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Thread: Asteroid mining company

  1. #21
    Phier's Avatar Living in Gomorrah
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Most people are ignoring the really difficult part here.

    Refining. I doubt they are going to be running into "pure" asteroids of valuable metals. So either the tonnage will be drastically increased being it will be ore not metal transported, or they need to invent amazing new automatic refineries.
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    DisgruntledGoat's Avatar Ecce Homo
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Pheir why do they need to refine the metals themselves? Bring down the raw materials, sell the ore to refineries on Earth. This operation does not need to be an integrated metal producer nor do they even need to be in the business of integrated mining (refining the mined material into usable ore).

    While this may fail it is risks like these that will kick start the new space age. I applaud the investors of this attempt for trying to return humanity back to a time where ingenuity and imagination dominated the public consciousness. I may not live to see the first shipment of ore returned to earth, but at least I can say I was around when mankind decided to take the first steps in becoming the masters of our solar system.

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    Phier's Avatar Living in Gomorrah
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Quote Originally Posted by DisgruntledGoat View Post
    Pheir why do they need to refine the metals themselves? Bring down the raw materials, sell the ore to refineries on Earth. This operation does not need to be an integrated metal producer nor do they even need to be in the business of integrated mining (refining the mined material into usable ore).
    Because people are talking as if they will be shipping only the high end here. It takes 10 tons of ore for ONE ounce of platinum give or take on earth. Even if you find VERY high yield ores thats going to be a huge amount of waste weight to not only ship but then somehow GET to earth or at best an orbital refinery.

    I'm in favor of X3 here as much as the next guy, more so really, but unless someone comes up with cheap fast propulsion its not going to be happening.
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    Wild Bill Kelso's Avatar Protist Slayer
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    A very intersting in-depth report on the subject can be found here:

    pdf for profitability of asteroid exploitation

    I haven't read the entire paper but of interest it the enrichment of asteroids in platinum-group-metals

    Briefly-

    (page 9)
    Typical enrichment of richest deposits on earth-
    4 to 6 part per billion


    Enrichment of asteroids:
    low end- 30 to 60 part per billion (1 order of magnitude higher than Earth)
    medium end- 50 to 60 parts per million (4 orders of magnitude higher than Earth i.e. ten thousand times higher)
    high end - 100 to 200 parts per million (6 orders of magnitude higher than Earth i.e a million times higher)

    With more and more technologies needing these kinds of metals I am not surprised that interest has moved beyond the realm of science fiction.
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  5. #25
    Magister Militum Flavius Aetius's Avatar Aetī Avēas!
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Well the russians have developed an effective nuclear rocket engine that the US would have had 30 years ago had we not cut NASA. It's cheap and lightweight and 2x as fast as modern rockets.

    If they fund research back into plasma rockets that's a great fuel-efficient step between nuclear and thermonuclear rockets because all you need ot create the plasma is electromagnetic coils.

    The biggest thing here will be diamond most likely - the diamond that forms in a vaccum is rated 10.6 on moh's hardness - this will increase the supply of industrial diamonds.

  6. #26
    Tribunus
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Refining could be done in some space habitat located conveniently close to the asteroid belt. Mining companies could collect asteroids and bring them back to this facility. The people who built and run that facility, if they weren't into mining themselves, could make a huge return without even going out and doing the dangerous mining.

    As for getting it down to Earth, what about parachutes? The Apollo command modules weighed over 6 metric tons. I'm sure you could aim tetarded lumps of refined material accurately at an ocean collection rig.

    The asteroid belt is very small relative to the plants (3% the mass of mars), but there is 200 000 000 000 000 000 times (actual figure) more solid material in it than the entire land area of Earth drilled down to the deepest anybody has ever drilled, 3.8 km.
    Last edited by romande; April 27, 2012 at 11:41 AM.

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    xcorps's Avatar Auxiliarius
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    But no oil.
    "Every idea is an incitement. It offers itself for belief and if believed it is acted on unless some other belief outweighs it or some failure of energy stifles the movement at its birth. The only difference between the expression of an opinion and an incitement in the narrower sense is the speaker's enthusiasm for the result. Eloquence may set fire to reason." -Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

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    Denny Crane!'s Avatar Denny Crane!
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Rare earths used in energy production though, platinum makes a good if expensive hydrogen splitting catalyst, I should suggest bringing an extra 1000 tons of pure platinum in over a decade or two would reduce that price.

