable isotope. When a floater is full, it launches the canister towards a rendezvous with a gatherer spaceplane which returns it to Reagan.

Adams Helium
Image from Anders Sandberg
 
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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 29 October 2011.

 
 
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