Skip to comments.Extraterrestrial Mining Could Reap Riches & Spur Exploration
Posted on 06/25/2012 5:16:40 PM PDT by KevinDavis
GOLDEN, Colo. Mining the plentiful resources of the moon and near-Earth asteroids could alter the course of human history, adding trillions of dollars to the world economy and spurring our species' spread out into the solar system, a new breed of space enterpreneur says.
A number of private companies such as the billionaire-backed asteroid-mining firm Planetary Resources aim to start making all of this happen. But it won't be easy, as hitting extraterrestrial paydirt requires melding the know-how of the space and mining communities.
(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...
OMG !!!!! You’ll use up all the resources in space !!! Can’t do that !!! Let us make some regulations before it starts LOL
We need a government that unequivocally states that our cooperation in all treaties governing commercial and private activities in space is null and void. Basically wave the green flag for private space.
ONLY if most of the profits go to third world dictators supported by Russia and China./s
Oh really!? Duh! So could mining the ocean floor at 35,000+ feet. Just some minor obstacles to overcome at a gazzillion dollars. I hope this didn’t come from a leading US scientific magazine.
I don’t think this is reasonably attainable!
The environmentalists and the EPA will put an end to that nonsense.
The only profitable exports to space are people and money.
The only profitable exports to Earth are finished goods and money.
Rockets can carry the people and goods.
The money can travel electronically.
One day people will realize this and make fortunes.
It’s all a pipe dream. We managed to send men to the moon but each stay was very brief and extremely dangerous. Not to mention profitable. We are a LONG way from mining the moon much less asteroids.
Opening up the mining on the North Slope and those coal areas out west that Clinton turned into National Monuments would be an even easier place to start.
This is really possible. There isn’t very much platinum on Earth, and there’s a lot of evidence that the vast majority of it came from meteorite hits. Incredibly, they can tell which asteroid that certain meteors came from. Platinum and iridium aren’t just “good looking”, they are incredibly useful industrially. We could use more, yesterday.
Apparently those who are spending their own money on it feel otherwise.
We’ve already landed a craft on an asteroid and it wasn’t even a craft designed for landing, they just thought they’d try it as the mission ended. The Japanese have landed and lifted off with samples they brought back to earth.
True enough, the heavy metals are made in stars. At least one family of asteroids is made up of around 70% iron whereas the earth’s crust is only around 15%.
The fact is that true space exploration won’t begin till mining and manufacturing in space begin. Trillionaires will be made and that’s a hell of an incentive.
It’s a very interesting concept, but with two notable exceptions, I don’t see how deep space mining becomes even remotely economically feasible in the foreseeable future. The fixed costs of a lunar mining operation would be staggering. As for asteroid mining...even the closest of the “Near Earth” asteroids are 100 million+ kilometers out.
That said, there *are* two cases where I can see a workable scenario coming to pass:
First, the discovery of plentiful amounts of extremely rare earths (yttrium, etc.) or other very expensive, useful metals (platinum, as another poster mentioned). Even if the method of obtaining them wasn’t ultimately cost-effective, just having access to those materials would have significant security and technological benefits. Kind of a stretch, but maybe.
The other scenario I can foresee working out would be the development of concurrent market demand by research interests. Say NASA wants to build that moon base after all. A mining interest could conceivably produce metals and other materials locally for less than the cost of shipping them up from Earth - certainly in less time, as the rocket power needed to carry a base worth of materials to the moon is itself a staggering number.
You need spacecraft that can return large payloads to earth. If we’re talking bulk metals I don’t believe the technology exists to land a payload like that?
But I am thinking of some possibiities. I guess you could crash small meteorites into dessert areas and re-mine from there. Or fly back with finished goods. Or just use the stuff in space.
Got me the t-shirt. All I need now is the space freighter.
It doesn’t make sense to send ‘anything’ from Earth (except people, and money).
The first space gazillionaire will be the man who lands on the moon with fuel to get back to NEO, 20 pounds of aluminum foil, sheet plastic, seeds, and a few hundred pounds of other stuff; secures the opening to a protected cavern on the pole with plastic, constructs a reflector and sets about producing food.
Exchange the food, and maybe the byproduct oxygen, to the space station(s) for fuel and waste products and sundries at less cost than sending it up from Earth.
There’ll be ‘tourists’ as soon as he’s ready for them.