    Do we have to mine asteroids though? Doesnt seem to make as much sense ad mining the moon and then mars they are closer and offer opportunities to establish permanent bases of operation.

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    DisgruntledGoat's Avatar Ecce Homo
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Quote Originally Posted by Denny Crane! View Post
    Rare earths used in energy production though, platinum makes a good if expensive hydrogen splitting catalyst, I should suggest bringing an extra 1000 tons of pure platinum in over a decade or two would reduce that price.

    Do we have to mine asteroids though? Doesnt seem to make as much sense ad mining the moon and then mars they are closer and offer opportunities to establish permanent bases of operation.
    Actually, if you read their plan they are targeting near earth asteroids not the asteroid belt. They claim there are 1500 NEA's that are energetically the same as going to the moon.

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    Denny Crane!'s Avatar Denny Crane!
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Quote Originally Posted by DisgruntledGoat View Post
    Actually, if you read their plan they are targeting near earth asteroids not the asteroid belt. They claim there are 1500 NEA's that are energetically the same as going to the moon.
    I just always imagined getting on to the moon being relatively easy and predictable, huge possibilities in building a permanent dense (protection against cosmic rays) base which would offer possible industrial purposes like mineral/h3 mining possibilities but a collosal amount of scientific opportunity. Small nuclear reactor up there permanent solid base to lay your hat, you can still chase asteroids of course...maybe my imagination isnt remotely like reality, huge big dangerous spinning rock you have to latch onto?

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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Yeah, I bet them going wanting to go to near Earth asteroids will, if it becomes practicle enough, help make for a permanent base on the Moon. In my mind that's only a good thing. The permanent Moon base could also be used as a sort of storage area or transport point for minerals mined from asteroids. I can imagine the minerals being brought to the Moon, perhaps refined, and then being sent to Earth. This could also bring about the creation of another reusable launch vehicle like the Space Shuttle. Bring on New Berlin and Tycho City!
    Last edited by Lord Rahl; April 27, 2012 at 04:54 PM.

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    visser300's Avatar Princeps Prior
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    So why don't just mining helium on Moon for god sake? Why do we have to look for an asteroid?

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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Why not both?

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    visser300's Avatar Princeps Prior
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Rahl View Post
    Why not both?
    profitability

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    Denny Crane!'s Avatar Denny Crane!
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Quote Originally Posted by visser300 View Post
    profitability
    How is there not profitability in mining both?

  16. #36
    Tribunus
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    I can't imagine mining Mars would be much more profitable than mining Earth.

    I hope I see plans to terraform it within my lifetime though.

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    Magister Militum Flavius Aetius's Avatar Aetī Avēas!
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    The atmospheric density isn't high enough and the planet's atmosphere is getting blown away by solar winds. We'd have to put giant electromagnetic field generators in orbit around mars to keep the atmosphere from blowing away.

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    Tribunus
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Quote Originally Posted by Magister Militum Flavius Aetius View Post
    The atmospheric density isn't high enough and the planet's atmosphere is getting blown away by solar winds. We'd have to put giant electromagnetic field generators in orbit around mars to keep the atmosphere from blowing away.
    Surely we could give it a liquid core again? Anti-matter bombs ought to do the trick. Use them to store the sun's energy and then detonate them beneath the surface. Gas could be brought from Venus to add to Mars' atmosphere. I'd like to see Venus terraformed as well, and a new planet made between Mars and Jupiter from the moons of the gas giants.
    Last edited by romande; April 28, 2012 at 09:43 AM.

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    Phier's Avatar Living in Gomorrah
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Personally I'd just hit it with a tachyon pulse and then increase its mass using a warp bubble.
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    Default Re: Asteroid mining company

    Quote Originally Posted by Magister Militum Flavius Aetius View Post
    The atmospheric density isn't high enough and the planet's atmosphere is getting blown away by solar winds. We'd have to put giant electromagnetic field generators in orbit around mars to keep the atmosphere from blowing away.
    Why would we care about the atmosphere being blown away? Would it kill off all the trees that are supporting the animal life?
    "Every idea is an incitement. It offers itself for belief and if believed it is acted on unless some other belief outweighs it or some failure of energy stifles the movement at its birth. The only difference between the expression of an opinion and an incitement in the narrower sense is the speaker's enthusiasm for the result. Eloquence may set fire to reason." -Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

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