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The Lunar Gold Rush: How Moon Mining Could Work

Discussion in 'Gold Silver (All things Metal)' started by searcher, May 19, 2015.



  1. southfork

    southfork Mother Lode Found Mother Lode

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  2. the_shootist

    the_shootist I self identify as a black '69 Camaro Midas Member Site Supporter ++

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    Some of them still do
     
  3. michael59

    michael59 heads up-butts down Platinum Bling

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    Love it. We could send all our high grade radio active waste into the sun....if it comes back at us then we know we are in real trouble. Or, or we could miss and the sun$ gravity could slow it down and we'd run into it 6months later. Saves storing it here.
     
  4. the_shootist

    the_shootist I self identify as a black '69 Camaro Midas Member Site Supporter ++

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    ...along with all our low grade politicians
     
  5. michael59

    michael59 heads up-butts down Platinum Bling

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    Not if we run back into them.....just say'n
     
  6. the_shootist

    the_shootist I self identify as a black '69 Camaro Midas Member Site Supporter ++

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    Nope, they go straight to the Sun. They don't pass GO and they most certainly do NOT collect $200
     
  7. michael59

    michael59 heads up-butts down Platinum Bling

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    Ur killing me here.

    If you aren't kidding about the we never went to the moon then to shoot a bunch of politicians riding a rocket full of nuclear waste into the sun is tantamount of saying why don't we just piss into the wind or up a rope.

    Oh well I'm burnt cookies here.......

    Love ya all buts gots ta go....
     
  8. Cigarlover

    Cigarlover Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Who actually gave Obama or Congress the rights to decide who could have the rights to things in space?
     
  9. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    I was wondering that myself.
     
  10. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Space business: US citizens get right to mine asteroids
    (RT)



    https://youtu.be/U93ux6HUGDM

    Published on Dec 3, 2015
    US lawmakers have decided to expand the reach of capitalism into the universe, and make celestial bodies a source of income. President Barack Obama signed an act giving US companies the right to the commercial exploration of asteroids and other bodies in space.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2015
  11. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    There’s Big Money to Be Made in Asteroid Mining

    Jeff Desjardins
    on November 2, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Click below to expand to the full version of the infographic

    [​IMG]

    Image courtesy of: Wired

    There’s Big Money to Be Made in Asteroid Mining
    See the full version of the infographic.

    If humans were ever able to get their hands on just one asteroid, it would be a game-changer.

    That’s because the value of many asteroids are measured in the quintillions of dollars, which makes the market for Earth’s annual production of raw metals – about $660 billion per year – look paltry in comparison.

    The reality is that the Earth’s crust is saddled with uneconomic materials, while certain types of asteroids are almost pure metal. X-type asteroids, for example, are thought to be the remnants of large asteroids that were pulverized in collisions in which their dense, metallic cores got separated from the mantle.

    There is one such X-type asteroid near earth that is believed to hold more platinum than ever mined in human history.

    Near-Earth Mining Targets
    Asteroid mining companies such as Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries are the first-movers in the sector, and they’ve already started to identify prospective targets to boldly mine where no man has mined before.

    Both companies are looking specifically at near-Earth asteroids in the near-term, which are the easiest ones to get to. So far, roughly 15,000 such objects have been discovered, and their orbits all come in close proximity to Earth.

    Planetary Resources has identified eight of these as potential targets and has listed them publicly, while Deep Space Industries has claimed to have “half a dozen very, very attractive targets”.

    While these will be important for verifying the feasibility of asteroid mining, the reality is that near-Earth asteroids are just tiny minnows in an ocean of big fish. Their main advantage is that they are relatively easy to access, but most targets identified so far are less than 1,000 ft (300 m) in diameter – meaning the potential economic payoff of a mission is still unclear.

    Where the Money is Made
    The exciting part of asteroid mining is the asteroid belt itself, which lies between Mars and Jupiter. It is there that over 1 million asteroids exist, including about 200 that are over 60 miles (100 km) in diameter.

    NASA estimates this belt to hold $700 quintillion of bounty. That’s about $100 billion for each person on Earth.

