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Minin in space.

Posted by: jacky 123 - Wed May 18, 2011 12:31 am
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Minin in space. 
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Post Minin in space.   Posted on: Wed May 18, 2011 12:31 am
hay im in year twelve and iam doing a subject called research project and my topic is mining in space. Im trying to gather as much infomation and different views and opinions from all diffrent ages and types of people if you could please write your opinion of the matter or your thoughts even if you do or dont think it is possible and why please write something.cheers


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Post Re: Minin in space.   Posted on: Wed May 18, 2011 9:23 pm
Hi,

Good topic. I did one on lunar mining for a grad seminar a couple years ago its fun to think about.

However, while this is a great place to get opinions and answers to specific questions (sometimes even from people who actually know how to solve them), your poorly phrased and vague post is definitely not going to get you any help.

Read some basic wikipedia articles on lunar composition or asteroid composition then come back with specific questions and I'm sure myself as well as others would be happy to answer your questions!

--Elliot

PS: I recommend LCROSS as the first thing you should google.

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Post Re: Minin in space.   Posted on: Thu May 19, 2011 12:03 am
1) It is possible we have the technological capability.

2) The reason it has not been done already is stupid and corrupt politicians who do not understand economics and don't care about the world their grandchildren will inherit putting short term greed first.

3) Sorry the above is unlikely to help you with your home work the rantings of a conspiracy theorist wont go down well with teachers even if they are true. :wink: :twisted:

4) If your serious in wanting to learn about this subject or any other for that matter and want to do an A* project Google is your friend think of a few relevant key words read and write it up in your own words because teachers these days can also Google :twisted: so if you cut n paste put it in quotes and attribute it and say why you agree or disagree with it.

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Post Re: Minin in space.   Posted on: Thu May 19, 2011 3:59 pm
Great topic! However, is this supposed to be a research project, or a writing project? Research is not about getting people's opinions (unless of course you're researching public opinion), it's about getting facts. Unfortunately, most things you see in the media these days are not researched at all; the reporter simply asks two people with different opinions about something, then writes them down in a way that has little to do with the people's actual opinions, but makes them look like extreme opposites. Then, they add a headline claiming a huge controversy, or, even better, a conspiracy. That is not research, even if many people probably think it is. But I digress, you were not asking about the media climate, but about research.

Research is what happens after you get an opinion, or an idea. Research is how you find out which idea or opinion is true, and which is nonsense, or more likely, which parts of which idea seem to have some basis in reality, because it's almost never as simple as "completely right" or "utterly wrong". Research is where you ask "How does it work, then?" and "How can we test if this is really the case?" and "What would be needed for this to work?" and "Does this match up with the things we already know?".

Research is always about questions, the more specific the better, because broad and vague questions are very difficult to answer. So, you need to have questions for your topic. What is it that you would like to know about space mining? Would you like to know about the technology needed? Or about what life would be like as a space miner? Perhaps you're more interested in the economic aspects, whether you can get enough money out of it to justify the costs of going out there? You could also research the effects on human society and our planet of space mining, and probably a thousand other related things. But you only have so much time, so you need to make a pretty specific question.

What would you like to know?

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Post Re: Minin in space.   Posted on: Thu May 19, 2011 8:13 pm
Possible? It's inevitable. The questions are just when, how and why. Personally I think the sooner the better. And yes, we do have the technology to make it possible - even if we don't have the hardware to actually fly out and do it.

The most immediately useful thing to mine is probably water ice. It's safe and easy to handle and extremely useful.


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Post Re: Minin in space.   Posted on: Mon May 23, 2011 11:25 am
From my layman's readings and discussions, I can offer a few notions about asteroid mining. Hopefully they are helpful. I will list the technical challenges, as best I remember them:

1. Reaching the target

Asteroids tend to move at high speed with respect to the Earth, so it takes a lot of energy to rendezvous with them. If you want to get there quickly rather than taking years on a low-energy trajectory, this means either having fuel depots in space for refueling, or using super-heavy-lift rockets to send up craft with large enough tanks to make it there without refueling. Right now, we don't have such depots, or such super-heavy lifts.

2. Stable rendezvous

How do you "land" on something with almost no gravity, but just enough gravity that things still tend to fall, ever so slowly? You must somehow stably attach the spacecraft to the solid "bedrock" of the asteroid, beneath surface ices, dusts, and pebbles. Carrying out this procedure could be very complicated and dangerous.

3. Stable ore extraction and processing

Once you've got the spacecraft attached, and have bored deep into the asteroid with your mining equipment, now you must use it to start digging and sorting out the slag in a way that won't destabilize the asteroid, create dangerous electrical events, or just waste a lot of material floating off into space. All of which has to take place in micro-g, in gravity fields that are warped and irregular, causing objects in motion to have complex behaviors.

4. Getting the ore home.

How are you going to get a supertanker-full of metal ores down from space without blowing up a few square miles of a desert? You could send them down in capsules with individual heat shields and parachutes, but that wouldn't necessarily generate less atmospheric heat even if the parachutes made the landing softer. Some day there will be a space elevator to take it all down nice and leisurely, but that's a century away at least.

Then there are the economic problems: Right now there is no economic justification for asteroid mining. Metals from such a venture would, at first, probably cost thousands of times more than those currently sold on the market, and yet the market price for those metals would collapse due to the high volume brought from space. A great many other space businesses will have to mature before mining (except for domestic use by on-site setlements) becomes economically feasible.

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Post Re: Minin in space.   Posted on: Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:55 pm
There is very little reason to bring mined ores or even refined materials back home unless its some exotic alloys or isotopes that are rare here on Earth. The added value of mined materials on the Moon or asteroids is the fact that they are already out of Earth's gravity well so avoids the cost of launching the mass. Even the most extreme terrestrial environment (deep sea floor) is still less hostile and has a lower cost to access/operate than space.

Its an ironic "Catch 22" that right now insitu materials would have the highest value because launch costs are so high, but because those costs are so high, those materials are out of practical reach. By the time launch costs drop to the point where space mining becomes economically practical, the value of those materials will also have dropped.


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Post Re: Minin in space.   Posted on: Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:32 am
I would recommend "Mining the Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Comets, and Planets" by John S. Lewis [Helix, 1996].


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