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Motörhead’s Lemmy lives on as a heavy metal in No Man’s Sky

Illustration: Nick Wanserski

Around the time of Lemmy Kilmister’s death last December, the International Union Of Pure And Applied Chemistry announced it had verified the discoveries of several new superheavy elements that were to be named and added to the periodic table. A month later, a guy named John Wright started a petition to name one of those elements after the late Motörhead singer. Despite scrounging up more than 150,000 signatures and receiving the backing of such scientific luminaries as British celebrity physicist Brian Cox and Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan, Wright’s proposed name, Lemmium, was not to be. The IUPAC changed the guidelines for naming elements in April, ruling out Lemmy as an inspiration, though we’d wager there’s an argument to be made that he counts as “a mythological concept or character.”

While we’re stuck with some significantly less metal names for our newest elements, Lemmium has found a home in another world: the incomprehensibly huge virtual universe of No Man’s Sky. In an article at Team Rock, one of the game’s writers, Will Porter, explains that he was inspired by Wright’s campaign and suggested Lemmium as a name for one of the materials players can harvest and sell in No Man’s Sky. “It came to pass that during one of many (too many) nocturnal word-binges it was my job to come up with a bunch of these fake elements for gallant explorers to collect, trade, and merge together,” Porter wrote. “I was staring blankly at the wall, and Lemmium finally became reality. Well, ‘a’ reality anyway.”

Screenshot: Steam user Solid Snack

Naturally, Lemmium is the only “heavy metal alloy” in the game and is described as “a hardcore material” that’s “used extensively in starship freighter constriction due to its sheer strength.” Players can craft it by combining titanium with plutonium or find it in chests and the wreckage of pirate ships they’ve destroyed in space battle, which alone makes it the coolest material in the No Man’s Sky universe. “It’s a tiny Easter egg really,” Porter writes. “But I like to think that metalheads the world [over] give a little smile when it pops into their inventory.”

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