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(Discover)   Space firm about to make a major announcement regarding new project that will "add trillions of dollars to the global GDP." The Bad Astronomer take a stab at what it is. Hint: It's asteroid mining   (blogs.discovermagazine.com) divider line 133
    More: Spiffy, gross world product, GDP, Phil Plait, planetary scientists, TED Talks, iridiums, capital cities, asteroids  
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4055 clicks; posted to Geek » on 18 Apr 2012 at 11:58 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-18 08:56:45 PM
I'm really looking forward to hearing their plan to bring all that ore back to Earth, heck, even returning decent quantities of refined products.
 
2012-04-18 09:04:20 PM

edmo: I'm really looking forward to hearing their plan to bring all that ore back to Earth, heck, even returning decent quantities of refined products.


Don't see how it's even in sight of being financially viable, and that doesn't even begin to address the technical challenges and dangers... I mean, de-orbiting sufficient masses of metal to make the trip worthwhile? Yeeha

It will be financially and technically possible one day, but we have to build the elevator first.
 
2012-04-18 09:22:04 PM

edmo: I'm really looking forward to hearing their plan to bring all that ore back to Earth, heck, even returning decent quantities of refined products.


It may not be sent to Earth (or at least not all of it). What else are you going to build a lunar base out of?
 
2012-04-18 09:22:42 PM

edmo: I'm really looking forward to hearing their plan to bring all that ore back to Earth, heck, even returning decent quantities of refined products.


OH! Wait wait! orbital elevator! Yah? Maybe? I keep reading articles about it.
 
2012-04-18 09:23:38 PM

vossiewulf: Don't see how it's even in sight of being financially viable, and that doesn't even begin to address the technical challenges and dangers... I mean, de-orbiting sufficient masses of metal to make the trip worthwhile? Yeeha


It's not, unless you have the space based infrastructure to exploit it. Even if by some chance they were able to bring any significant amount of ore back that would be profitable, it would crash the commodities markets. You need to build the demand first. Orbital stations, orbital power generation, orbital industry, purely space-based transport, way stations at the Lagrange points, colonies. That's what will drive the demand.
 
2012-04-18 09:49:47 PM
It's all about The Belt.
 
2012-04-18 10:00:12 PM
Ah, subby, you gave it away.

Remember, I'm speculating. But it fits. I'm seeing other suggestions, but it's that "natural resources" thing that keeps coming back.
 
2012-04-18 10:14:10 PM
I hope they have a workable plan...of course, it has to start somewhere; I hope this is it.
 
2012-04-18 10:35:40 PM
About time.
 
2012-04-18 10:39:38 PM

The Bad Astronomer: Ah, subby, you gave it away.

Remember, I'm speculating. But it fits. I'm seeing other suggestions, but it's that "natural resources" thing that keeps coming back.


Now that we have a good idea that there is water on the moon, maybe they just want to go there and build a base... Baby steps...
 
2012-04-18 10:55:35 PM
"Space firm about to make a major announcement regarding new project that will "add trillions of dollars to the global GDP."

Space-based counterfeiting operation, outside the jurisdiction of international law.

Pretty brilliant actually.
 
2012-04-18 10:59:17 PM
Yeah, I remember this one. It's where the, uh, the coyote sat his ass down in a slingshot then he strapped himself to an Acme rocket. Is that - is that what we're doin' here?
 
2012-04-18 11:00:03 PM
In other news...

AVATAR 2: TITANIC OF THE STARS in mind-blowing 6D PERFECTION coming a WTFMAX Theater near you... SUMMER 2013
 
2012-04-18 11:04:02 PM

The Bad Astronomer: Ah, subby, you gave it away.


Sorry, Phil. I couldn't risk this important story --written so beautifully, might I add-- getting redlit by playing it coy. I was on a mission.
 
2012-04-18 11:04:34 PM
Exactly how long would it take before taking on external mass from objects in space affects Earth? Slows rotation, changes orbit, etc.?

Or is that about as likely as "Wind energy is finite and windmills will stop the atmosphere"?
 
2012-04-18 11:13:45 PM

Winktologist: Exactly how long would it take before taking on external mass from objects in space affects Earth? Slows rotation, changes orbit, etc.?

Or is that about as likely as "Wind energy is finite and windmills will stop the atmosphere"?


Well, going from 1.5 billion people to 7 billion people in a tad under a century hasn't slowed the planet down any. Made it warmer, yeah, but not slower.
 
2012-04-18 11:15:53 PM

Winktologist: Exactly how long would it take before taking on external mass from objects in space affects Earth? Slows rotation, changes orbit, etc.?

Or is that about as likely as "Wind energy is finite and windmills will stop the atmosphere"?


You could actually cause a zero net change in angular momentum by altering the direction you reenter the mass into the atmosphere. Every ton you enter going East, you enter a ton going West, ditto for North South.

But ignoring that, yeah, too small to make a significant difference.
 
