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Startup "Planetary Resources" Is Looking to Mine Asteroids for Minerals

Discussion in 'Science, Math, History and Language Studies' started by Party Rooster, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. Party Rooster

    Party Rooster Unleash The Beast

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    Sounds cool and everything, but I'm pretty skeptical on the whole mining "value" of it. Unless they start selling the minerals at a premium because they're chunks of asteroids from space...
     
  2. Neon

    Neon ネオン
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    There's plenty of stuff you could mine from space that would receive top dollar on Earth like He3, or ores in various rare configurations.
     
  3. sillyfuck

    sillyfuck Wackbag Uncle Tom

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    Until someone can figure out how to use the space ore, profit will never be had.
     
  4. Neon

    Neon ネオン
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    Use it for the same stuff you use those materials when they are mined on Earth.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_mining#Economics

    Also, space mining is a self-sustaining industry, meaning that space travel, exploration, and habitation would all be much cheaper if the materials for them were mined in space. Lifting all that shit out of the gravity well is energy-inefficient, highly expensive, time consuming, and prone to error. Building things from scratch in space is a big trouble solver for stuff like Moon colonies, orbiting space stations, and even satellites. If a satellite could be built in a space station entirely from materials mined in space and then just set into orbit, deploying them would become much much cheaper and simpler, for instance.
     
  5. sillyfuck

    sillyfuck Wackbag Uncle Tom

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    So the cost of sending people, or robots to an asteriod Armamgeddon style will turn a profit?
     
  6. Neon

    Neon ネオン
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    Depends on how cheaply you could do it, or on how profitable you could eventually make it. This is a brand new industry so it has an inherent risk to start off.
     
  7. Creasy Bear

    Creasy Bear gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh
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    The only way anybody's making money off space mining is if they find a rich vein of taxpayer-funded subsidy money to tap into.
     
  8. MayrMeninoCrash

    MayrMeninoCrash Liberal Psycopath

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    Sounds like this company is more in the business of generating venture capital than actually putting equipment into space. Board of Directors make off with the seed money and retire to a non-extradition country in 3...2....1.....

    Not to mention, this venture, if successful, would have the effect of driving down costs of the precious metals it brings back, since gold is gold. The venture might seem attractive at $1600 an ounce, but what happens to the price of the commodity when hundreds of pounds of gold are returned and placed on the open market?
     
  9. Neon

    Neon ネオン
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    That's why I was talking about self-sustainability. Space mining is better for the economy of space than it is to that of Earth. Large scale mining in space can only really happen when there are people in space who need those resources. The stuff brought down to Earth would have to be the REALLY valuable stuff like He3 that barely exists on Earth at all.
     
  10. Chino Kapone

    Chino Kapone Yo, whats wrong wit da beer we got?

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    My dad was the construction manager of a project that is to simulate mining in space. Specifically the moon, and asteroids. It is basically one giant soundproof room designed to look for He3.
     
  11. Neon

    Neon ネオン
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    Awesome. Yeah, supposedly the moon has some high concentrations of the stuff. With more of it, we could experiment with fusion drives for space travel and fusion generators in general (they can be made to be very energy efficient). It's all very early tech, mostly because there isn't much He3 to fuck around with. All the He3 used today is manufactured, and the shit is expensive (like 8 grand a gallon). And unlike the Gold that Mayr mentioned, He3 is a fuel, so shipping it to Earth will not drive down the price below what the importers would charge (think OPEC but with He3. OHe3IC).
     
  12. Psychopath

    Psychopath Plata O Plomo

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    When we were on the moon did they do core samples at all?
     
  13. Neon

    Neon ネオン
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    Apparently all of them did. Scroll to the second page. I guess based on that they extrapolated some other figures. I guess it is believed that areas of the moon that are in constant shadow could have incredibly high concentrations of He3.

    EDIT: Oh, you were asking in general. Yeah, of course they took core samples. I was just checking to see if they did specific He3 tests, and they did.
     
  14. Stig

    Stig Wackbag's New Favorite Heel

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    But by "Core Samples" we're only talking a couple of feet, right? I mean aliens landing in, say, New Jersey and digging down 2 feet aren't going to figure out the whole Earth.
    We gotta go back there, if only for the spectacle.
     
  15. Neon

    Neon ネオン
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    I think the earth has more complex strata than the moon. Also, if you land inside a deep crater, then you are already pretty deep down. But yes - we haven't poked around nearly enough on there for my liking.

    EDIT: Reading up on this - they also collected surface samples that came from deep inside the moon. All kinds of lava rocks and shit that formed in lower strata and were ejected by meteor impacts. A good geologist can tell a lot about the deeper regions by looking at those kinds of rocks.

    EDIT 2: To answer your question - Apollo 17 dug the deepest core sample - about 9 feet.
     

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