Skip to comments.How asteroid mining could add trillions to the world economy
Posted on 06/25/2013 7:02:34 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
An asteroid less than a mile in diameter could hold more than $20 trillion in industrial and precious metals
Resources on Earth are limited. Our planet was born with a fixed amount of water, hydrocarbons, nitrogen, and industrial and precious metals.
And we're collecting, processing, and eventually throwing out those resources at an alarming rate: A United Nations report on resource depletion says that between 1980 and 2008 natural resources per capita declined by 20 percent in the United States, 33 percent in South Africa, 25 percent in Brazil, and 17 percent in China.
For now, only protection and better resource management can safeguard the planet. As we burn through Earth's resources, a wealth of physical resources like metals, water, and hydrocarbons are floating around in asteroids, moons, and other planets, ready to be harvested. If human civilization is to continue to grow and expand over the centuries and millennia to come, hunger for resources is likely to drive us to explore and mine what's way, way out there.
And as wild as it may sound, asteroids in particular could be highly profitable. In 1997 scientists speculated that a relatively small metallic asteroid with a diameter of 0.99 miles contains more than $20 trillion worth of industrial and precious metals.....
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
I suspect asteroid mining would produce metals mostly for use in space but I’m sure there would be plenty of products manufactured in space for use here.
sounds like a good place illegals and unions to get a first shot at the jobs
So, there’s this rock — it’s about a mile across, OK? And it’s zipping past at ... I dunno ... a couple thousand miles an hour or something. Anyway, that doesn’t matter. The thing is, I want you reach out — and grab that bad boy!! You with me? Just — grab it!! And we’ll all be rich!
I’m sure he has. But descendants of some of the families formerly involved in manufacturing on U.S. soil (decades back) sent much of the scrap steel to other countries in order to avoid being shown-up by new, small shops and to generally prevent competition. And yes, such international transportation is very costly.
The more “precious metals” you discover in space, the lower the market value is here on Earth.
Isn’t the Earth’s atmosphere made up of 78 percent nitrogen? I would bet in the future liberals will be protesting the addition of mass added to the planet and guys like Algore will try to institute a mass trading scheme in the inner planets that would only enrich themselves and deny others ease of self enrichment.
What happens when one of these nearby asteroids’ orbital path is affected by man’s influence and collides with the Earth? Who pays?
Maybe not colliding now, but say in 80 years or 250 or whatever.
“For now, only protection and better resource management can safeguard the planet. As we burn through Earth’s resources, a wealth of physical resources like metals, water, and hydrocarbons are floating around in asteroids, moons, and other planets, ready to be harvested. If human civilization is to continue to grow and expand over the centuries and millennia to come, hunger for resources is likely to drive us to explore and mine what’s way, way out there.”
I swear I can hear a violin being played while reading this crap...
Asteroid mining is a science fiction writer’s fantasy. It would cost trillion$ to get it using technology we do not have. Hexk, we barely made it to the moon.
all i know is, I put stuff out on the sidewalk. the only stuff that is there in the morning for the trash men is trash.
Along with adding more mass to the planet. What do they think will happen if they add more water to the planet? The water levels will rise. The world climate cycle keeps water shifting, as well as transforming it between solid, liquid and gas. The amount of water also stays at more or less a constant amount I’d assume. Adding more would burden the world’s climate, and really change it irreversibly.
This isn’t hard to figure out.
As Keynes said, in the long run, we’ll all be dead.
If the UN has anything to do with the report it is a bogus screed of lies!
Fantasy...just like the millions of Green jobs we were told to expect.
I try to drink my share of it, but I end up just putting it back down into the ground at the end of the day.
Since when have facts mattered?
With that attitude, maybe we should declare that the current manpower on the International Space Station to be the last mission, and when that crew leaves, have them shut off the lights. With that attitude, there’s no more reason to look at the sky and wonder what lies beyond the orbit of our moon. There’s no hope that our descendents will leave Earth in a few billion years when the sun expands to a red giant and turns this planet into a dead rock, if not totally vaporizing it.
