Skip to comments.Company to unveil fleet of asteroid-mining ships for deep-space colonies
Posted on 01/22/2013 5:56:37 AM PST by RoosterRedux
A new asteroid-mining company launches Tuesday with the goal of helping humanity expand across the solar system by tapping the vast riches of space rocks.
The new firm, called Deep Space Industries, Inc., announced Tuesday, Jan. 22, that it plans to launch a fleet of prospecting spacecraft in 2015, then begin harvesting metals and water from near-Earth asteroids within a decade or so. Such work could make it possible to build and refuel spacecraft far above our planet's surface, thus helping our species get a foothold in the final frontier.
"Using resources harvested in space is the only way to afford permanent space development," Deep Space CEO David Gump said in a statement. Deep Space Industries will hold a press conference today in Santa Monica, Calif., at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST/1800 GMT) to unveil more details of its bold mission plan; you can watch the webcast live at SPACE.com.
"More than 900 new asteroids that pass near Earth are discovered every year," Gump explained. "They can be like the Iron Range of Minnesota was for the Detroit car industry last century a key resource located near where it was needed. In this case, metals and fuel from asteroids can expand the in-space industries of this century. That is our strategy." [How Asteroid Mining Could Work (Infographic)]
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This will go nowhere without HUGE government subsidies and cronyism. He’s more likely going to tap Washington and our wallets than any asteroids.
Solar powered smelters, forges, and foundries?
For some odd reason I have this gut feeling Muslims won’t be applying for the job of being space miners.
This is great!
I’ve written about this here on FR in the past.
As for a government subsidization, I don’t think so.
There are items that can be manufactured by robots in the zero gravity vacuum of space that cannot be created on Earth. These items, some of which will create another boom in hi-tech electronics, will fuel our economy just like mining shale has done for petroleum and natural gas production.
We’re getting to the point in miniaturization and communications where missions like this can be conducted on a shoestring budget.
Better have some REALLY BIG batteries. Maybe they should consult with Boeing.
Yup. Government involvement is more of a hindrance than a help and the money guys know it.
This has some serious prospects. As an example, the near Earth asteroid “433 Eros” just 34km x 11km x 11km, passes fairly near to Earth, and importantly, is believed to have more platinum group metals than the entire crust of Earth, along with other precious metals.
It is interesting enough so that NASA has already landed a probe on it.
The concept of mining it envisions landing a nuclear powered spacecraft on it, almost certainly manned at first, but later robotic, whose purpose would be to partially concentrate metals into a large ball of ores, with the most precious of them in its interior, and surrounded by a thick layer of less valuable ones.
Because 433 Eros is rotating, the best way to return such balls to Earth would be to attach a signalling device to them, then reel them away from Eros on a long cable, using the centrifugal force to accelerate it to a good speed, then releasing it from the cable in the direction of Earth, where it would be recovered when it intersected the orbital path and returned to the surface.
And it's still going to be cheaper to just get more Platinum out of mines on Earth.
These ventures will make Tesla, Fisker, and Solyndra look sound by comparison.
People have always had to escape government tyranny by learning to live in the wildernesw, this is no different.
Somebody needs to be offering legitimate and affordable mineral claims to help fund this sort of thing. Obviously the primary financier of the mission would get the biggest share. Its a shot in the dark but lots of people play the lottery.
We’ll wait and see. If it is purely commercial, they won’t be around long. But I expect that they’ll quickly run out of money and go begging at the government teat. All insane schemes do that.
It would be far cheaper to “mine” the garbage dumps on earth.
Let’s find another planet as the socialists/democrats are ruining this one.
Agreed but I was thinking the leftists/socialists/democrat/progressives could go there instead. They could start that wonderful socialist utopian government they so long far and who knows maybe it will work this time. Riiiiight. They could tax and spend to their heart’s content.
The late Robert L Forward was one of the founders of Tethers Unlimited.
Shades of Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". Is there anyway we can aim one of these large balls at Iran, and just sort of "miss it" when it intersects the recovery area of our orbital path?
How do we know it’s not just some cover for surrounding the earth with space-based weapons?
As a resource for further scientific exploration of the outer solar system, asteroids are fine.
But nobody should kid themselves that they’re going to make money off asteroids in and of themselves - there’s no magical unobtanium like dilithium or naquada we’re going to get from them, and it’s always going to be cheaper to just go deeper on Earth, process less-rich Earth ore, etc.
Will these items retain their functionality once removed from zero gravity vacuum after manufacture?
Exactly what I was thinking. All pie in the sky, with no plan for actual return on investment. It is clearly just a government grant repository.
Hell of a waste of platinum. For them, I’d send a big ball o’ slag.
But practically speaking, you can only roughly guess at where and when objects on a trajectory path with punch through the atmosphere. This is why they are always a little nervous when a large satellite reenters.
On a more practical note, if we still had a space shuttle, we could send it up with a cargo bay full of high tech ceramic bowling balls that would pretty much obliterate anything over a several square mile area.
A similar project, named “the rods of God”, was considered for a while, with the giant rods actually propelled by a rail gun aboard the satellite, and able to penetrate very deeply beneath the ground.
These guys are the real deal. They have a Facebook page and everything. They have veterans of asteroid missions and leading edge leaders.
“Deep Space is a renaissance company, whose team combines veterans in space commerce, policy, asteroid missions, and risk management with young leading edge leaders from the maker and nanosat communities.”
Outside the atmosphere, there are no cloudy days, nights or winters. Solar peak delivery, 100% of the time.
It kills me to support solar but it works well in space out to a certain distance.
Solar is fine, as long as it provided without taxpayer subsidies.
We use solar power in select locations in the oil/gas industry. Some remote locations it is cheaper to have solar and batteries to work SCADA and maybe a motor operated safety valve, than build a fueled generation system.
I expected we would be mining the asteroids starting over 30 years ago. Pathetic it’s taken this long to get started.
Why is supporting a form of energy killing you? Don’t you like batteries, electricity, silica, heat, light?
a Planet named Galts Gulch
I’m in. Beam me up:-)
If you put them in space where they won't enter earth's shadow, batteries would not be necessary. The smelters themselves could be merely big mirrors focusing sunlight to the desired point.
Here's the Big Problem: there is already a treaty covering space and everything in it, signed by the globalists and socialists in your government that considers all the mineral wealth in space to be the property of "all mankind". So in order to "legally" do anything like mine an asteroid, you'll have to pay off the criminals that run the U.N. I can't remember the treaty name, but it is written very similar to LOST. There are folks out there with very long time horizons who have been planning for just this type of thing, and they are going to want their cut.
We signed the outer space treaty which doesn’t say much about private ownership in space but the moon treaty does. However we didn’t sign the moon treaty but our lack of opposition has in a sense made it defacto international law.
It does need to be overcome but it appears that many of the people working toward private space endevors are more optimistic than they have been in the past.
I’m thinking big machines; like excavators and haulers.
LIVE FEED COMING UP AT 1PM EST
Like that is going to hold up in court.
If I remember correctly, I laid claim to everything in outer space and beyond back in 1955.;-)