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Asteroid Mining

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Asteroid mining "gold rush" coming?

Unread postby Heineken » Wed 13 May 2015, 08:51:21

These futuristic grand visions rarely pan out. For example, we still don't have the Buck Rogers-type cities of the future as envisioned in the 1920s and 1930s. Individuals are still not flying around on jet packs. We've still made relatively little progress fighting cancer. We do make great electronic gadgets. Anyway, the complexity and costs of "space mining" will prove insurmountable for anything more than a few demonstration projects.
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Re: Asteroid mining "gold rush" coming?

Unread postby Lore » Wed 13 May 2015, 09:41:06

In the next 30 years, by the time we get done paying for all the national disasters, we'll be lucky to be able to hitch a ride to the next town.
The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.
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Re: Asteroid mining "gold rush" coming?

Unread postby Peak_Yeast » Thu 14 May 2015, 08:41:14

A trillion $ debt is also sort of a trillionaire?

Not SPACE for many mistakes there and the insurance costs will soon be in the league of Nuclear power plants.
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Re: Asteroid mining "gold rush" coming?

Unread postby Sixstrings » Thu 14 May 2015, 08:54:22

Image

Students Compete to Design Manned Asteroid Mission

Dozens of students from 14 countries around the world came together recently to map out a manned mission to a captured asteroid in lunar orbit — a project very much like one NASA hopes to achieve by 2025.

...

"Each team was given the basic ingredients of a crewed asteroid sample mission," Qi said. "An asteroid sample would be delivered via robotic probe to an orbit about 61,500 kilometers [roughly 38,214 miles] from the moon. It will be a type-C [carbonaceous] asteroid … The crew will have to interact with the asteroid sample, do resource extraction and in-situ resource utilization."

The challenge mirrors NASA's real Asteroid Redirect Mission, which aims to pluck a boulder off a near-Earth asteroid using a robotic probe, then drag the rock into orbit around the moon. Astronauts would then visit the asteroid chunk by 2025.

During the first few days of the challenge, both teams received background instructions from a variety of speakers from Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, the asteroid-mining company Planetary Resources, NASA and other space operatives.

Image
http://www.space.com/15391-asteroid-mining-space-planetary-resources-infographic.html


Youtube overview of NASA's asteroid redirect mission. They plan to grab a very small asteroid and redirect it to lunar orbit, using a asteroid grabbing probe. Then the new Orion will launch with a crew to renezvous with the asteroid in high lunar orbit, do some tests on it etc., then I guess they just return to earth after that. What they really ought to do is go ahead and land on the moon while they're up there, or I guess another lunar landing is a separate mission.

I think it would be a shame to just play with the asteroid while orbiting the moon without landing on the moon, and let all of us that weren't around in the 1960s get to see that again (that would be so neat, live HD tv coverage this time around). Here's the video:

Asteroid Redirect Mission: Identify, Redirect, Explore
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4IBW4XuUFo
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Re: Asteroid mining "gold rush" coming?

Unread postby vox_mundi » Thu 14 May 2015, 12:34:27

Some Mining Reality ...

Mining requires many things but three of them stand out. Power, Water, and Gravity. Two cost money but one is free.

Image
http://www.mining-technology.com/projec ... ivar6.html

WATER

This schematic shows that almost every step in the mining process uses water and gravity.

... Mining water use is water used for the extraction of minerals that may be in the form of solids, such as coal, iron, sand, and gravel; liquids, such as crude petroleum; and gases, such as natural gas. The category includes quarrying, milling (crushing, screening, washing, and flotation of mined materials), re-injecting extracted water for secondary oil recovery, and other operations associated with mining activities.

During 2005, an estimated 4,020 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) was withdrawn for mining purposes. link

Where will water on this scale come from or what will be used as a substitute?

GRAVITY

Gravity keeps the dust down; allows ore to be moved from place to place without flying off on its own trajectory and keeps piles in their place.

It allows an earthmover to dig into rock without flying off into space. The escape velocity on an asteroid is less than an ounce of pressure.

Note what happened to the Rosette probe (Philea) when it attempted to drive a spike into the comet - it bounced over a quarter mile.

Without gravity, how will the rock be drilled (on an economic scale)? What will happen to the waste? Will it float in an ever expanding dust cloud around the asteroid?

