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Asteroid Mining - In the next ten years?

Posted by: Pete - Mon Sep 20, 2004 3:55 am
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Asteroid Mining - In the next ten years? 
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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 30, 2004 11:57 am
There's another thought - could the use of the Rock Abrasion Tool by the Mars Rovers be cosidered as a very vague beginning of mining perhaps?

What would be if the tool were larger and use more pressure - would it be able to go deeper into larger rocks then and could it be used to dig into hills and mouintains then?

When here in Hamburg the fourth tunnel under the Elbe was made a machine called TRUDE was used. The machine was rotating and going on similar to a screw - it seemed to use something similar to the abrasion tool.

The rovers are not to large - the main portion of their size seems to be caused by the equipment required to roll over the martian surface.

I suppose that it is possible to make a nano-scale Rock Abrasion Tool instead of a big one too - an experimental probe for testing asteroid mining at NEO's passing closer to Earth than GEO could use millions or billions of these nano-scale tools. Other nano-equipment could assist the tools by liquids etc.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:05 pm
On manned vs. unmanned, it will probably end up being mixed. Whatever businesses decide is the most profitable and least risky for their situation, they will do.

Interesting, this asteroid mining thing could be one of the first "required markets" for going into space. It's like how in the early 1920s a department store (I think) used an airplane to send a package to a customer in another part of the country. It's also just like how Magellan's voyage around the world was to get a product. His ships were sent to pick up some herbs/spices (I think) in South or Southeast Asia. Only one ship came back to Spain, but its crew still brought back what their employers paid them for.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 09, 2005 11:31 am
The mix of manned with unmanned perhaps will be like "Halle 54" of VW/Audi. The production process in "Halle 54" is fully automatic - only a few engineers watching it and removing problems. Another example are modern ocean ships - computers are controlling them, loading them and unloading them. The crew only is watching all and removing problems.

"Halle 54" is a part of one of VW/Audi's fabrics.

The experiment on mining NEO's perhaps could be done as part of the researches on preventing catastrophical asteroid impacts on Earth. One experiment testing the use of brute forces is under development as far as I know - another could test the use of mining methods.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 09, 2005 1:11 pm
You can also mention modern airliners. The autopilot essentially flies the airplane, while the human pilot simply waits, reads a book, checks the instruments, and hopes nothing goes wrong to make him take command.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:37 am
Ten years seem to be to short a period - but a few decades may be. Between three and five might be sufficient. This I can imagine because of the article "Asteroid Mining: Key to the Space Economy" ( www.space.com/adastra/060209_adastra_mining.html ) .

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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:36 pm
I may have mentioned it elsewhere already but it may be more interesting here.

It's known that the astronauts' helmets and spacesuits were dirty with lunar dust just at the moment they stepped on the lunar surface. The reason is that the dust is charged.

This should be valid for dust on asteroids as well and I might have read already that besides microgravity a charge was suggested as explanation for surface dust of asteroids at locations where there are caves or holes just below the dust.

So what about making use of the charge to mine the surface dust of asteroids? Next the rocks might be abrased - the dust got would be charged as well...



What about it?



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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:00 pm
An electromagnetic field may in fact be the easiest way to contain abraised material.

Even if you have built a containing structure right around the asteroid, electric pulses would allow you to push stuff around if it is all even partially charged.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:17 pm
isn't the whole point of asteroid mining that you have a massive source of probably fairly high grade metals/ores at your disposal? the idea that enough of this "dust" would be collectible to make the whole journey worth it is fairly preposterous, except from a scientific perspective perhaps. also, the rock abrasion tool is designed to abrade rock in order for the rover's instruments (spectrometer) to peer at the interior of the rock, that hasn't been affected by weathering. it has nothing whatsoever to do with mining. if you're going to say a recent mission is a precursor to extra-terrestrial mining, the phoenix is as close as you can get, since it actually picked up material with the intent of using it, albeit for analysis. don't get me wrong i'm really interested in asteroid mining and think it's the key to the space economy, but don't fool yourselves into thinking the answer is obvious or under our noses- the sheer scale of such an operation is staggering. i think there is no question that it will not be achievable without the space elevator. no matter how you want to move the material, it requires an incredible amount of energy and/or mass to do.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:06 pm
Hello, TerraMrs,

the example of what happened on the Moon might mean that simpla bag consisting of the material the helmets and the spacesuits are made off. On the Moon that material seems to have been charged by the solar wind and particles bouncing off the lunar surface.

This also should happen on an asteroid. Then no energy for this purpose needs to be carried from Earth.

The rock abrasion tool might be much larger without problems for mining purposs - it doesn't need to be huge, its diameter might be less than the height of an astronaut but as large as one wheel of the lunar rover the astronauts drove around on the Moon. I am thinking of the tool to avoid breaking up the rocks - to break them up might kick them away which should be avoided to be able to mine them.

An asteroid would be interesting also if it is smaller but contains oxygen or hydrogen as well since they can be applied as propellants and thus ressources to refuel the vehicle.


What about that?



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Post    Posted on: Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:52 am
I think if we can't find water to extract on the moon, that asteroids will be mined for water. Primarily to be used as rocket fuel, but also to support human life and growing food. This water may be brought to a refinery in earth or moon orbit or on the moon's surface, and split into hydrogen and oxygen using solar or nuclear energy.

Then if economical, asteroids will be mined for metals to be used in the construction of infrastructure and spacecraft, but I think the metals for this will first be harvested from the moon.


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