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"A science fiction story is a story built around human beings, with a human problem and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without its scientific content."
- Theodore Sturgeon

Auto Shovel  
  Automated mining equipment for use in space.  

This was just a one sentence reference to this idea.

...being uncovered by the auto shovels operating in the near weightless void of mid space of the big planet moons...
From The Simulacra, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by 1964 in Ace
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