There’s been huge buzz about Planetary Resources and their bold proposed mission to mine asteroids for "trillions" in purported mineral wealth. I offer a detailed (if general) look at this ambitious concept. How are these billionaires planning to obtain metals and fuel by mining nearby asteroids? Has the future finally arrived? Is it B.S. or not B.S.?
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Metal coins are outdated. We'd do better with Kauri shells.
Seriously, what is so sacred about a gold standard? We might fare better with a consumable quantity as monetary standard, e.g. electrical or chemically stored energy, food, or freshwater. There are advantages to an economy that incites to reinvest rather than hoard wealth.May 6, 2012
- It seems to me very likely that they could realize these profits from asteroid mining, but not by collecting minerals and then dropping them on earth. If, instead, they begin converting asteroids to solar arrays and collecting energy to transmit to the earth, costs would be much less and the benefits much more quickly applicable.May 6, 2012
- Gold, n.: A soft malleable metal relatively scarce in distribution. It is mined deep in the earth by poor men who then give it to rich men who immediately bury it back in the earth in great prisons, although gold hasn’t done anything to them.
-- Mike Harding, The Armchair Anarchist's Almanac
As far as I can see "the gold standard" is a social construct based on scarcity. If I go to a reserve bank to exchange my cash for gold I don't want to say "now what?"May 6, 2012
- Are... people really suggesting a return to the gold standard in a post about something that could increase the gold supply on earth by orders of magnitude in one swoop? You couldn't get a better material demonstration of precisely the supply problems inherent with that.May 6, 2012
- I believe future Arkyds will find extinct comets with icey interiors. But accessible extinct comets are much less likely.
A body from the Kuiper belt will have a ~30 AU aphelion and will be moving close to 44 km/s while in our neighborhood. The earth's moving 30 km/s. So, depending upon orbit direction, the body could be moving anywhere from 74 to 14 km/s with regards to earth.
If it's a short period comet fallen from Jupiter's Trojans, it would be moving around 40 km/s while in our neighborhood. Not a whole lot better than something from the Kuiper or Oort.
If a dead comet has had it's aphelion lowered by the influence of passing planets, the average temperature will be higher. Over time this average temperature would spread into the insulating mantle and the interior ices would sublimate.
So while I find it likely we'll find a dead comet with an icey interior, finding such a body easier to reach than the moon's ice is a long shot.May 7, 2012
- Yes you save money & energy by leaving it in orbit. You have a mine station to process fuel for sats. & space ships. The minerals for new ships & sats. A satellite recycling program would work as well.Jun 19, 2014