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  1. #11
    yellowfish yellowfish is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by onetimeonly View Post
    I wouldn't get too excited about this (despite the attractiveness of the idea). There are so many problems to overcome to make this possible even in engineering terms it is unlikely to get very far. The amount of energy required to bring an asteroid back is staggering and all of that energy will have to come from the earth's budget in some way. I'm pretty sure it won't be (directly) economical to do it so massive subsidy will be required. It may be nice to do as an advertisement about how great we are (like landing on the moon) but there isn't that much else.
    Huge problems, wonderfull problems, exciting problems, even if this project eventualy fails we will have learnt more. Baby steps.
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  2. #12
    Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by onetimeonly View Post
    I wouldn't get too excited about this (despite the attractiveness of the idea). There are so many problems to overcome to make this possible even in engineering terms it is unlikely to get very far. The amount of energy required to bring an asteroid back is staggering and all of that energy will have to come from the earth's budget in some way. I'm pretty sure it won't be (directly) economical to do it so massive subsidy will be required. It may be nice to do as an advertisement about how great we are (like landing on the moon) but there isn't that much else.
    I think that most of the energy required can be sourced from the asteroids themselves. Robotic miners can stay in Earth orbit or better still Moon orbit - they dont need to launch and return for each target. Returning the resources to Earth? Hmmmm?? Splashdown/crashdown appropriate sized rock somewhere empty?
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  3. #13
    onetimeonly onetimeonly is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowfish View Post
    Huge problems, wonderfull problems, exciting problems, even if this project eventualy fails we will have learnt more. Baby steps.
    Yep, I'm all for science and learning (even if it takes a few tax dollars). I'd prefer if this particular project didn't get too much money outside of advertisements etc though. There is a lot of delta-v needed to get to even just the asteroids that pass 'near' earth (many of which won't have the interesting materials in high enough percentages) and more needed to slow down the asteroid (unless the mining-bot is planned to latch on until the asteroid comes around again, but the more it mines the more energy it needs to slow itself down). I can't really see this working unless there are a few very metal-rich asteroids on very regular close orbits and I doubt that these are hugely abundant so it will have a fairly small effect. It'd be cheaper, easier and more effective to mine all the landfill sites on the planet, but there'd be no VC in that and no advertising on the sides of the bulldozers. We are a strange bunch sometimes. Still, as you say, there'll be learning in it.
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  4. #14
    Dylan2010 Dylan2010 is offline

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    cant have the market getting involved, they will undercut the high cost government funded approach to space research
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  5. #15
    paulp paulp is online now
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutron View Post
    Wasnt too long ago that Richard Branson was going on about space flights for the super rich, what ever happened to that!

    If we are ever going to venture in to space it looks like its big business who will get us there. THe question is do we want big business ruining other worlds!
    I'm not sure if you're serious or not there?

    Your worried about big business destroying the natural beauty of a lump of rock flying around our solar system?
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  6. #16
    onetimeonly onetimeonly is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nebuchadnezzar View Post
    I think that most of the energy required can be sourced from the asteroids themselves. Robotic miners can stay in Earth orbit or better still Moon orbit - they dont need to launch and return for each target. Returning the resources to Earth? Hmmmm?? Splashdown/crashdown appropriate sized rock somewhere empty?
    Presumably by breaking down the (hoped for) water to Hydrogen and Oxygen? This will take energy too. As will mining. Which means a lot of solar panels or nuclear reactors need to be carted up to space (adding cost and energy use). I'm pretty sure that this will only ever be a niche enterprise.
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  7. #17
    Nemesiscorporation Nemesiscorporation is online now
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malboury View Post
    I don't normally start threads, but I hadn't noticed anyone else talking about this and I thought a few people here might be interested. A group of tycoons have formed a company called Planetary Resources with the stated intention of commercially exploiting resources found in space, including mining precious metals and water for rocket fuel. It's heady stuff that harkens back to some of the more ambitious science fiction of the last century. It will be absolutely amazing if it pans out, though the group face many challenges, most of all the high cost of getting things into and out of Earth orbit.

    You can read more at the Guardian:
    Tech tycoons in asteroid mining venture | Science | guardian.co.uk

    The companies own site:
    www.planetaryresources.com

    And from Phil Plat over at Badastronomy:
    Breaking: Private company does indeed plan to mine asteroids… and I think they can do it | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
    Enjoy!
    The Chinese plan to do something similar.

    If there is a new space race in which permanent infrastructure is established in space, then that will quickly lead to the permanent colonisation of space by human beings. That would within one to two hundred years lead to the first humans leaving our solar system to travel out to the stars.

    That would be the biggest step life on Earth has made since the jump from single celled to multiple celled organisms.

    At that point, anything would be possible.
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  8. #18
    Dylan2010 Dylan2010 is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nemesiscorporation View Post
    The Chinese plan to do something similar.

    If there is a new space race in which permanent infrastructure is established in space, then that will quickly lead to the permanent colonisation of space by human beings. That would within one to two hundred years lead to the first humans leaving our solar system to travel out to the stars.

    That would be the biggest step life on Earth has made since the jump from single celled to multiple celled organisms.

    At that point, anything would be possible.
    Why would humans want to leave the solar system ? the nearest star is 4 light years away so we are talking about arriving at a star as an old person? they would be one way trips even if their are advances in hibernation technology
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  9. #19
    Loaisman Loaisman is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutron View Post
    Wasnt too long ago that Richard Branson was going on about space flights for the super rich, what ever happened to that!

    If we are ever going to venture in to space it looks like its big business who will get us there. THe question is do we want big business ruining other worlds!
    See here :

    Welcome | Virgin Galactic

    Bookings being taken. Sure, it's only sub-orbital, but it's a start.
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  10. #20
    onetimeonly onetimeonly is offline

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    I reckon that this will fizzle out a bit. It turns out that their business model requires NASA (and/or any other space agencies) to buy loads of water/oxygen/hydrogen at a cheaper price than it costs to cart them up there. There may be some money to be made from their space telescopes, either aiming towards space or towards Earth in the initial stages. I'm not seeing much guaranteed return on sustained asteroid mining (although it might be worth taking a risk on a long shot pay-off, especially if it uses other peoples money).
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