- This article is about trans-uranic element 120, rubindium. You may be looking for element 37, rubidium.
Characteristics and history
Rubindium, in its most stable form, has an atomic mass of 314, and was discovered by Humans for the first time in asteroids, in the Sol star system's asteroid belt in the year 2038. This crystalline metal is part of the trans-uranic series of heavy elements. (ST reference: Star Fleet Medical Reference Manual)
Stable rubindium was a rare substance, but in the 23rd century, rubindium crystals were used by Starfleet as part of their subcutaneous transponders. While imprisoned on the planet Ekos in 2268, Commander Spock was able to create a crude but powerful laser cutting torch using the crystals in his and James T. Kirk's transponders, and was able to escape from prison. (TOS episode: "Patterns of Force") Unfortunately, laser cutting torches dependent on it have short ranges, and are unreliable as weapons because the rubindium tends to decrystallize with repeated usages.
The planet Talin IV had large deposits of natural rubindium crystals, which the native Talin recognized as having properties beyond that of normal matter. Because rubindium could potentially detect subspace activity in local space, Starfleet's First Contact Office restricted the use of all subspace-based technologies during their study of the planet. (TOS novel: Prime Directive)
In the 2290s, the Federation discovered large quantities of stable rubindium on one of the inner planets of the star system surrounding Orelte. After lengthy negotiations with the Frunalians, the Federation were able to gain mining rights. (TOS - Crucible novel: The Fire and the Rose)
In real-life science, element 120 has yet to be discovered. A placeholder name based on its number, "unbinilium", has been suggested to document the possible existence of this substance. Some models of theoretical science have stated that heavy elements on this scale may be impossible to synthesize or reproduce, and cannot exist in nature. Subspace quantities mentioned in Star Trek may account for the contradiction of this being a natural resource on other worlds.
- TOS episode: "Patterns of Force"
- ST reference: Star Fleet Medical Reference Manual
- FASA RPG module: Star Fleet Intelligence Manual
- TOS novel: Prime Directive
- TOS - Crucible novel: The Fire and the Rose