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!
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