Gravity can come back to bite you. To deliver refined ore to earth's surface in one piece (vs a crater) requires as much energy as putting it in orbit. Just getting a ton back on the ground would cost over $100 million - not counting the mining and refining costs.

POWER

First Quantum Minerals’ $1.7 billion Sentinel copper project, which will be commissioned in the second half of the year, will require about 400 megawatts once it’s fully operational - link

400 megawatts = 400,000 kilowatts. That's over 4,000 x more than the ISS


International Space Station (ISS) Facts and Figures

The ISS weighs almost one million pounds (approximately 925,000 pounds ~ 460 tons).
The 75 to 90 kilowatts of power for the ISS is supplied by an acre of solar panels.
Cost to build ~ $100 Billion Dollars
Maintenance ~ $500 million/yr

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/stat ... gures.html


SCALE

Scale of infrastructure is several orders of magnitude larger in a functioning mine than the ISS. Example ...

Average weight of a single mining dump truck (Empty) - 800,000 pounds ~ 400 tons
Average mine uses 200-300 dump trucks

also ...

Image
Specifications:
~ The mover stands 311 feet tall and 705 feet long.
~ It weighs over 45,500 tons (91,000,000 pounds) - 100X larger than the ISS
~ Cost $100 million to build
~ Took 5 years to design and manufacture
~ 5 years to assemble.
~ Requires 5 people to operate it.
~ It can remove over 76,455 cubic meters each day.(100,000 large dump trucks at 40yds. each ~ 400 tons)
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Re: Asteroid mining "gold rush" coming?

Unread postby Heineken » Fri 15 May 2015, 13:21:17

Hey pstarr. Still holding down the farm, which my wife and I finally named "Friendly Feathers Farm." Miss you and the gang and our PO theories, which are obviously down the crapper for now. Hope you are well in the drying NW. I'll eat my hat if asteroid mining ever becomes commercially viable.
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Re: Asteroid Mining

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 20 Nov 2020, 17:05:59

Luxembourg to set up Europe space mining centre

Luxembourg is stepping up efforts to achieve its goal of becoming Europe’s hub for space mining by announcing plans to create a European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC), in charge of laying the foundations for exploiting extra-terrestrial resources.

In collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), Luxembourg aims to make the centre an internationally recognized entity of expertise for scientific, technical, business and economic aspects related to the use of space resources, including water on the moon, and metals and minerals in asteroids.
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The centre, based in Luxembourg, is also expected to contribute to economic growth by supporting commercial initiatives and start-ups, offering a business incubation component and enabling technology transfer between space and non-space industries.

The tiny European nation is one of the euro zone’s wealthiest countries and already has a long-standing space industry, playing a significant role in the development of satellite communications.

While its drive to become a significant actor in the asteroid mining industry is only four years old, the country has already taken major steps towards achieving that goal.

In June 2016, Luxembourg agreed to buy a major stake in US-based asteroid miner Planetary Resources.

The country also announced the opening of a €200 million ($225 million) line of credit for entrepreneurial space companies to set up their European headquarters within its borders.

Previously, the government had reached an agreement with another US-based company, Deep Space Industries, to send missions to prospect for water and minerals in outer space. Both parties are currently developing Prospector-X, a small and experimental spacecraft that tests technologies for prospecting and mining near-Earth asteroids from 2021.

Luxembourg hasn’t stopped there. In 2018, it created its own Space Agency (LSA) to boost exploration and commercial utilization of resources from Near Earth Objects.
Legal frame

Luxembourg’s administration has also set up a legal frame for exploiting space resources. The law, passed in 2017, says private companies can be entitled to the resources they mine in outer space, but they can’t own celestial bodies.

The only international legal body available until then dated back to 1967. The Outer Space Treaty, signed by the US, Russia and a number of other countries, says that nations can’t occupy nor own territory in space.

“Outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States,” the treaty says, adding that “outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.”

The United States has also been working on setting its own rules. Former President Barack Obama signed in 2015 a law granting American citizens rights to own resources mined in space.

The ground-breaking rule was touted as a major boost to asteroid mining because it encouraged the commercial exploration and utilization of resources from asteroids obtained by US firms.