    There are obviously many technical challenges that must be overcome to make mining these possible. As it stands, NASA aims to bring back a grab sample from the surface of asteroid Bennu that is 2 and 70 ounces (about 60 to 2,000 grams) in size. The cost of the mission? Approximately $1 billion.

    To do anything like that on a large scale will require robots, spacecraft, and other technologies that simply do not exist yet. Further, missions like this could cost trillions of dollars – a huge risk and burden in the case that a mission is unsuccessful.

    Until then, the near-Earth asteroids are the fertile testing ground for aspirational asteroid miners – and we look forward to seeing what is possible in the future.

    http://www.visualcapitalist.com/theres-big-money-made-asteroid-mining/
     
  12. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Galactic gold rush: the tech companies aiming to make space mining a reality

    Asteroids and the moon contain vast quantities of natural resources, including water, that could be worth billions and fuel a new phase of space exploration


    [​IMG]
    An artist’s impression of Planetary Resources’ Arkyd 200 spacecraft on a mission to mine an asteroid. Photograph: Planetary Resources
    Dan Tynan in San Francisco


    @tynanwrites



    Tuesday 6 December 2016 07.00 EST
    Many tech entrepreneurs will promise you the moon. Naveen Jain is hoping to deliver it.

    Five years ago, the founder of dotcom search giant InfoSpace set his sights on actual space, creating Moon Express, a startup with the then outlandish goal of mining the moon for minerals.

    Last August, Moon Express became the first private company to receive permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to land a craft on the lunar surface. By the end of 2017, it plans to launch its first exploratory mission to our nearest neighbor in the solar system.

    If successful, Jain’s company may collect the $25m Google Lunar XPRIZE, which has been promised to the first private firm to land on the moon, travel at least 500 meters and transmit high-definition images back from the surface.

    Jain isn’t proposing to drill holes in the moon or strip-mine Mons Huygens which, at 18,000 feet, is the tallest peak on the lunar landscape. Most of the treasure he seeks is on the ground, deposited by millions of meteors that have struck the lunar surface over the past 4bn years. And he hates the term “space mining”.

    “Mining has such a negative connotation, people think you’re drilling a hole and destroying things,” he says. “This is more like collecting or harvesting.”

    But Jain’s ambitions are much bigger. Like other tech billionaires entering the space race, he hopes to lower the costs of space travel, help enable the colonization of the moon and later Mars – and make a tidy profit along the way.

    “To rephrase John F Kennedy, we choose to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is a great business,” Jain jokes. “The second reason is the moon is the perfect training ground for going to Mars.”

    Robots and snowballs
    Moon Express is not the only company aiming to get a piece of the gold rush that’s about to happen hundreds of thousands of miles above our heads.

    Deep Space Industries (DSI) is building autonomous spacecraft that can extract materials from asteroids. It expects to launch its first experimental mission in 2017, and send its Prospector 1 autonomous craft to a near-Earth asteroid by the end of the decade, says Meagan Crawford, vice-president of strategic communications for DSI.

    Planetary Resources – a company backed in part by Google’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, as well as the government of Luxembourg – is also developing technology that will allow it to begin exploring asteroids starting around the year 2020.

    What’s out there worth mining? Every element known to mankind, in virtually infinite amounts.

    In 2014, the financial services site Motley Fool estimated the mineral wealth of the moon to be between $150 quadrillion and $500 quadrillion – enough to create 500m billionaires. Add in the riches found inside asteroids, and the sky is literally the limit.

    The moon, for example, is abundant in Helium-3, an extremely rare element on Earth that could theoretically be used as fuel in future nuclear fusion plants. Asteroids are typically chock full of iron, nickel, cobalt, platinum and titanium.

    But the real gold, at least initially, is water. Many near-Earth asteroids are abundant in carbonaceous chondrites that contain a lot of ice, says Crawford. Think of an enormous dirty snowball, winging around the sun at 55,000 miles an hour. Now imagine landing a robot on that snowball that can extract the ice and haul it away.

    “Water is the fuel of space,” Crawford says. “The constituent parts are liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen – that’s rocket fuel. We’re also working on technology that uses superheated water itself as a propellant, so you don’t have to separate the oxygen and hydrogen.”

    More than 90% of the weight of modern rockets is the fuel, Jain notes. As companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin begin launching reusable vehicles, fuel becomes the biggest cost of going into space. The less of it you have to carry, the cheaper space travel becomes.

