I just discovered this. Maybe already known? I haven’t noticed anyone mention it.
When you excavate landscape with the terrain manipulator, you get silicate powder. That’s great, because silicate powder is the fuel the terrain manipulator uses, and you get more than you use.
Silicate powder is also the basis for stone buildings. So if you’re not bothered about what your buildings look like, it’s the only building material you’ll ever need. Some planets are short on carbon, some are short on ferrite, but all planets have rock landscape in abundance.
The thing is, mining silicate powder from rocks gives different yields on different planets - and the difference can be significant - like, twice as much.
You can test it yourself. If you fully charge your terrain manipulator (it takes 200 silicate powder), then blast away at landscape or cave walls until it’s empty. On most planets, you’ll gather around 600 silicate powder from a full charge - but some planets - the mighty few - will give you 1200 silicate powder per charge.
If you have a lot of bases spread around diverse planets, it’s worth knowing about. Some planets produce a lot more silicate powder than others. Some rocks are more equal than others.