I'm here to test an idea and if anyone wants to help make it better, they are welcome to add their own. I have a story planned that will be happening on a pretty savage world. The characters were sent there as prisoners and as their punishment they have to mine the exotic materials that came to be formed due to the savage circumstances. Remote controlled robots can't be used because the atmosphere is not transparent to radio signals, radiation interferes with higher spectra EM. The planet circles a pulsar that bombards the surface with X rays or even hard gamma rays. So far, I know there will be no breatheable atmosphere. Gases in the atmosphere form sticky surfaces (making vehicle windows clogged up with time) and eventually act in a corrosive way. I'm thinking what the magnetic properties of the pulsar could cause. Geothermal power might be an option but I thought it would be a good twist if the only source of energy would be radioactive reactors. Of course these two kinda walk hand in hand since it is the radioactive elements that cause the inside of planets to remain hot. What could the exotic materials be? I'm thinking something that's not common on Earth, perhaps compounds that include noble gases. These don't usually join in molecules but under such circumstances maybe they could. Still thinking on why such materials could be used and why they would be worth all the trouble. Obviously, organic matter will have a hard time surviving here. All habitats are deep underground (could have problems if there's any tectonic activity) with radiation shields. Most population is in suspended animation and VR so that they require as little space and necessities as possible. Those that are active, slowly replace their organs with synthetic ones due to the exposure to the elements. They can't walk outside but they mine and gather resources in legged vehicles. I'm still thinking about the names of these (mechs have been used aplenty, I think). I've not yet determined if this is a binary system or if there will be any other planets or moons in the neighborhood, so tidal forces, tidal locking and gravitational anomalies are still an option. Black holes? Possible if it could contribute something of interest. If anyone has any ideas or insights, I'm happy to hear them. If I decide to use those ideas and I ever publish this, I intend to cite this forum and names of those that contributed.