    In this scheme, asteroids would essentially be gas stations, allowing ships to carry just enough fuel to emerge from Earth’s gravity well, then fill up their tanks as they head toward their final destination.

    US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, signed by President Obama in November 2015.

    While the law stipulates that no nation can claim ownership of an asteroid or other heavenly body (in accordance with the Outer Space Treaty of 1967), US companies will be able to extract and own any materials they find in the great beyond.

    Other countries have yet to adopt similar treaties, though Luxembourg is close to passing similar legislation, Crawford says.

    “We expect in the next few years there will be several bilateral and multilateral agreements that will settle on an international convention for how this is going to be regulated, similar to how deep-sea mining is handled today,” she says.

    ‘Shiny things in a stream’
    But for now, space mining is an industry still waiting for its moment. Even with SpaceX and Blue Origin slashing launch costs, sending anything into space remains a radically expensive proposition. The market for raw materials to build moonbases or refueling stations to enable busloads of Mars colonists has yet to materialize.

    While all three mining companies are planning launches next year, none expect to begin extracting anything of value from space until well into the next decade.

    “The cost of space transportation will have to come down drastically before it becomes economical to transport minerals to Earth from asteroids,” notes William Ostrove, aerospace and defense analyst for Forecast International. “If colonies on the moon or Mars become a reality, it may be cheaper to mine resources on asteroids rather than transport them from Earth. But that’s also decades away.”

    [​IMG]
    Facebook Twitter Pinterest
    The moon’s surface as photographed by Apollo 17. Valuable minerals could be easily available on the surface. Photograph: Nasa
    Even then, the first efforts are likely to be modest, says Lewicki. “Gold mining didn’t start as a massive industrial operation with complicated machinery and complex supply chains,” he says. “It started with a Levi’s-wearing gentleman looking for shiny things in a stream and picking them up. Space mining is likely to start out as something pretty simple as well.”

    In the meantime, Planetary Resources has begun launching compact Earth observation satellites for use in agriculture, environmental monitoring and energy industries. It allows the company to generate revenue while it waits for the space mining industry to take off, and gives it a chance to test and refine the technology it will use to detect water and minerals in space.

    “Lots of people got wind of the gold rush, cashed in their fortunes, got on a wagon headed west and staked their claims,” says Lewicki. “And most of them failed. Nine out of 10 startups fail as well. Success isn’t assured for anyone in this business, but the opportunity is clearly there.”

    The ‘Pokémon Go of the moon’
    Like Bezos, Musk, and other tech billionaires, Jain is hoping to bring down the marginal costs of space exploration low enough to enable entrepreneurs to come up with solutions not yet imagined – just as the PC, internet and iPhone spurred innovation no one at that time could foresee.

    “When Steve Jobs asked people what apps they wanted to see on the iPhone, not a single person said ‘Hey, I would like to throw the birds at the pigs,’” says Jain. “But that’s what people did. Once we land there, someone else will build the Angry Birds and Pokémon Go of the moon.”

    And, like Musk, he’s trying to use his personal wealth to ensure the future of humanity by enabling it to expand beyond our planet’s fragile boundaries.

    He’s also a hopeless romantic.

    “Moon rocks themselves may be the most valuable thing – they are beautiful,” says Jain, who gave a moon rock to his wife for their 25th anniversary, and claims to own the largest private collection of meteorites in the world.

    “They could replace diamonds. You simply change the paradigm: ‘Anyone can give her a diamond. If you love her enough, you’ll give her the moon.’”

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/dec/06/space-mining-moon-asteroids-tech-companies
     
  13. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    NASA reveals 'ShadowCam' that could finally reveal the trillions of dollars of deposits that could be mined from the moon's surface
    • Much of the lunar surface is hidden by permanent shadow, hiding resources
    • NASA has now selected instrument that can investigate these areas
    • The 'ShadowCam' uses 800 times more sensitive than those on current orbiters
    • Will look for volatiles, such as water, to understand distribution and abundance


    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4457228/NASA-reveals-plan-lunar-ShadowCam-seek-deposits.html#ixzz4ffeIa4oU
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
     

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