Mining in Space!

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Smeghead
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Re: Mining in Space!

Postby Smeghead » 25 Apr 2012, 21:57

metcarfre wrote:The title of this thread has two fewer exclamation marks than it should.


I thought of it along the lines of; <something> in spaaaaaaaace!!!! but decided not to go for it
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Re: Mining in Space!

Postby Metcarfre » 25 Apr 2012, 22:07

Mining! In! Spaaaaaaaace!
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Re: Mining in Space!

Postby Geoff_B » 25 Apr 2012, 23:22

Mining Uranus.

Sorry.
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Re: Mining in Space!

Postby Lord Chrusher » 25 Apr 2012, 23:29

Smeghead wrote:
Master Gunner wrote:Saturn would probably be the best bet, actually. The sun has obvious complications, and Jupiter's gravity well makes it much less cost-efficient than Saturn. Neptune and Uranus would of course likely be easier to mine from than Saturn, but the distance to them can cause problems of its own.


Isn't there liquid helium occuring naturally on one of the gas giant's moons? I know there are some of them with liquid gases in abundace, but I don't remember if helium was one of them


Due to helium's low boiling point I doubt that there anywhere were helium is liquid.

This is cool and it just might work.
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Re: Mining in Space!

Postby Smeghead » 25 Apr 2012, 23:34

Master Gunner wrote:Titan has lakes of liquid methane, and Europa is thought to have liquid water under the surface ice. As far as I can recall, the rest are all rock and ice.


Yeah was probably titan I was thinking about, but you are right that it would be methane and not helium.
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Re: Mining in Space!

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 26 Apr 2012, 06:45

Lord Chrusher wrote:Due to helium's low boiling point I doubt that there anywhere were helium is liquid.

This is cool and it just might work.

Anywhere near a star at least, certainly not within the goldilocks zone.

Between Mimas, Tethys, Enceladus, and Rhea, I think the Saturnian system is a great site for water mining if we're looking to source it outside of Earth.
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Re: Mining in Space!

Postby JayBlanc » 26 Apr 2012, 08:48

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Re: Mining in Space!

Postby UnarmedOracle » 26 Apr 2012, 10:47

Everything I've read about this makes it sound like it could absolutely work. I'm not an astronomer so I can't really comment on how common nickel-iron asteroids are, but as a chemist I can tell you that a new source of platinum-group metals will be revolutionary.

Just thinking about how this will drive robotics and zero gravity manufacturing is really intoxicating. To say that I'm very enthusiastic about this is an understatement.

Also, mining water and other volatiles in space ... I'm thrilled, just thrilled.
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Re: Mining in Space!

Postby Master Gunner » 26 Apr 2012, 12:24

Lyinginbedmon wrote:
Lord Chrusher wrote:Due to helium's low boiling point I doubt that there anywhere were helium is liquid.

This is cool and it just might work.

Anywhere near a star at least, certainly not within the goldilocks zone.

Between Mimas, Tethys, Enceladus, and Rhea, I think the Saturnian system is a great site for water mining if we're looking to source it outside of Earth.


In that case, why not just mine it from the ice caps on Mars?

Eventually, yes, we probably will mine water from out there, but with all of the asteroids around Earth, there are plenty of good mining options here. Plus, then you have the benefit of being able to launch a craft or probe from Earth with just enough fuel to take it to a Near-Earth fueling station (and apparently you only need a change in velocity of about 1km/s to get from geosynchronous orbit to one of those asteroids, which is part of what makes Planetary Resource's plan doable in the first place), and from there it fills up with enough hydrogen/oxygen to get to Mars, or one of the gas giants, depending on where it's intended to end up. This could save a massive amount of money on launch costs, no matter where the craft is intended to go.
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Re: Mining in Space!

Postby UnarmedOracle » 26 Apr 2012, 13:52

What makes planetary resources' asteroid volatile mining brilliant is that you don't need to bring any of it up out of a meaningful gravity well. Water isn't compressible, weighs a tonne, and in flat out necessary for human space travel, which is a nasty combination when everything costs $$$ to bring up from Earth.
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Re: Mining in Space!

Postby plummeting_sloth » 26 Apr 2012, 16:22

Definitely the idea of the convenience stores for future space travel. Not as good as the stuff at home, but easier than bringing it with you and it's right on the way.
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Re: Mining in Space!

Postby Smeghead » 27 Apr 2012, 07:05

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17867586

If this engine works, then it could cut down on the cost for getting stuff into space, making space mining more profitable.

if a craft with this engine is every built that is, and if it is actually as economical as they hope

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