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Forum » SpaceEngine » Off-topic Discussions » Newspace (Thread for keeping up with space industry developments)
Newspace
HarbingerDawnDate: Friday, 25.01.2013, 22:54 | Message # 76
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Honestly I don't see most asteroid mining concepts having much practical potential, and I see ventures like this either shifting to planet-side operations or going out of business. However, I'm happy to see them at least attempting such things.




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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Friday, 25.01.2013, 23:27 | Message # 77
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
Honestly I don't see most asteroid mining concepts having much practical potential,

That may be the case for now. However inevitably robotics will become complex enough where we can send out a single small robotic harvester who can use the available materials to make more of itself and start harvesting massive quantities of raw materials from asteroids. Basically by that point it would be free resources from space. I can see that happening easily within 20 years.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 26.01.2013, 00:02 | Message # 78
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I can see that happening easily within 20 years.

It definitely won't. I would bet you money, but I can hardly guarantee either of us being around in 20 years, let alone either of us having any money sad





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WatsisnameDate: Saturday, 26.01.2013, 00:21 | Message # 79
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You make it sound like there will be complete world economic collapse and/or apocalypse in the next 20 years. :P

HarbingerDOOM





 
HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 26.01.2013, 00:25 | Message # 80
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You make it sound like there will be complete world economic collapse and/or apocalypse in the next 20 years

No, nothing like that. I just don't take my long-term existence for granted like most people do.

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HarbingerDOOM

My old boss used to make that joke. This was my face then (and now): dry





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WatsisnameDate: Saturday, 26.01.2013, 01:00 | Message # 81
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Sorry, unfunny joke. You're absolutely right though, a lot of people, particularly in the States, have become disillusioned about life and death and what a miracle it is that we even exist.

On topic, what do you all think will be the next stepping stone for human expansion into space? Will we set up settlements on the moon and/or Mars first, or will we tackle asteroid mining? Personally I think the former would be a more rational choice -- I just don't see the cost-effectiveness of mining asteroids at the present time. The potential scientific knowledge we could gain from it could be worthwhile, however.





 
HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 26.01.2013, 01:20 | Message # 82
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I think that the near future (next 20 years) holds a binary focus for manned spaceflight. I think that we will see a huge boom in Earth orbit operations, largely with commercial space stations like Bigelow plans, mostly for research purposes but some for tourism as well. I also see a niche for orbital utility operations opening up (things like satellite repair, refueling, and relocation). There may also be a push towards near-lunar operations as well, which might also increase demand for ferry services. I see I higher percentage of cislunar flights being tourist in nature than Earth orbital flights. I certainly won't rule out human activities on the Moon in the next 20 years, but don't think that will be the big focus. Things in near-Earth space will probably be the biggest arena for human activity in space, at least in an economic sense, for the foreseeable future.

I also think that there will be a big focus on Mars, especially from SpaceX (Elon Musk needs a retirement home, after all). I see a lot of work being done in the next couple of decades to prepare for initial settlement of Mars, with actual human settlement starting near the end of that 20-year timeframe. Hopefully that blasted Mars One endeavor will fold up before it gets anywhere, I just have all kinds of bad feelings about it. When we do go to Mars though it will be a far broader operation than anything in the previous history of spaceflight. Many different companies will bring many different assets to the table. No one entity will create a Mars settlement on its own, it will probably involve goods and services from all parts of the space industry.

I don't see asteroids playing a large role in the short term, and maybe not even in the long term. It seems very unlikely to me that they will ever be seen as truly valuable resources.





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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Saturday, 26.01.2013, 05:10 | Message # 83
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Quote (Watsisname)
It definitely won't. I would bet you money, but I can hardly guarantee either of us being around in 20 years, let alone either of us having any money


The amount of agreement I have can't be expressed but I try to be optimistic about such things.

Quote (Watsisname)
You make it sound like there will be complete world economic collapse and/or apocalypse in the next 20 years. :P

HarbingerDOOM




Quote (HarbingerDawn)
I don't see asteroids playing a large role in the short term, and maybe not even in the long term. It seems very unlikely to me that they will ever be seen as truly valuable resources.


I have to disagree with you on that. I think once someone starts mining the asteroids it will prove to everyone that they are a worthwhile investment. There are plenty of companies who are interested in doing it and NASA even has plans to work with asteroids for resources.





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Edited by DoctorOfSpace - Saturday, 26.01.2013, 05:15
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 26.01.2013, 05:49 | Message # 84
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There are plenty of companies who are interested in doing it and NASA even has plans to work with asteroids for resources.

Everyone seems to be avoiding the most important question, which is "to what end?" How will asteroid mining help to accomplish most of our goals better than any other form of resource gathering? In most cases, it just doesn't.





