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Author Topic: Planetary Resources: Asteroid Miners  (Read 504 times)

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Offline Question MarkTopic starter

Planetary Resources: Asteroid Miners
« on: April 26, 2012, 12:21:32 AM »
Planetary Resources is a company founded in 2010.  They're backed by billionaires Larry Page (Google CEO) and James Cameron, VIPs like Joint Chief General Moseley, and experts in the fields of engineering, physics, and astronomy such as Dr. Sara Seager (MIT Astrophysics Professor), Dr. Thomas Jones (NASA Astronaut), and Dr. Mark Sykes (NASA Astronomer).

Their purpose?  To develop efficient, cheap space technology capable of identifying and harvesting resources from Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) within the next 10 years.  That's right: they're going to be landing on asteroids, mining their ore, and carting it back to Terra Firma.  Sci-Fi?  Not anymore.  Here's a link to their long term plans: Planetary Resources Technology.

This is, to put it as mildly as possible, one of the most exciting things to come out of the world in the past decade.  In the wake of the horrific budget cuts to American science programs -- especially NASA -- the future of humans in space became very dim.  Now, there exists a real initiative to drive forward the next step of space exploration.  The resources and intangible benefits that will come of this venture are ridiculously immense.  We're talking billions of dollars of GDP per year, thousands of (real) jobs, and an entire new industry.  Even if it fails, the technological benefits will be immense.  Remember the tech that came from the Moon Race?  Well, this could trigger that all over again.

More important than any of that though is the return of a goal for humanity's nations and organizations to work towards.  Earth as it is now is stagnating.  There's nowhere left to explore, no more hidden resources to exploit, nothing to do but go about our lives.  Not that our lives are unrewarding, not at all.  We try to do meaningful things, make a lasting impression.  And on a personal level, we got that covered.  But in the grand scheme of things, as a species, we are in a bad spot right now.  Humanity has always done its best when pushing into new frontiers, exploiting new resources, developing new technologies.  It's that sense of discovery that we've been missing for decades now; that sense of achievement, that driving purpose to a singular nigh-impossible goal, and that overwhelming sensation of unifying accomplishment.

I think Planetary Resources will reignite that dying spark.  Once we know we can travel through interplanetary space and mine asteroids...  Well, I'm just glad I'll get to see it in my lifetime.  :-)

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Planetary Resources: Asteroid Miners
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2012, 12:07:33 PM »
Not to mention what could come out of their efforts. Finding a water bearing asteroid of some size would enable the founding of an 'orbital' fuel farm. If they find an asteroid with the volume of platinum ores (Platinum, Iridium, ect) that they hope for could VASTLY increase the volume of those ores on the planet (Since they are mostly meteoric in origin down here and scarce). Imagine what you could do if platinum and other ores were as cheap as Alunimum. (Considering before modern metallurgy brought down the cost of it, it was quite valuable)

Offline Frelance

Re: Planetary Resources: Asteroid Miners
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2012, 02:50:42 AM »
I heard about this idea a few months ago when I was watching anything space exploration/colonization related. The idea is great and I do believe that it will have a huge benefit to Earth. What I want to know is how they intend to get the resources to the surface of Terra Firma. Now I have not read up on the company which I probably should but I am assuming that they will just cut chunks off and let them fall into the atmosphere into the ocean, since thats how we get anything down unless we use something like the shuttles that as designed to be flown down.

I am going to add a bit of my opinion on what I think should happen, this is very bias because I see the moon as being a wasted resource up until this point. What i believe should be done is when the technologies is available a space elevator should be constructed, probably more than one should be constructed to transport goods form the surface to orbit. What I think we should do is set up permanant settlements on the moon and use it as a mining, refinement, construction site. The reason I think this is because with no atmosphere you do not have to expend large amounts of fuel to launch anything back up to orbit so we can make things on a larger scale. It would work in reverse as well we would not need to spend as much fuel to get finished products back down to earth.

Anyway I am not going to keep talking about my believes of what the moon should be used for. Also I do not mean to derail your thread.