The Mining of Asteroids is Beginning


dumpthemonarchy
#1
They plan to launch probes in about two years to find suitable asteroids. They want to use materials found like water to further explore space. Projects for space are on the drawing board.



AFP: US firm 'to mine asteroids'




US firm 'to mine asteroids'

By Andrew Beatty (AFP) 9 hours ago

WASHINGTON A US startup backed by film director James Cameron and Google's top executives on Tuesday unveiled bold plans to mine asteroids for precious minerals and water.

Heralding a new frontier space exploitation, Planetary Resources announced plans to send a swarm of robot miners into space to prospect resource-rich chunks of rock not far from Earth.

The firm's co-founder Peter Diamandis said he wanted to "make the resources of space available to humanity," and add trillions of dollars to global wealth in the process.

Among the goodies to be found on near-earth asteroids are much-sought-after platinum, iron, nickel and sulfur as well as more obscure minerals that make excellent semi-conductors.

The equipment could also harvest water, which scientists believe holds the key to building propellants that will allow deep space exploration.

The first step will be to send a telescope into space within the next 18 to 24 months that can spot which asteroids may be useful.

Admitting the project was "difficult," Diamandis and his colleagues tried to silence claims that it was a flight of fantasy, assembling a veritable fantasy team of investors.

They include Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt and "Titanic" filmmaker Cameron, as well as the son of one-time presidential candidate Ross Perot.

Cameron has a long-standing interest in exploration and recently carried out a solo submarine dive to bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean.

It is not the first time humans dream about taping resources beyond the bounds of Earth.

A range of visionaries from Soviet rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, who considered the idea in 1903 book about space exploration, to makers of the 2009 film "Moon" have imagined such a future.

NASA has even studied whether it would be feasible to capture a small asteroid, although there are fears such technology could be weaponised.

Scientists at the Keck Institute for Space Studies have since judged it feasible to drag a more sizeable asteroid to high lunar orbit for harvesting, but at a cost of around $2.7 billion.

Former NASA astronaut Tom Jones, an advisor to the startup, said the firm was trying to develop a "cost-effective, production-line spacecraft that will visit near-Earth asteroids in rapid succession."

A single 500-meter platinum-rich asteroid contains the equivalent of all the platinum group metals mined in history, according to the firm.

More than 1,500 of the approximately 9,000 known near-Earth asteroids are as reachable as the moon in terms of how much energy it would take for the trip.

"Our mission is not only to expand the world's resource base," said Planetary Resources chief engineer Chris Lewicki.
"We want to increase people's access to, and understanding of, our planet and solar system by developing capable and cost-efficient systems."

But outside experts like Jeffrey Kargel of the University of Arizona warn the project, while exciting, is "enormously difficult."

Kargel said the first step, launching a space telescope makes sense and could be done with relative ease, but mining a returning the minerals to earth will be a formidable challenge.

"It's not a three year profit line," he told AFP.

But the long-term benefits could be enormous, he added.

He likened a low-yield haul to finding a treasure-laden shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean: beneficial to the company, but not much else.

But Kargel said bringing larger quantities of minerals back to earth could completely transform the global economy.

"It would be a what economists call a disruptive technology, suddenly some metals could become very cheap, meaning they people could consider using them in ways they never would have before because of the cost."

"That is when I really get excited."

Planetary Resources executives admit that there is a long, and as yet unpaved, road to travel.

"There will be times when we fail. There will be times when we have to pick up the pieces and try again," said cofounder Eric Anderson.

Planetary Resources Aims to Mine Asteroids for Water, Platinum | News & Opinion | PCMag.com
 
WLDB
+1
#2  Top Rated Post
Good. The faster our space exploration technology advances, the better. Particularly when it comes to asteroids. One of these days one of them is going to become a major threat and it would be nice to have something in place to protect us.
 
dumpthemonarchy
#3
I saw on a doc a while back that in 2032 an asteroid is coming for us.

Some experts think we need to watch them closer.
Experts: U.S. Asteroid Danger Plans Insufficient - ScienceInsider
 
B00Mer
#4
This is totally far out, but really f*cking cool man. May find minerals undiscovered to man kind, like Unobtanium with tall blue creatures defending it. lol

HowStuffWorks "How Asteroid Mining Will Work"

...

Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchy View Post

I saw on a doc a while back that in 2032 an asteroid is coming for us.

I thought 2029 was when it was to pass under our own satellites.

[youtube]1NyG4q4HK08[/youtube]
 
dumpthemonarchy
#5
AP has a video where a scientist says the water from the asteroid will provide fuel and be a like a "gas station" for other space vehicles trucking around the solar system.

Funny though, I could only watch the video once.
 
WLDB
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by B00Mer View Post

...



I thought 2029 was when it was to pass under our own satellites.

