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/sci/ - Science & Math


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9608368 No.9608368 [Reply] [Original] [archived.moe]

What is preventing us from mining asteroids? Lack of infrastructure? Political will? Money? Technology? Mining asteroids seems like a good way to pretty much end resource scarcity.

>> No.9608378

Yeah, all we have to do is find as asteroid,get there with all the equipment,mine it and get back. Nothing easier

>> No.9608393

>>9608368
>What is preventing us from mining asteroids?
Politics.

>> No.9608420

>>9608368
Well for one we don't understand the asteroid surface environment very well. We don't understand their composition well enough for us to build mining equipment for them.

>> No.9608425
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9608425

>>9608368
Mainly the memory of what happened to those Spaniards who came back from the New World, crashed the market with all that gold they brought with them, and died in destitution.

I mean, yeah, you can bring back near limitless amounts of nickel or iron, far in excess of the considerable resource investment to do so, but once you've done that, nickel and iron are worthless. Scarcity is what makes raw materials valuable, so you kill your own investment.

On top of that, when it comes to truly scarce resources that we actually need, there's not a lot to be had out there. I mean, aside from H3, the most common materials up there, are also the most common materials down here. ...and even if abiogenic oil is indeed be a thing, as some suggest, it isn't going to be on the asteroids, as there's not enough pressure there to create it. I suppose radium is more common, but it isn't exactly something we're dependant on. Most of those rocks are full of nickel, iron, ice, and carbon, and while they have some gold and platinum and the like, they have it at about the same frequency as the rocks here do.

I suppose maybe we could find a black dwarf, but De Beers would have to laser inscribe that moon sized diamond to make it valuable. (Also I don't think the universe is old enough to have one of those yet...)

Don't get me wrong, space exploration is critical to mankind's long term survival, and, should we last that long, we'll probably end up mining asteroids at some point for raw materials used in construction in space... But mining asteroids to bring materials back to Earth is a losing proposition.

>> No.9608426
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9608426

>>9608420
This is bullshit.

>> No.9608430

>>9608368
lack of technology

>> No.9608435

Money. Right now transportation costs alone make it unprofitable.

The main problem, however, is that they simply are not valuable. Most of them are just solid rock or iron-nickel allow with impurities. Some of those impurities might be things like rare earth metals, but trying to separate them out of iron-nickel alloy would never be profitable.

We will simply never mine asteroids because its fucking stupid.

>> No.9608437

>>9608368
>What is preventing us from mining asteroids?
Economic viability.
Lack of testing.
Lack of knowledge as a Result of lacking testing.
Lack of technology as a Result of lacking testing.
Low Interest since Resources still exists here.
Enormous risk factor for potential investors, due to lack of prior test.

These are enough reasons, I believe.

>> No.9608441

>>9608435
>>9608425
So how about using the mined material in a "space factory"? Instead of having to send it down from earth which is expensive, you could use the asteroid.

>> No.9608445

>>9608441
You just increased the risk factor and the complexity of the Problem by orders of magnitude.
We have practically zero experience in building things on asteroids, this is an enormously complicated problem and will require hundreds of billions of dollars, just to get started.

Even then the economic viability is extremely questionable.

>> No.9608448

>>9608441
>Don't get me wrong, space exploration is critical to mankind's long term survival, and, should we last that long, we'll probably end up mining asteroids at some point for raw materials used in construction in space... But mining asteroids to bring materials back to Earth is a losing proposition.
^ Covered that in the post you're quoting.

Yeah, it's useful if you need a factory in space and are building something nearby, as getting materials up from Earth is hard, but so far we have no such grandiose plans.

Of course, there's always energy generation and sending that back - though that tends to involve something that could potentially be used as an orbital death beam.

>> No.9608457

>>9608448
>There's always energy generation and sending that back
You run into the supply/demand issue there as well. The energy sector is the second largest factor in the world economy. If you suddenly start supplying unlimited free energy, there's going to be a major market crash and a whole lotta economic chaos.

It's something only a rogue nation, disconnected from the world economy, would be willing to do, really. Maybe Best Korea - though they'd probably get invaded the shit out of as a result (and I really doubt they *could* do it).

>> No.9608596

>>9608426
Well if you don't like it, then launch more missions to asteroids. Not knowing the properties of regolith on asteroids makes mining pretty hard. For that matter not knowing whether asteroids have regolith at all makes mining pretty hard.

>> No.9608654
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9608654

>>9608368
What's possible is not always profitable.

There are already companies dedicated to mining asteroids. It might be years before they find a profitable solution, though.

>> No.9608896
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9608896

The market for mined asteroid materials is basically non-existent right now. In the near term the only thing we're gonna be mining from asteroids are volatiles for satellite propellant. Problem is, even if we had the tech to make satellite propellant from asteroid materials, we don't have a way to refuel satellites. Satellite servicing has been demonstrated on the ISS, but we have yet to demonstrate the tech to dock with satellites that aren't designed to be docked with. Second, most satellites use hydrazine as propellant. While we can probably obtain water relatively easily in the near term, obtaining nitrogen is another story.

Another problem is that it's risky to launch such ventures right now because the expected market could cease to exist if commercial launch gets cheaper. If say BFR works, then there might not be much of a point in refueling satellites

>> No.9609377

>>9608896
BFR?

>> No.9609505

>>9608368
Musky and NASA are so fucking slow.

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