Such law included a very important clause, clarifying that US citizens were not granted “sovereignty or sovereign or exclusive rights or jurisdiction over, or the ownership of, any celestial body.”
Order to mine

President Donald Trump signed an order in April encouraging citizens to mine the Moon, stars and other planets with commercial purposes.

The directive classifies outer space as a “legally and physically unique domain of human activity” instead of a “global commons,” paving the way for mining the moon without any sort of international treaty.

“Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space,” the document states, noting that the US had never signed a 1979 accord known as the Moon Treaty. This agreement stipulates that any activities in space should conform to international law.

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos quickly condemned Trump’s move, likening it to colonialism.

“There have already been examples in history when one country decided to start seizing territories in its interest — everyone remembers what came of it,” Roscosmos’ deputy general director for international cooperation, Sergey Saveliev, said in May.

Russia has been pursuing plans in recent years to return to the moon, potentially travelling further into outer space.

The government revealed in 2018 it planned to establish a long-term base on the moon over the next two decades, while President Vladimir Putin has vowed to launch a mission to Mars “very soon.”

NASA’s global legal framework for mining on the moon, called the Artemis Accords, would be the latest effort to attract allies to the agency’s plan to place humans and space stations on the celestial body within the next decade.

It also lines-up with several public and private initiatives to fulfill the goal of extracting resources from asteroids, the moon and even other planets.

Trump has taken a consistent interest in asserting American power beyond Earth, forming the Space Force within the US military last year to conduct space warfare.

NASA recently put out a call soliciting bids from explorers anywhere on Earth who are willing to finance their own trips to the moon and collect soil or rock samples without actually returning the material to earth. The effort is meant to set a legal precedent for mining on the lunar surface that would allow NASA to one day collect materials useful to colonies on the moon and, eventually, other planets.

The agency hopes to start mining the Moon as early as 2025, especially after finding evidence that the Earth’s natural satellite may, underneath its surface, be richer in metals than previously thought.

On Wednesday, NASA launched yet another initiative to boost exploration on the moon — The Break the Ice Lunar Challenge.

The contest calls on people with ideas and approaches for a system architecture capable of excavating and moving icy regolith and water at the lunar South Pole.

The entries will compete for a portion of the $500,000 prize in Phase 1 and $4.5 million in the second phase.

Geologists have long highlighted the mineral value of asteroids. They say the bodies are packed with iron ore, nickel and precious metals at much higher concentrations than those found on earth, making up a market valued in the trillions.


Space Mining
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: Asteroid Mining

Unread postby dissident » Mon 23 Nov 2020, 18:10:31

Wake me up in a few centuries if global civilization survives the combined effect of climate change and the real end of cheap fossil fuels (no canards about running out).

The only thing that may drive such insanely expensive activity is

1) discovery of something like "unobtanium", not joking, Helium-3 on the Moon is kind of like this.

2) some bizarre spike in rare earth element prices that makes them hundreds and thousands of dollars more expensive per kg than platinum.

Either way, the current space infrastructure anywhere on Earth is not anywhere close to carry out space mining. Sample return missions is all that can be done. And I am not seeing the investment in any technology to make space mining possible. There are nuclear-ion tugs being designed and developed, but they are not going to make space access cheap.
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Re: Asteroid mining "gold rush" coming?

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 30 Nov 2020, 03:51:54

vox_mundi wrote:Some Mining Reality ...

Mining requires many things but three of them stand out. Power, Water, and Gravity. Two cost money but one is free.

...

Image
Specifications:
~ The mover stands 311 feet tall and 705 feet long.
~ It weighs over 45,500 tons (91,000,000 pounds) - 100X larger than the ISS
~ Cost $100 million to build
~ Took 5 years to design and manufacture
~ 5 years to assemble.
~ Requires 5 people to operate it.
~ It can remove over 76,455 cubic meters each day.(100,000 large dump trucks at 40yds. each ~ 400 tons)

As a side note, when one ponders equipment like this and the amount of resources it uses and processes, it amazes me how many AGW deniers claim that humans can't possibly impact the climate by the things we do. (Because they intuit it, of course). :roll:

The earth is big, but it is FAR from infinite.

Then again, logic and math aren't big strengths for such folks, so there's that.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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