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  #1  
Old 04-26-2012, 12:10 PM
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Drilling Asteroids In Outer Space

A bunch of billionaires are going to mine an asteroid in out space for precious minerals.

Two Google billionaires, a Microsoft billionaire, James Cameron, and Ross Perot Jr.

Heard this on the Daily Show. Will keep you posted.
How cool is this?
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:02 PM
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Re: Drilling Asteroids In Outer Space

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Originally Posted by iamwil View Post
makes sense to me...we'll be mining the moon before long...
I think the moon is mostly just rock, but if it contains water then that might be worth mining if we ever want to have a settlement there.

Asteroids, though.... many of them are made of metal. It will be much cheaper to build a spaceship in space, than to build one on Earth and try to get it to space. Imagine if we had a factory on the asteroid.... we could just spit out satellites all day long without worrying about long-range rockets to get them into orbit.



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Old 04-26-2012, 06:40 PM
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Re: Drilling Asteroids In Outer Space

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Originally Posted by kazza View Post
I think the moon is mostly just rock, but if it contains water then that might be worth mining if we ever want to have a settlement there.

Asteroids, though.... many of them are made of metal. It will be much cheaper to build a spaceship in space, than to build one on Earth and try to get it to space. Imagine if we had a factory on the asteroid.... we could just spit out satellites all day long without worrying about long-range rockets to get them into orbit.
I'm looking forward to magnetic accelerator technology.

Ground based accelerator that can shoot things into orbit. Makes space transfers easy.

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Old 04-27-2012, 03:55 AM
gsoh2011 gsoh2011 is offline
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Re: Drilling Asteroids In Outer Space

The problem with mining asteroids for "precious minerals", is the financial side of it all.
The proponents will tell you that x ounces of precious mineral z is worth a million dollars, and they could mine a million tons of z, making the return on investment awesome.

The problem is, the high value of z is because it is scarce. Once you start pumping out millions of tons of z, an ounce of z drops to the same value as a wood.

One of the cases for going to Mars was the ability to mine huge amounts of gold, the value of which would pay for the Mars mission many times over. Yes, true, if the value of gold was unaffected by millions of tons of it coming onto the market. In fact, if they did mine millions of tons of it, gold would become worthless (it only has a few industrial uses anyway), and the gold reserves of many nations would also become worthless.

I do not see how it can be cheaper to build a spacraft in space rather than on the ground and launch it. Once you factor in all the infrastructure that you need to get into orbit, and the manpower you have to support in orbit, the costs would be huge.

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Old 04-27-2012, 08:09 AM
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Re: Drilling Asteroids In Outer Space

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Originally Posted by gsoh2011 View Post
The problem with mining asteroids for "precious minerals", is the financial side of it all.
The proponents will tell you that x ounces of precious mineral z is worth a million dollars, and they could mine a million tons of z, making the return on investment awesome.

The problem is, the high value of z is because it is scarce. Once you start pumping out millions of tons of z, an ounce of z drops to the same value as a wood.

One of the cases for going to Mars was the ability to mine huge amounts of gold, the value of which would pay for the Mars mission many times over. Yes, true, if the value of gold was unaffected by millions of tons of it coming onto the market. In fact, if they did mine millions of tons of it, gold would become worthless (it only has a few industrial uses anyway), and the gold reserves of many nations would also become worthless.

I do not see how it can be cheaper to build a spacraft in space rather than on the ground and launch it. Once you factor in all the infrastructure that you need to get into orbit, and the manpower you have to support in orbit, the costs would be huge.
The idea is that there will be economies of scale in the future. If you believe that space-travel is inevitable, then over the next 100/200/300 years there will be a HUGE market for producing things in space. These guys want to get in on it first.

I agree with what you are saying about scarcity, but these are some of the most successful business people in history. I am sure that they have taken this into consideration when considering the profit potential.

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Old 04-27-2012, 04:08 PM
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Re: Drilling Asteroids In Outer Space

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Originally Posted by kazza View Post
The idea is that there will be economies of scale in the future. If you believe that space-travel is inevitable, then over the next 100/200/300 years there will be a HUGE market for producing things in space. These guys want to get in on it first.

I agree with what you are saying about scarcity, but these are some of the most successful business people in history. I am sure that they have taken this into consideration when considering the profit potential.
Theoretically they may not have to do much of anything.

However, they might be able to produce a tonn of patents in the future and make a tonn off of the technology rights.

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Old 04-29-2012, 05:40 AM
gsoh2011 gsoh2011 is offline
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Re: Drilling Asteroids In Outer Space

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Originally Posted by kazza View Post
The idea is that there will be economies of scale in the future. If you believe that space-travel is inevitable, then over the next 100/200/300 years there will be a HUGE market for producing things in space. These guys want to get in on it first.

I agree with what you are saying about scarcity, but these are some of the most successful business people in history. I am sure that they have taken this into consideration when considering the profit potential.
Not really. An economy of scale won't help. If having a lot of people on the ground, using ground materials, build a spaceship on the ground, it will costs X.
Putting the same infrastructure into orbit to build a spaceship will cost a lot more than X.

But let's say you start building spaceships in orbit ? OK, then you have some empty spaceships in orbit. Doing what ? If you want people to go on them, you have to get them up there from the ground. If the people working in space want to ever return home and visit, you have to get tham back down, and then return them to space later. You still end up with the problem of getting people off the ground and into orbit, regardless of where you build the spaceship.

Designing and building Eurostar, Concorde, the Boeing 747 was expensive, but individual trips made by those machines are cheap. Each of those can make huge numbers of trips, recovering costs and going into profit.

Unfortunately, no matter how cheap you can make spacecraft in orbit, you still have the massive costs of getting people up and down, and those costs don't scale down as you make more trips.


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