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"Science and science fiction, how do you even distinguish the two?"
- Jerry Pournelle

Luminous Stake-Markers  
  Illuminated pole designating a staked claim on the surface of a planet, moon or asteroid.  

This is a clever (and beautifully illustrated!) concept of staking your claim on an asteroid, moon or planetary surface. In this case, the surface of Deimos, one of the moons of Mars.

The pool was a molten lake of eca-radium!

I was the first of all the myriads of the three worlds to lay my eyes on it! And I was rich, rich beyond all dreams of avarice!

There were yet boundaries to be staked, possession claims yet to be made and entered into the Recording Office at Korna before I could call the [eca-radium] Pool mine.


(Mining claim stake-markers from The Radium World by Frank K. Kelly)

I half-ran back to the Sprite, roused a phlegmatic and indifferent Haj, burdened the two of us with a pile of luminous stake-markers, and began the monumental task of encircling the Pool with an unbreakable ring of possession claims.

From The Radium World, by Frank K. Kelly.
Published by Wonder Stories in 1932
Additional resources -

Here is an illustration of the stake-markers used to claim a designated area:


(From Placement of claim stake-markers from The Radium World by Frank K. Kelly )

Half-stumbling, half-walking, half-crawling on our knees over sharp-pointed slides of jagged rock, panting with an almost unbearable thirst, sweating beneath the load of our armor, we labored at the task for three unforgettable hours, carefully keeping our faces averted from the siren brightness of the Pool. But at last the job was done. We were very confident that our claims were now impregnable, incontestable...

See also the earliest reference to asteroid mining from Edison's Conquest of Mars (1898) by Garrett P. Serviss.

Compare to asteroid mining (blasting) from Asteroid of Gold (1932) by Clifford Simak, the meteor miner from Salvage in Space (1933) by Jack Williamson, asteroid claim law from Jurisdiction (1941) by Nat Schachner, space placers from The Day We Celebrate (1941) by Nelson S. Bond, the asteroid mining robot from Catch That Rabbit (1944) by Isaac Asimov, the asteroid mine from Love Among the Robots (1946) by Emmett McDowell, the coal mole from The Web Between the Worlds (1979) by Charles Sheffield, and asteroid metal from The Mechanical Monarch (1958) by E.C. Tubb.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Radium World
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank K. Kelly
  Tech news articles related to The Radium World
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank K. Kelly

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