Some planets contain strange alien artefacts. Dubbed "Warp Gates", these devices provide an instantaneous mechanism to travel from one side of the planet to the other. It is also known that "Terraforming Pods" (when entering a warp gate) cause the artefact to create an interplanetary worm hole. Should the player enter this worm hole (via the Warp Gate), they are instantly transported to another world. The more Pods sent in to a gate, the greater the distance travelled.
Traversing a Warp Gate does effect your Rail Gun shielding, although you should not experience any loss in shield capacity.  
Using your "Pods" in this way is not without it's dangers. Be careful when sacrificing a "Pod" that you don't inadvertantly remove all your "Pods" from the planet (Thus losing the Planet to Noxin!).