2012-04-18 11:19:58 PM

bluorangefyre: Winktologist: Exactly how long would it take before taking on external mass from objects in space affects Earth? Slows rotation, changes orbit, etc.?

Or is that about as likely as "Wind energy is finite and windmills will stop the atmosphere"?

Well, going from 1.5 billion people to 7 billion people in a tad under a century hasn't slowed the planet down any. Made it warmer, yeah, but not slower.


The rock might not be spinning any slower, but we (collective) are all spinning slower in the vortex of Tea Bagginess...
 
2012-04-18 11:22:28 PM

impaler: Space-based counterfeiting operation, outside the jurisdiction of international law.


LEO monkey-fighting league.
 
2012-04-18 11:24:03 PM
Alan Steele in his Near Space stories had a lot of industrial applications for being up the well. Power generation, manufacturing in 0G, and a destination for lunar material to be parked for building structures in orbit.

Not just jobs for astronauts and scientists, but engineers, mechanics, and entrepreneurs. Heck, even a few ideas on how to clear up space junk which would build up as more industrial operations went up.

Get us a beanstalk, and then you've got real potential for moving cargo up and down. Then Lunar operations become cheaper. Hell, by that time you can get food grown up the well.

The key isn't just going up. It's creating an infrastructure so that there is a potential for folks to make some cash...
 
2012-04-18 11:26:17 PM
...and with a lot of engineers, construction, and more, up the well, imagine the mark up for supplying beer. IN SPACE!
 
2012-04-18 11:35:49 PM

The Bad Astronomer: Ah, subby, you gave it away.

Remember, I'm speculating. But it fits. I'm seeing other suggestions, but it's that "natural resources" thing that keeps coming back.


Mass driver on the asteriod, pelt earth with ore slugs.
 
2012-04-18 11:37:24 PM

bluorangefyre: Winktologist: Exactly how long would it take before taking on external mass from objects in space affects Earth? Slows rotation, changes orbit, etc.?

Or is that about as likely as "Wind energy is finite and windmills will stop the atmosphere"?

Well, going from 1.5 billion people to 7 billion people in a tad under a century hasn't slowed the planet down any. Made it warmer, yeah, but not slower.


notsureifserious.jpg
 
2012-04-18 11:44:33 PM

vossiewulf: impaler: Space-based counterfeiting operation, outside the jurisdiction of international law.

LEO monkey-fighting league.


Monkeys are fun to watch
Fighting leagues are fun to watch
Monkeys in 0 Gs have to be fun to watch
Monkeys... fighting in 0 GS... GENIUS!
 
2012-04-19 12:02:51 AM

bluorangefyre: Well, going from 1.5 billion people to 7 billion people in a tad under a century hasn't slowed the planet down any. Made it warmer, yeah, but not slower.


Adding people doesn't add biomass to the Earth. The physical matter of the additional humans doesn't just appear out of thin air. Additional resoures (plant and animal) are consumed to create those extra people. it all evens out.
 
2012-04-19 12:05:17 AM
Link

Helium 3 baby.
 
2012-04-19 12:06:11 AM

edmo: I'm really looking forward to hearing their plan to bring all that ore back to Earth, heck, even returning decent quantities of refined products.


Drop it on Canada.
 
2012-04-19 12:08:03 AM
kildall.com
 
2012-04-19 12:08:46 AM
I just played Bring Down the Sky today, so I'm getting a kick out of these replies...
 
2012-04-19 12:09:48 AM
I'm guessing prefab starter moonbase prelaunched/landed and ready to be unpacked and occupied, followed shortly by people manning it.

Remember all the info in the news about how the space treaty thing might be gotten around and private property owned in space(it has to happen someday). Yeah.

I'm thinking some forward thinking people are planning to be the very very first in a few centuries long land grab in the near Earth parts of the solar system.

A much more sensible first step than "BAM ASTEROID MINING!"

Sometimes you really ARE a bad astronomer =p
 
2012-04-19 12:10:48 AM

The Bad Astronomer: Ah, subby, you gave it away.

Remember, I'm speculating. But it fits. I'm seeing other suggestions, but it's that "natural resources" thing that keeps coming back.


I love you. You're my hero.
 
2012-04-19 12:11:08 AM
Is it too early to pack up and move to New Gettysburg? I've got a really big fly swatter.
 
2012-04-19 12:11:18 AM
This would actually be feasable for platinum. There's a relative TON of platunum in near-Earth asteroids, enough to make the launch capability worthwhile. Plus, there's the coolness factor; funding would be much easier to get.
 
2012-04-19 12:16:53 AM
Does anyone else remember the old computer game 'Outpost'? Damn, I loved that game.

/Yes, commander? How may I be of assistance?
 
2012-04-19 12:17:32 AM
If they put Bruce Willis as a figurehead CEO they'll make a fortune.

/And they won't miss a thing.
 