Yeah, but just imagine how it would boost muslims' self-esteem if NASA were on board!
all we need is Delos D. Harriman
I'm sure that if someone tossed that idea out there, liberals would actually believe it!
I miss the days when conservatives had the stones to do more than bitch.
Basically true but it depends on the transportation and extraction costs. Some metals like silver, platinum, palladium, etc. are vital for industrial use. Primary silver mines are increasingly depleted and some uses for silver don't allow recycling. No substitute yet exists for some purposes.
Too bad. About 40 tons of stuff falls on earth from space every day. Most of it is dust. That's before WE start importing. ;)
Founding Fathers had the stones. The Confederates had the stones. After that, central government was once again king of America. That’s about all I can say.
A United Nations report on resource depletion says that between 1980 and 2008 natural resources per capita declined by 20 percent in the United States, 33 percent in South Africa, 25 percent in Brazil, and 17 percent in China.
PER CAPITA... where South Africa's population went form 29m to 50m (an increase of 73%), the US went from 227m to 313m (37%), Brazil went from 119m to 193m (62%) and China went from 981m to 1.3b (33%)... thus the resources in EVERY case have actually INCREASED since 1980.
everybody familiar with economic history knows about the great tulip speculative bubble of the 1600’s in holland. people bid up the price of tulips to astronomical values. and then prices crashed.
What’s not so well known is the answer to the question...where did all the money to make this speculative boom come from...because...as far as we know this was the first known financial bubble of the modern age—or any age.
The answer to that question is in the spanish silver mines of the new world. There were a couple big ones in Peru and Mexico. Pirates like sir francis drake got only a small percentage of the vast troves of the metal that were shipped to europe from the new world.
Later in this century something similiar will happen with asteroid mining.
The cost and difficulty of space greatly exceeds the cost and difficulty of crossing the Atlantic.
The basic problem is that you never ACTUALLY run out of stuff on Earth - you just start getting ore concentrations that are unprofitable to mine, but that you could get whatever metal you want out of if you wanted to (or out of seawater.)
It’s just always going to be cheaper, if the supply of something gets short, to just go after low-concentration ores on Earth (plus recycling) rather than asteroids.
Asteroid mining is a science fiction writers fantasy. It would cost trillion$ to get it using technology we do not have. Hexk, we barely made it to the moon.
True with today’s technology.
But a lot can happen in 30 years. When Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark west in +-1806 ... the railroad wasn’t even science fiction. It was simply inconceivable.
Given the rate of technological change today—its likely there’ll be at least a couple things that will be commonplace in 30 years that are beyond science fiction today.
Just in the last 5 years the fracking revolution has added 50-100 trillion dollars worth of oil/gas reserves to the USA alone.
obama immediately said they could do it, but that he’d tax them out of this world.
All that you say is true with today’s technology. But who knows what the state of the art — in space as well as on earth— will be in 30 years.
As I mentioned before, in just the last five years the fracking revolution has added another 50-100 trillion dollars worth of oil/gas reserves to the USA alone.
And we’ll all have flying cars, too. Just like the ones they promised us 50 years ago. The advances in technology have been mainly in electronics, but the laws of physics are tough to overcome.
It is not a defeatist attitude, it is realism.
Apparently the author forgot about conservation of matter. For most materials the problem isn't whether or not we have them on the earth, it is whether the material is concentrated enough in one location to be worth mining. Someday our trash dumps may well be worth mining. Probably long before grabbing an asteroid is economical.
“a relatively small metallic asteroid with a diameter of 0.99 miles”
I’m horizontal tapping on an iPad or I’d do some calculations on the amount of energy it would take to drop that down to the Earth at a reasonable descent rate. You drop that thing at full speed and i bet it would make the Hiroshima bomb look like a picnic.
How much mass is blasted away by the solar wind?
Maybe crash it onto the moon, mine it and slingshot the finished material to Earth?
He was a realist, too.
Was the mass destroyed?