[youtube]1NyG4q4HK08[/youtube]

Its going to pass by us in 2029 but return around 2036. If it gets too close in 2029 Earths gravity might change its flight path enough for it to hit in 2036. Very unlikely but it'd be nice to be prepared just in case.
 
dumpthemonarchy
#7
So we need new tech to nudge these rocks away from us. Space makes jobs. Cordless drills came from space as astronauts required them to do work outside their spaceship.
 
B00Mer
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by WLDB View Post

Its going to pass by us in 2029 but return around 2036. If it gets too close in 2029 Earths gravity might change its flight path enough for it to hit in 2036. Very unlikely but it'd be nice to be prepared just in case.

 
spaminator
#9
the kolbrin bible refers to it as, the destroyer and the holy bible refers to it as, wormwood .
 
B00Mer
#10
Well if you would like to see first hand the size and depth of a real Meteor Crater, just east of Flagstaff, Arizona just a couple of miles off I40 lies Meteor Crater.

The building sitting on the edge of that crater is about the size of a hockey arena. Has movie theater & store as well as a display of meteors from around the world.



They have tours where you can walk down into the crater.. just standing on the side looking down into it is out of this world.. you could fit a small city into it..

If you ever go to the Grand Canyon, the 4 hr trip to Meteor Crater is well worth the trip.

Meteor Crater
 
dumpthemonarchy
#11
Here it says it will only cost $2.6 Billion to mine a 500 ton asteroid. Cheap. Although I read if you want a space gas station, go to the moon, it has water for fuel and oxygen. But unlike asteroids, the Moon lacks potential gold, platinum and other minerals. Plus, space has helium 3 for even more energy.

Asteroid Mining is Possible for $2.6 Billion | How to Mine Asteroids | Space.com

Not just spaceships could refuel from these possible "gas stations," but some of the many satellites already in space. BBC News - Plans for asteroid mining emerge
 
Cliffy
#12
I don't think we should be annoying the asteroids. They have left us a lone for a long time now and pissing them of could end up badly for us.

I know, if an asteroid threatens to attack us we could bomb it with Preparation H. If it shrinks hemorrhoids it should shrink any kinda roid, right?
 
MHz
#13
Just to make sure I'm on the right paragraph, The plan is to spend oodles of money to leave the blue marble and go in search of, .... water? That is dumber than Joe Farmers dog that would swim across a river for a drink of water.
 
dumpthemonarchy
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by MHz View Post

Just to make sure I'm on the right paragraph, The plan is to spend oodles of money to leave the blue marble and go in search of, .... water? That is dumber than Joe Farmers dog that would swim across a river for a drink of water.

Funny. Water, makes fuel and oxygen, good stuff, whether on Earth or in space. The key is to have these rockets cost tens of millions, not hundreds of millions.
 
MHz
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchy View Post

Here it says it will only cost $2.6 Billion to mine a 500 ton asteroid. Cheap. Although I read if you want a space gas station, go to the moon, it has water for fuel and oxygen. But unlike asteroids, the Moon lacks potential gold, platinum and other minerals. Plus, space has helium 3 for even more energy.

Asteroid Mining is Possible for $2.6 Billion | How to Mine Asteroids | Space.com

Not just spaceships could refuel from these possible "gas stations," but some of the many satellites already in space. BBC News - Plans for asteroid mining emerge

Somebody better check the math, it cost $1B to provide security for a two week gathering in Toronto this century, prices are not falling either.
I have to admit a hho rocket is the way to go and helium might be the way to get some of the heavy air out of the way during lift-off and descent

The idea of using the moon for something is exciting. Wouldn't fiber optics work there because of the no atmosphere thing and a magnifying glass should be able to melt rock as it has a base temp that id very high already. Having light travel down a tube filled with mineral oil might filter out just enough stuff that tanning and green plants could be grown once the sunlight exits the fiber optics. That means natural caves would be the first places to be settled in rather than bring your own city. With 1/6 the gravity building a steel spring rock thrower might be the best way of transporting raw material, a 10 mile toss is the junior design when using 2 tons as the payload. The hard crash would help in the 'crushing sequence'. Be interestinto know the material composition of the great bulge compared to the back side surface material. Iron and such should be on the near side as that is what would have responded to earths graviry way back when the moon was molten. That may mean that as tou descent into the core of the moon the temp should get warmer and two miles down it is t-shirt warm and the fiber optics stills gives greenhouse type of light. Water should be on the far side as it is in the lighter range and the moon could not hold water in its natural forms of gas or liquid but mixed with dust and rock it is stable and needs heating in a closed vessel to be a renewable resource. 2 miles down is the energy free melting pot. Perhaps tourism if there happens to be lots caves that are available, having to drill it down would mean the earth is no longer stable.
 
#juan
#16


Interesting. The meteor that made the crater was approximately a hundred and fifty feet in diameter. I wonder how big of a hole
that asteroid that is approaching earth would make.
Last edited by #juan; Apr 27th, 2012 at 12:20 PM..
 
karrie
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by MHz View Post

Just to make sure I'm on the right paragraph, The plan is to spend oodles of money to leave the blue marble and go in search of, .... water? That is dumber than Joe Farmers dog that would swim across a river for a drink of water.