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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Saturday, 26.01.2013, 05:57 | Message # 85
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How will asteroid mining help to accomplish most of our goals better than any other form of resource gathering?

What we have on Earth is limited. The best option is to avoid ripping the Earth apart anymore and move our resource gathering to space. The closest bodies full of resources are all the asteroids. If we start to harvest asteroids they can give us the materials and the fuel to get around our solar system and if the process is automated primarily with robots the price for space travel would drop significantly.

I'd rather we use the energy we have on Earth now towards getting fusion as a viable source of energy and nuclear energy put up alongside solar/wind/wave/thermal sources. That way we can focus on restoring the damage we've done to the Earth and still continue to advance our society using extraterrestrial materials. If we continue to rely on Earth then it can only end badly.

Not to mention if you do mining operations on Earth you have to pay people, if you do it in space and rely on robots the price drops, goods made from the materials drop in price, and things basically become "free". There is far more to be gained mining asteroids than mining on Earth.





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Edited by DoctorOfSpace - Saturday, 26.01.2013, 05:58
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 26.01.2013, 06:04 | Message # 86
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Quote (DoctorOfSpace)
The closest bodies full of resources are all the asteroids.

Incorrect.

Quote (DoctorOfSpace)
If we start to harvest asteroids they can give us the materials and the fuel to get around our solar system and if the process is automated primarily with robots the price for space travel would drop significantly.

Assuming that we use only current methods of propulsion and non-reusable launch vehicles, then perhaps. But naturally this is a very foolhardy presumption when speculating about things that are decades away.

Quote (DoctorOfSpace)
Not to mention if you do mining operations on Earth you have to pay people, if you do it in space and rely on robots the price drops, goods made from the materials drop in price, and things basically become "free". There is far more to be gained mining asteroids than mining on Earth.

Why are you assuming that the only alternative to mining asteroids is mining Earth? The vast majority of resources in the Solar system lay outside those two groups.

The most efficient solution will always be to mine the resources wherever you're at, or very nearby it so that as little energy as possible is required to accomplish it. Earth is in no danger of running out of necessary resources anytime soon, and the other worlds in the Solar system where people are likely to settle are completely untapped. I do think that some limited asteroid mining in very near-Earth space might have some utility, but for the most part it will be impractical unless people start spending an awful lot of time around asteroids for other reasons, thus making it the most effective solution.





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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Saturday, 26.01.2013, 06:18 | Message # 87
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Assuming that we use only current methods of propulsion and non-reusable launch vehicles, then perhaps. But naturally this is a very foolhardy presumption when speculating about things that are decades away.


Even if we had functioning starships it would still be cheaper to send robots somewhere than to send humans.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
Why are you assuming that the only alternative to mining asteroids is mining Earth? The vast majority of resources in the Solar system lay outside those two groups.

I'm not. I just think it would be one of the cheaper alternatives to harvesting neighboring planets. The other place we should be mining eventually is the Moon.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
and the other worlds in the Solar system where people are likely to settle are completely untapped.

I am talking about BEFORE people get there. Of course it will always be cheaper to get the materials from a local source.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
Earth is in no danger of running out of necessary resources anytime soon

Thats not true at all...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment....gy-boom
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/08/rare-earth-elements/


http://www.wired.co.uk/news....warning
http://www.fastcoexist.com/1680658....festyle

Our entire tech based society relies on rare Earth and rare earth supplies are running low due to the extensive mining operations needed to uncover and process them. Many studies suggest we may run out within this century. Sure you can get them from Mars to Earth but the cheaper alternative is to grab asteroids and get the materials from them.





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Edited by DoctorOfSpace - Saturday, 26.01.2013, 06:46
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Tuesday, 05.02.2013, 07:11 | Message # 88
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The case for asteroid mining (graphic by Planetary Resources)






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HarbingerDawnDate: Thursday, 14.02.2013, 20:38 | Message # 89
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A good shot for getting a sense of the scale of SpaceX's Grasshopper rocket



Also, NASA administrator Charlie Bolden recently visited SpaceX's launch pad at Vandenberg AFB in California, where the first Falcon Heavy rocket (CG render pictured) is expected to launch later this year. Falcon Heavy will be capable of lifting up to 53 metric tons to low Earth orbit, more than double the mass of the next most capable launch vehicle.






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expandoDate: Saturday, 16.02.2013, 01:53 | Message # 90
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If they mine precious metals from asteroids, I think it would be economic. If they are self sustaining in space, all they would need to send the payload to earth is a container with a heat shield and let it land in the sea near shore for the company to retrieve.

Thou when these valuable metals would decline in value if they produce a lot of supply





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