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"it slowly dawned on me that the landscape of science is maybe what interests people a great deal in science fiction."
- Gregory Benford

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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  More Ideas and Technology from The Simulacra
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  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

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