If they want to be a little more efficient about the whole mining thing, they would just steer it towards Earth from the get go.
I am looking for investors.
My operating plan is to find a suitable Near Earth Asteroid... about 2000’ in diameter and install ion engines to steer it towards Earth...
Landfall would be on Washington D.C., whereupon mining forces would commence digging up the natural resources already located on this continent.
Oh, and we would go right ahead and build Keystone XL while we were at it.
Isn’t the Earth’s core molten iron? Aren’t deep sea volcanoes depositing near industrial grade metals on the ocean floor?
Wouldn’t remote control deep sea mining gear be easier, safer and cheaper?
But let such a stupid idea slip from Obama’s lips and his sycophants in the media are all agog.
Oh no, the sky is falling, the sky is falling .... give me billions and I will keep it from falling .... I promise .... trust me based upon my past performance....
Using the $20 trillion 1 mile diameter asteroid as an example, and we have a 4.87x10^6 Megaton TnT blast.
Distance from Impact: 48.30 km ( = 30.00 miles )
Projectile diameter: 1.61 km ( = 1.00 miles )
Projectile Density: 8000 kg/m3
Impact Velocity: 48.30 km per second ( = 30.00 miles per second )
Impact Angle: 90 degrees
Target Density: 1000 kg/m3
Target Type: Liquid water of depth 30.5 meters ( = 100.0 feet ), over crystalline rock.
Energy before atmospheric entry: 2.04 x 1022 Joules = 4.87 x 106 MegaTons TNT
The average interval between impacts of this size somewhere on Earth during the last 4 billion years is 1.6 x 107years
Major Global Changes:
The Earth is not strongly disturbed by the impact and loses negligible mass.
The impact does not make a noticeable change in the tilt of Earth’s axis (< 5 hundreths of a degree).
The impact does not shift the Earth’s orbit noticeably.
What does this mean?
The crater opened in the water has a diameter of 60.2 km ( = 37.4 miles ).
For the crater formed in the seafloor:
Transient Crater Diameter: 36.8 km ( = 22.8 miles )
Transient Crater Depth: 13 km ( = 8.07 miles )
Final Crater Diameter: 59.1 km ( = 36.7 miles )
Final Crater Depth: 1.01 km ( = 0.627 miles )
The crater formed is a complex crater.
The volume of the target melted or vaporized is 180 km3 = 43.1 miles3
Roughly half the melt remains in the crater, where its average thickness is 169 meters ( = 555 feet ).
What does this mean?
Time for maximum radiation: 1.13 seconds after impact
Your position is inside the fireball.
The fireball appears 256 times larger than the sun
Thermal Exposure: 4.14 x 109 Joules/m2
Duration of Irradiation: 11.8 minutes
Radiant flux (relative to the sun): 5840
Effects of Thermal Radiation:
Much of the body suffers third degree burns
Deciduous trees ignite
What does this mean?
The major seismic shaking will arrive approximately 9.66 seconds after impact.
Richter Scale Magnitude: 9.1
Mercalli Scale Intensity at a distance of 48.3 km:
X. Most masonry and frame structures destroyed with their foundations. Some well-built wooden structures and bridges destroyed. Serious damage to dams, dikes, embankments. Large landslides. Water thrown on banks of canals, rivers, lakes, etc. Sand and mud shifted horizontally on beaches and flat land. Rails bent slightly.
XI. As X. Rails bent greatly. Underground pipelines completely out of service.
XII. As X. Damage nearly total. Large rock masses displaced. Lines of sight and level distorted. Objects thrown into the air.
And well all have flying cars, too. Just like the ones they promised us 50 years ago.
You’re right that 50 years ago, it was thought that the civilization would be much further along than it is today.
However, I buy the argument that the rate of technological change has been accelerating lately. That the technological changes we’ll see in the next—even 20 years will be much like the big technology changes of 1890-1910.
This doesnt sound practical.
Its like saying that the Sun has all the free energy we need but we just have to go and get it and bring it back.