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Mining Asteroids

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Eric Mc

Original Poster:

88,586 posts

174 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
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Looks like a company has been set up to set the ball rolling in this area -

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-i...

SystemParanoia

10,738 posts

107 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
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i always thought it would have been one of the big boys like rio-tinto etc that would have gone interplanetary first.... great stuff thou biggrin

cal216610

7,820 posts

79 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
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What would be the time scale of being able to mine on an asteroid before it went to far out off into space?
They must have to work fast and even allow for any problems.
Facinating to read though.

Also could mining on a floating rock cause it to divert from it's current path due to vibrations from drills etc..

Edited by cal216610 on Tuesday 24th April 09:14

Eric Mc

Original Poster:

88,586 posts

174 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
quotequote all
cal216610 said:
What would be the time scale of being able to mine on an asteroid before it went to far out off into space?
They must have to work fast and even allow for any problems.
Facinating to read though.

Also could mining on a floating rock cause it to divert from it's current path due to vibrations from drills etc..

Edited by cal216610 on Tuesday 24th April 09:14
I think the plan is deliberately move the asteroid out of its current orbit using low thrust boosters - such as ion drive or solar pressure - and to end up with the rock in a more stable and accessable orbit BEFORE drilling etc begins.

SystemParanoia

10,738 posts

107 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
quotequote all
we REALLY need heavy orbital lift capabilities.

something that can launch thousands of tonnes per day. like a emag launcher or something.
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cal216610

7,820 posts

79 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
quotequote all
Eric Mc said:
I think the plan is deliberately move the asteroid out of its current orbit using low thrust boosters - such as ion drive or solar pressure - and to end up with the rock in a more stable and accessable orbit BEFORE drilling etc begins.
Whats the chance of one getting directed to an earth orbit and maybe falling into the pacific?

SystemParanoia

10,738 posts

107 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
quotequote all
minimal, everything would be calculated hundreds of times before the probe actually gets there.. and after that it will take months of burntime to alter the course of a giant space rock ( think ant pushing a car )


it will all be in slow motion, and getting a network of this orbital adjuster probes 'out there' will be very useful for when the rock of Armageddon comes calling.. as we'll be able to do something about it biggrin

Simpo Two

66,162 posts

174 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
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Bruce Willis. That's what you need.

Hoofy

62,723 posts

191 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
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Can't we use mining lasers?

idea

How about tether it to Earth and build a bridge to it?

getmecoat

qube_TA

8,159 posts

154 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
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Should have happened years ago, hope the plans come to fruition

Bedazzled

12,102 posts

130 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
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If grinding up a one-ton chunk of regolith generates less than an ounce of platinum, the economics of mining above the Earth's gravity well look decidedly rocky. Cool idea though, let's do it anyway. smile

maffski

1,432 posts

68 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
quotequote all
Bedazzled said:
If grinding up a one-ton chunk of regolith generates less than an ounce of platinum, the economics of mining above the Earth's gravity well look decidedly rocky. Cool idea though, let's do it anyway. smile
Maybe your mining the wrong thing? It costs millions to launch a satellite, and it's life expectancy is mainly limited by fuel. If you could refuel it in orbit the launch would be lighter (cheaper) and it could potentially operate for much longer.


Eric Mc

Original Poster:

88,586 posts

174 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
quotequote all
The cost benefit of mining in space is to provide materials and fuels for those human activities already going on in space.

SystemParanoia

10,738 posts

107 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
quotequote all
Bedazzled said:
If grinding up a one-ton chunk of regolith generates less than an ounce of platinum, the economics of mining above the Earth's gravity well look decidedly rocky. Cool idea though, let's do it anyway. smile
regolith also has a hell of alot of HE3.. and that is far far more valuable than platinum wink

RumbleOfThunder

1,607 posts

112 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
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Seems about as viable as a chocolate fireguard. I'm not alone in thinking this, surely?

Eric Mc

Original Poster:

88,586 posts

174 months

Tuesday 24th April 2012
quotequote all
Who knows.

PD9

1,822 posts

94 months

Wednesday 25th April 2012
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SystemParanoia said:
regolith also has a hell of alot of HE3.. and that is far far more valuable than platinum wink
If He3 is the intended mining target then I'm sure it would be much more cost effective setting up a permanent facility on the moon and mining it there.

SystemParanoia

10,738 posts

107 months

Wednesday 25th April 2012
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He3 is valued at over x90 the cost of gold ( $4 Billion per tonne ) it should be a no brainer for mining companies..

send a tonne of the good stuff homeward bound, and strap on all of the other precious metals and various valuable ores you find along the way.. if you can be bothered!

Bedazzled

12,102 posts

130 months

Wednesday 25th April 2012
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You'd have to process 150 million tonnes of lunar regolith to extract 1 tonne of He3. You're going to need some pretty substantial mining infrastructure, and a bunch of heavy-lift lunar rockets. What would be the cost of getting all that kit up the slippery slopes of Earth's gravity well? What profit would you make on your $4 billion?

In comparison, the Apollo programme cost $25 billion, the equivalent of around $150 billion in today's money.

Cyrus1971

820 posts

148 months

Wednesday 25th April 2012
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Asteroid Mining ! It's a totally genious business model. The payback is so so so far off, with no one able to be confident that it will EVER happen. You basically get a lot of rich companies and people to invest in some thing where the goal and bnefits are so far off that you can effectively finance what ever engineeering / mining related technologies you like and get other people to pay for it. There has to be a business / economic phrase that captures this kind of thing (other than folly) Bleak Horizon or some such...