Centaurite Material in Solar Dominion | World Anvil
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Centaurite is a silvery-purple mineral used as a catalyst for nuclear fusion reactors first found on Chiron in the Alpha Centauri system, but deposits have since been found in roughly one in twenty star systems. It is a dense allow of several other metals with a particular and peculiar crystalline structure that provides it with its most useful property but also makes close study difficult.   Discovered in 2087 during the construction of Chiron’s second city, it was one of the major discoveries that helped propel humanity throughout space. Whilst nuclear fission and early hot fusion reactors had been powering interplanetary and then interstellar spaceships for fifty years, the prospect of cheap cold fusion allowed for ships to get smaller as well as larger.   The crystal structure of centaurite allows it to act as a catalyst for muon-catalysed fusion, meaning that it allows for nuclear fusion at room temperature or below. This allows fusion reactors to provide safe, plentiful power from hydrogen which is the most abundant element in the universe. With the input of small amounts of energy, relatively large quantities of hydrogen can be fused to provide useful power. Unfortunately for those that would wish to study it, any form of active sensing such as electron microscopes or mass spectroscopy causes it to catalyse a fusion reaction with any nearby hydrogen, often destroying the small sample in the process.   Deposits are rare, but only grams of the material are required for a starship grade fusion reactor and a single planet can be furnished with reactors enough for a million people with only a few kilograms. The early mines on Chrion have in the last one hundred and fifty years produced several tonnes of refined centaurite, and modern recovery methods for asteroid mining of the mineral can produce several tonnes per year from relatively low-quality ore.   Despite the energetic nature of centaurite, it is very hard to weaponise. Left unattended with an energy source and fusible material with insufficient cooling the centaurite will quickly denature and stop catalysing the reaction. It is predicted that this explains why the mineral is so rare, as solar flares can cause unshielded centaurite deposits to spontaneously degrade into their constituent elements.
Usable deposits are found in one in twenty star systems.
Common State
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