2012-04-19 12:21:28 AM
Considering it's the bad astronomer, I suggest the truth is whatever most closely approximates the polar opposite of what he says it is.

In other news, the Moeller SkyCar set back the flying car 20 years. This company is about to do the same with space.
 
2012-04-19 12:28:01 AM
Asteroid mining?

BRB, dusting off the old Navitas.
 
2012-04-19 12:28:14 AM
When I was a kid, I was sure they were going to be asteroid mining at least by the turn of the century. I was hoping for a career as crewman onboard maybe a transport or something. Nothing fancy. No Firefly type adventures. Just maybe a lot of cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, the chump work. But in return, I'd get to visit Ceres, Demeter, Mars, maybe some of the Jovian moons.

I hope this will be about asteroid mining. I wish that they would've done it sooner, though.
 
2012-04-19 12:28:24 AM

bluorangefyre: Winktologist: Exactly how long would it take before taking on external mass from objects in space affects Earth? Slows rotation, changes orbit, etc.?

Or is that about as likely as "Wind energy is finite and windmills will stop the atmosphere"?

Well, going from 1.5 billion people to 7 billion people in a tad under a century hasn't slowed the planet down any. Made it warmer, yeah, but not slower.


Um, but that's not really relevant to the question: While we have increased in the number of people, that mass *came from the earth*. He's asking "Would adding mass to the earth screw things up, or is it too small to matter?"

I'm going with "Too small to matter", but I suppose I could sit down and do some rough, actual calculations tomorrow!
/Not an astrophysicist.
//But has taken astrophysics!
 
2012-04-19 12:29:45 AM

vossiewulf: Don't see how it's even in sight of being financially viable, and that doesn't even begin to address the technical challenges and dangers... I mean, de-orbiting sufficient masses of metal to make the trip worthwhile? Yeeha


...Not sure if serious.

Why would you go to all the trouble of setting the mass down on Earth? THE biggest problem we currently face in space exploration/development is getting the mass out of Earth's gravity.

It would make much MUCH more sense for this guy to start mining asteroids for some of the basic resources to start constructing orbital facilities. Space stations and factories, etc.
 
2012-04-19 12:39:30 AM
Do any asteroids exist that are rich in rare earth elements? The world's supply of these elements is a bit tight right now, and China controls what little supply we have.
 
2012-04-19 12:40:12 AM

Mr. Potatoass: [kildall.com image 493x305]


Just drink some Sterno, you'll be fine.
 
2012-04-19 12:41:09 AM
upload.wikimedia.org

\photo of prototype ship
 
2012-04-19 12:44:00 AM

Kyrthira: Asteroid mining?

BRB, dusting off the old Navitas.


I'll bring my orca...
 
2012-04-19 12:46:37 AM

gozar_the_destroyer: [upload.wikimedia.org image 250x188]

\photo of prototype ship


Or:
images.wikia.com
 
2012-04-19 12:47:26 AM

r1chard3: Mr. Potatoass: [kildall.com image 493x305]

Just drink some Sterno, you'll be fine.


LOL. Way ahead of you.
 
2012-04-19 12:50:11 AM
Mentat: It's not, unless you have the space based infrastructure to exploit it. Even if by some chance they were able to bring any significant amount of ore back that would be profitable, it would crash the commodities markets.

Not if you deBeers it.

/how much does a ton few tons of platinum go for these days anyway?
 
2012-04-19 12:51:30 AM

Sim Tree: Does anyone else remember the old computer game 'Outpost'? Damn, I loved that game.

/Yes, commander? How may I be of assistance?


Yeah, I stopped playing it when I broke the game by having as many red light districts as residential units. My happiness was so high that everyone in the rebel colony had left it for mine.
 
2012-04-19 12:58:46 AM

hubiestubert: Alan Steele in his Near Space stories had a lot of industrial applications for being up the well. Power generation, manufacturing in 0G, and a destination for lunar material to be parked for building structures in orbit.

Not just jobs for astronauts and scientists, but engineers, mechanics, and entrepreneurs. Heck, even a few ideas on how to clear up space junk which would build up as more industrial operations went up.

Get us a beanstalk, and then you've got real potential for moving cargo up and down. Then Lunar operations become cheaper. Hell, by that time you can get food grown up the well.

The key isn't just going up. It's creating an infrastructure so that there is a potential for folks to make some cash...


Add some diplomats and wanders and you get this:

www.chronology.org

♪(epic sci-fi music)♫
 
2012-04-19 01:00:50 AM

jack21221: Do any asteroids exist that are rich in rare earth elements? The world's supply of these elements is a bit tight right now, and China controls what little supply we have.


The US has sources of rare earths. Unfortunately, the EPA has made it impossible to mine and process it in this country. With China's recent announcement that they were going to discontinue all exports, you would think there'd be a change in policy here since so many industries rely on the rare earths. China's announcement is equivalent to saying, "we're going to fark your high tech industries out of existence, yankie running dogs!"
 
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