Skip to comments.Why Mining an Asteroid for Water and Precious Metals Isn't as Crazy as it Sounds
Posted on 04/24/2012 5:20:08 PM PDT by KevinDavis
Billionaire-backed space startup Planetary Resources has officially unveiled its business plan to much fanfare and with few surprises. The companys principals--which include X-Prize Foundation founder Peter Diamandis, Space Adventures co-founder Eric Anderson, and former NASA Flight Director Chris Lewicki--today pledged that Planetary Resources would make the abundant resources of space available here on Earth, and introduced a couple of the companys own spacecraft that will make such space prospecting possible. The rush for space resources is officially on.
(Excerpt) Read more at popsci.com ...
Because bottled water from Fiji, Iceland, and Houston isn’t exotic enough anymore.
We just need energy to desalinate and transport it.
Live a new life on the off-world colonies.
yeah, it’s a piece of cake. just ask Bruce Willis
It makes perfect sense to anyone with the slightest understanding of costs involved in space flight.
If you’ve got water in space, you have hydrogen and oxygen that don’t need to be hefted to orbit at a cost of thousands of dollars per pound.
Newt was dissed for men mining on the moon. Now everyone is fascinated by the prospect of robots mining asteroids.
But if your living and working in space you need to have water that was hauled hauled up and out of a very deep gravity well. That is very expensive.
This is all going to collapse when they find a spotted owl on an asteroid.
Actually, it’s even crazier than it sounds.
"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
-- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in radio, 1920s
Nay-sayers have been around for a long time.
“Actually, its even crazier than it sounds.”
Didn’t you read this part?
~~~Planetary Resources merely has some interesting Powerpoint slides, some big-money backers, and a press conference under its belt.~~~
There’s no room for doubt. These guys are series.
Oh, contraire, I guarantee you these operators know how to get federal funding, and they plan on getting it.
-- Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer, to brother Orville, after a disappointing flying experiment, 1901
It's not just the bronze age fuddy duddies. ;)
Technologically it looks somehow doable today, at enormous expense that is unlikely to be repaid until many years into the future - possibly too many to for investors to hope for a return in their lifetime.
There's one glaring problem I'm sure they are still trying to calculate the full ramifications of. Asteroids (the most valuable quite large) are moving through space at a horrific rate, presenting a rather difficult obstacle - that of the fuel-power needed to overcome mass plus speed.
The solution can only lie in long-term minimal corrections in direction, and use of gravitational power to assist - with perhaps some deep-space refueling made possible. I'd love to hear or read how they expect to be able to pull it all off in a reasonable time period - i.e., within how many years.