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It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-)

Posted by: SANEAlex - Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:48 pm
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It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-) 
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Post It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-)   Posted on: Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:48 pm
:D Well it looks like a bunch of rich guys might be collaborating in creating a company with that purpose. I might start to forgive Larry and Eric for being such evil b@st@rds during the #NymWars if they give humanity a future in space even if it is only so that they can have a $Trillion company before Apples shares reach that level.

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/27776/

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Post Re: It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-)   Posted on: Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:07 am
parabolic arc also covered the matter:

Peter Diamandis made some cryptic statements about the subject in an earlier interview:
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2012/04/19/ ... id-mining/

and "incidentally" a study has been studied on the 2nd of April, that came to the conclusion that it is feasible to capture a ~500 tonnes asteroid and return it to a high lunar orbit... at least if you are willing to spend about 2.6 Billion Dollars ;)
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2012/04/19/ ... hnologies/

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Post Re: It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-)   Posted on: Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:52 pm
It'll be a bit later than "soon." Remember Hofstadter's Law: It always takes longer than you think, even when you take Hofstadter's Law into account. SpaceX is taking like three years to develop a launch escape system for Dragon, so I'm not buying that anyone - regardless of the amount of money they can bring to bear - is going to be lassooing an asteroid before 2025.

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Post Re: It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-)   Posted on: Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:49 pm
How will the possibility of Terra's mini-moons affect these plans?

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/04/120402-earth-mini-moons-asteroids-fireballs-space-science/
http://www.moondaily.com/reports/Mini_moons_may_surround_Earth_999.html
http://news.discovery.com/space/how-many-moons-does-earth-have-120406.html

Couple this with the volatiles supply at Luna and we might have a viable business. With a Lunar fuel infrastructure in place, the wholesale capture and return to the Lunar surface of ~100 tonne metal asteroid would be far more feasible. Extract the Platinum and other precious metals on the surface, send them to Terra...

...and crash the planetary market? How much can we sell without having to worry? With a Platinum price of $50k/kg, selling 10 tonnes of the stuff will gross $500M. Enough to make a base viable when coupled with other business?


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Post Re: It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-)   Posted on: Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:25 am
I don't understand this project. Yes, we're running out of resources here on Earth, but to get them from asteroids? We don't currently know much about what asteroids consist of, but the best guesses are mainly iron, carbon and silicates. We have plenty of those here on Earth; AFAIK the main resource-constraints issues we're going to have in the next decades are oil, clean water, and phosphorus. Yes, precious metals are used in electronics.

These electronics are used for a year or two, and then thrown into a land fill somewhere in the Third World (don't want those toxic heavy metals messing up our ground water of course). If these folks would spend their billions on better recycling technology, they'd be able to get their gold and platinum from garbage dumps and clean up the planet in the process. Now that would be something.

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Post Re: It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-)   Posted on: Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:05 am
Maybe they're not in it for the profit? The guys doing it are the sort who see money the way it is - a means to an end. Perhaps, they're masking their true aim, which is to get off this rock...

I still think Luna is the first port of call. Resource mining first, then branch into tourism, until maybe we can start a retirement home for the uber-rich. As prices fall and the settlement becomes more self-sufficient, start renting out apartments, or even selling some homes outright (hmmm, mortgage @$200k @20 years?) to those who can work from home and are rich enough (authors, musicians etc). As the cost drops further, more and more people can settle, or can move out to other places.


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Post Re: It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-)   Posted on: Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:09 am
I've read a bit more now, it seems that they are after volatiles for use in space, not metals for use on Earth. That at least has the potential of making sense. It seems that these folks are seeing a new frontier, and they want to be in it from the start. Elon Musk has the railroad company (with reusable trains!) and these people are planning to be the general store.

The question is, who are their customers? The American West had ranchers looking for land and miners looking for riches and people trying to get away from poverty, slavery and oppressive governments, or as Kevin O'Donnell put it "'Cause I'm here and I'm livin' on my two feet like I wanted to. That was my dream.". We already have a lack of land, and assuming that they're looking ahead by several decades, poverty is going to come. We're already doing very well with the oppressive governments too, but while there's mining in space, there's no ranching. There's no biosphere out there, and people need to eat and people need to breathe.

Furthermore, people need a society, there needs to be a large enough group of people out there to be socially stable and genetically diverse enough. Even if you have the rockets to get them there (a Falcon X every week could put a small city in space every year), you need to build large enough living spaces. There are no vast unexplored plains full of bison in space. You have to build every single square foot of them. Will each space settler be able to do enough useful work out there to offset the cost of supporting them?

Will there be people who will want to go? Sure. Will it be worth an investment of billions of dollars? Not obviously. So why are they doing it anyway? Well, perhaps because right now there isn't anything on Earth that's a good investment (just look at the gold price...), maybe because they grew up with Apollo and the space race and they're chasing their dreams, and very likely because they're braver than I am. Good luck to them...!

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Post Re: It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-)   Posted on: Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:44 pm
So, it's the childhood dream thing then.

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Post Re: It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-)   Posted on: Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:50 pm


I think after watching the vidcast its more of a long term investment that will after a couple of decades make the $Billionaire investors very rich. The space industry at the moment is about 400 $Billion a year and the reason that number is so low is that it is expensive to get stuff up there 20 $Thousand for a small jug of water on the ISS if they capture a dirty snowball with a 50M diameter they could sell water to the ISS for a $Thousand a litre until the ISS had a swimming pool and NASA would bite their hands of for it even if it was still a bit dirty as they are already recycling their urine up their IIRC. But much more profitable i think would be the refuelling of existing sats. And once the price of maintaining stuff up there comes down even more stuff will go up the first cars produced were the cost of custom Rolls Royces compared to the average standard of living and only a few were sold but when Ford made a cheap version hundreds if not thousands were sold for every Roller.

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Post Re: It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-)   Posted on: Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:51 am
Eric Anderson was on the US public radio show, "Science Friday" talking about Planetary Resources and manned space activites in general. It's an interesting listen.

http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/201204274


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Post Re: It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-)   Posted on: Tue May 15, 2012 12:53 am
JamesG wrote:
Eric Anderson was on the US public radio show, "Science Friday" talking about Planetary Resources and manned space activites in general. It's an interesting listen.

http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/201204274


Thanks for that. That web address is not working now. Try it here:

APR. 27, 2012
Mining Quarries Millions of Miles from Earth.
http://www.sciencefriday.com/segment/04 ... earth.html


Interestingly, Anderson mentions that platinum may actually be depleted within the next few years. In that case these space mining ventures might actually turn out to be necessities.


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Post Re: It looks like asteroid mining might be bootstraped soon :-)   Posted on: Thu May 17, 2012 10:42 pm
RGClark wrote:

Interestingly, Anderson mentions that platinum may actually be depleted within the next few years. In that case these space mining ventures might actually turn out to be necessities.


This is how bad it is for platinum group metals down here the dirt from London streets is now considered viable ore and is being collected as such.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... l?ITO=1490

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