And if I enter and win one of those huge lottery jackpots you can say you talked to that guy on the internet!
What happens when you change the mass of the earth by adding
mass from other celestial bodies? Won’t that change the
gravitational attraction of the earth to the moon, and the
sun to the earth? Would the moons orbit dip lower? Could it
crash into earth? Would we move closer to the sun, and burn
up? Also, reflecting energy to the earth from sources other
than the sun, might really heat us up, no?
It’s easier to carefully apply solar energy already hitting us
and mine minerals carefully down here. We won’t change
gravitational attraction much. Or some brave souls would
move out there, and kiss the earth and its’ inhabitants goodbye.
Seriously? Every day about 100 tons of meteoroids — fragments of dust and gravel and sometimes even big rocks enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
Well if it is private money I am all for it! But the feasibility of landing on the moon and mining with the idea of making a profit is rather far fetched right now. If we had colonized the moon in the 1980’s or 1990’ we would probably be up to the task. The way our government does anything anymore is laughable...
It is not the least bit farfetched at all. The main elements missing at the present time are the will, absence of government interference, and time to do it. The cost of a successful commercial venture are no greater than what a fraction of the monies spent by Americans on newspaper and magazine subscriptions or cable television. A single asteroid is worth more than the entire Earth’s annual gross domestic product. So, the risk versus reward ratio is is ewarding almost beyond imagination. Most of the products of the mining would remain in space, where they would be used to manufacture the resources and infrastructure for the off-planet economic infrastructure to further produce energy, communications, high value electronics componeents, factories, habitats, and spacecraft.
The Moon/Luna will be the initial base of manufacturing and resources, until the asteroid mining and economy supplants many of the less economical products and services of the Lunar facilities.
Since the surface of the moon has not changed for billions of years, if a shower of heavy metal meteorites hit a particular area, they would be easy to recover billions of years later.
Nasa's photos clearly show manipulation as if they are trying to hide something in this area. The Japanese orbited the moon several times and took massive amounts of pictures. Strangely enough, in these pictures, 'holding tank' like structures and even tire tracks can be seen.
Since the site is now down, I'm not sure where you can find the pics, but the YouTube video is still up it seems.
Teams of humans live and work in space. We haven’t sent humans to the depths of the oceans yet. Plus it’s just not as glamorous.
Only insignificant amounts of finished goods and precious raw materials would ever be delivered to the Earth’s surface. Almost all of the mass of raw material and finished goods would be used in space. Earth benefits from from deliveries of services and low weight precious raw materials and finished goods representing a fraction of the extraterrestrial economy.
The author (a school teacher) details what he saw in original high-res NASA photos. He took the same glossy photos to his class, gave them common magnifying glasses and asked (without saying anything further) the kids to draw what they saw ... they drew the same things he saw.
The photos in those days were only copies of the originals, not the copies of the copies of the copies we see today. (Each iteration loses data and fine details are no longer visible).
Many of the original photos taken then are now lost, miscatalogued, or show signs of razor blade alterations (razor blades were the Photoshop of the day - mid-1970’s).
Some of the things found include X-like structures, some spewing materials; a giraffe-like structure apparently climbing a ‘road’ winding along the inside of a crater; and a bulldozer-like structure.
Also see http://www.youtube.com/user/TheLunarcolony posted recently.
Why do you imagine that the US Navy’s 1994 Clementine lunar high-res mapping images (likely able to resove images down to 1.5 square foot) remains classified? Clementine mapped the entire lunar surface, surface and mineral ... in color ...
(The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) consists of 2 narrow angle camera heads (NACs) to provide 0.5 m-scale panchromatic images over a 5-km swath, a wide angle camera head (WAC) to provide images at a scale of 100 m in seven color bands, and a common Sequence and Compressor System (SCS) to sequence image acquisition by all camera heads and compress their data before transmission to the spacecraft. )
and why would the US Navy be interested in mapping the moon in the first place?
Clementine mission was to test SDI imagery and sensors. It ending up with the Navy was the result of some creative political funding to get it through a hostile Congress that tried to thwart President Reagan’s “Star Wars” space-based missile defense program at every turn. Turning it into a non-obvious military program to assist in space exploration allowed it to get the political support to actually happen. It was a huge success, which almost resulted in a Clementine II mission that would have found ice on the Moon much sooner.
In any case the high res images are still classified, AFAIK
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