No....

"Among the goodies to be found on near-earth asteroids are much-sought-after platinum, iron, nickel and sulfur as well as more obscure minerals that make excellent semi-conductors.

The equipment could also harvest water, which scientists believe holds the key to building propellants that will allow deep space exploration."

The purpose of mining to bring things back to earth is mineral mining. Water mining is to extend their travels further into space. in other words... they're not willing to start out across the desert until they have some oases to stop at
 
spaminator
#18
could mining asteriods, meteors, and comets, etc., change their directions?
 
MHz
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchy View Post

Funny. Water, makes fuel and oxygen, good stuff, whether on Earth or in space. The key is to have these rockets cost tens of millions, not hundreds of millions.

If I win an award do I have to share it with my pharmacist?
A couple of stainless steel plates set close together in a conductive solution and 12Vdc and you are producing a combined gas that could be further separated if a different ratio is desired. (a tall tower is all that could be needed as hydrogen will float on oxygen)
If an high yield explosion is desired would a 'malfunction' be an 'implosion' of the opposite magnitude as a volume of gas is reducing itself into a liquid form once maximum temp is reached after fire is introduced.

How much fuel is saved if the launch take place at the height of the Nazca Plateau compared to sea level? Now from a floating (helium) at some 50,000ft and a lateral launch rather than vertical one. Recapturing the helium (compress into tank) would make it reusable and non contamination once built. A launch/landing site might be a small bay in a remote area in case it crashes.
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by spaminator View Post

could mining asteriods, meteors, and comets, etc., change their directions?

If you took enough of it away, you would change its mass and would likely change how it reacts to gravatational fields. I am not sure how much you would have to take to have a significant effect.
 
MHz
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

No....

"Among the goodies to be found on near-earth asteroids are much-sought-after platinum, iron, nickel and sulfur as well as more obscure minerals that make excellent semi-conductors.

The equipment could also harvest water, which scientists believe holds the key to building propellants that will allow deep space exploration."

The purpose of mining to bring things back to earth is mineral mining. Water mining is to extend their travels further into space. in other words... they're not willing to start out across the desert until they have some oases to stop at

I didn't hear anything about a return trip from deep space. What would be a suitable size, 2 miles? Can you build something that will not tear itself apart while accelerating and breaking?

The heavy things are going to be gently lowered, right? The moon says that doesn't always happen. Wouldn't we have a better chance in using our existing energy supply to dig into this earth and exploit it as far as possible. Ie tap the heat from the lava under Yellowstone that not only powers North America it also cools it just enough that the explosion is averted

Quote: Originally Posted by IdRatherBeSkiing View Post

If you took enough of it away, you would change its mass and would likely change how it reacts to gravatational fields. I am not sure how much you would have to take to have a significant effect.

There is also the pushing in the opposite direction each and every time you land or leave the place
 
dumpthemonarchy
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by MHz View Post

Somebody better check the math, it cost $1B to provide security for a two week gathering in Toronto this century, prices are not falling either.
I have to admit a hho rocket is the way to go and helium might be the way to get some of the heavy air out of the way during lift-off and descent

The idea of using the moon for something is exciting. Wouldn't fiber optics work there because of the no atmosphere thing and a magnifying glass should be able to melt rock as it has a base temp that id very high already. Having light travel down a tube filled with mineral oil might filter out just enough stuff that tanning and green plants could be grown once the sunlight exits the fiber optics. That means natural caves would be the first places to be settled in rather than bring your own city. With 1/6 the gravity building a steel spring rock thrower might be the best way of transporting raw material, a 10 mile toss is the junior design when using 2 tons as the payload. The hard crash would help in the 'crushing sequence'. Be interestinto know the material composition of the great bulge compared to the back side surface material. Iron and such should be on the near side as that is what would have responded to earths graviry way back when the moon was molten. That may mean that as tou descent into the core of the moon the temp should get warmer and two miles down it is t-shirt warm and the fiber optics stills gives greenhouse type of light. Water should be on the far side as it is in the lighter range and the moon could not hold water in its natural forms of gas or liquid but mixed with dust and rock it is stable and needs heating in a closed vessel to be a renewable resource. 2 miles down is the energy free melting pot. Perhaps tourism if there happens to be lots caves that are available, having to drill it down would mean the earth is no longer stable.

The Moon is great, it has water and helium 3 in abundance because in space you need lots of energy to survive and do things like grow food. Building there is a matter of learning new techniques because the gravity is so much less, it could be easier in some ways than on Earth. People could live underground in space too, although that seems a bit dull, because the view would be awesome.

Space is the greatest construction project ever.

Space seems like the penny that doubles, at first it doesn't add up to much in the first week, but by day 30 you have $11 million. Flight only started 100 years ago.
 

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