Mining on Asterioids
A better get-rich-quick scheme than mining in Nephelokokkygia?
A new space mining venture is all set to do battle with James Cameron’s asteroid mining outfit in an industry that isn’t even certain to be possible yet. Deep Space Industries will announce “the world’s first fleet of commercial asteroid-prospecting spacecraft” later today in Santa Monica. The cosmic drill firm’s founders, “ …
It doesn't take a crook like Bernie Madoff to discredit this sort of thing.
London City Airport only became profitable when it folded, loosing the original investors a lot of cash. Another group picked it up cheap and the turnaround was pretty much inevitable because they didn't start with a crippling debt.
The original channel tunnel company went bust, leaving another group to pick it up cheap, and again, it was because the original debt burden was lost that the thing went profitable.
The same thing happens on smaller projects if they're still ambitious, such as the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, that the council picked up cheap after the guys that built it went bust (the original construction cost was too high to ever make a profit).
For anything really big, you need someone else to make the loss first so that you can make the profit in the aftermath.
(And of course this is the point of patents: to afford some protection to the trailblazing losers so that they remain competitive against the guys without the debt burden from the R&D. Space patents will most likely deal with the specifics rather than the core problems of space mining, particularly given most of the big problems have already undergone a lot of public debate, so there'll be a fair bit of wiggle room to work around them....)
"the actual technicalities of mining any asteroids in any sort of meaningful or profitable way are somewhat daunting"
Technical difficulties aside, what about the legalities? Will a private corporation be allowed to 'own' any asteroid that they are mining? If asteroids are OK, how about comets? moons? planets, or parts thereof? And if a company DOES have teh technical ability to get there, why should it submit to the jurisdiction of any earth-bound nation?
Of course none of that will need to be decided for many years into teh future, so let's start with the obvious one that WILL have immediate impact: What happens if there's 1 close-by asteroid that is viable to mine (but only if a company can mine all of it) and BOTH companies go for it? Wild west with lasers instead of 6-shooters?
I suspect a corporation will be able to own what it can defend... but initially it will own what it can get its hands on.. When humans finally start leaving this planet in larger numbers, there will be a land grab...
Who owns what on the moon? if the USA sets up the first moon base (I know VERY unlikely), would they be happy if China plonks one a mile away?
I am an optimist when it comes to space etc. and I look on it that by the time we are able to get anywhere significant and do anything significant. Our little ball of rock will stand as one rather than still being lots of separate nations competing. I know this is a long way off at the moment but so is a mass space exodus/land grab.
After all it is the only way we will be able to compete with the Alpha Centaurians!
"However, Deep Space Industries is promising an animated video that shows off not just its spacecraft but “a breakthrough process for manufacturing in space”.
The company also claims to be “pursuing an aggressive schedule” for its mining ventures."
I'm working on an animated video of my planned business venture and I'm pursuing an aggressive schedule. If you want to be a pre-IPO investor, you get the right to name certain characters in the video. Send me your e-mail address to get details and a share application form.
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Well, not quite, as its not a big government program to defend against Space Aliens but it's pretty close. Space Race to Asteroid Mining! Just needs more government money containers and we might go WWII SAVED MUH ECONOMY again!
Sure is a better plan than a rekindled Global War on Terror through the whole Sahel region as recently fanwanked in front of cameras by Monsieur Cameron.
That proves they have a fleet and mining capabilities. I'm really not sure about these companies appearing like this. Sure, we need new companies in the space arena but until someone has proven that we can actually mine an asteroid, or even the moon for that matter, its kinda just genital waving from them.
Yeah, expanding into the solar system is our current economic model reductio ad absurdum.
Even then we would run out of habitable space eventually, though we could postpone that time a little more by reconfiguring our available matter into forms that have a higher surface area than rocks and planets - ie Ringworlds (AKA, Orbitals, Halos) or Dyson Spheres...
Hmm, it might be easier to just adopt a different economic system instead.
Company launches robot mining droids into space.
Mines an nice bit of iron.
Government demands tax on profit from selling iron.
Company points out that they can, at will, drop that iron from orbit on top of the capital city ("Project Thor" style).
Government whimpers and offers them knighthoods instead.
Despite all you naysayers, I think it's cool to have people proposing the implausible and putting their money behind it.
It seems that people have stopped dreaming.
Who would have thought that even 20 years ago I could tap a very large part of the vastness of human knowledge from a small electronic phone, and for such a relatively small price?
Long live the dreamers I say!
I think its more a case of some people proposing the implausible in order to persuade other people to put their money behind it.
As for your phone, 20 years ago now only takes us back to 1993. Viewdata and similar systems were trialed for exactly this purpose in the 70s and the notion that the receiver might eventually shrink to a hand-held device would not have surprised any familiar with transistors. I imagine you need to be talking at least 50 years before the number of people "who could have thought" drops below a million or so.
And by a bizarre co-incidence, asteriod mining might actually be possible in 2063.
In many cases they never started dreaming let alone have stopped.
In 1993 I started using WWW and thought it rather amazing, I'd already been using the Internet's anonymous FTP archives extensively (remember Archie?), the potential was pretty obvious - but trying to persuade university brass to back development of our own resources was another matter. They were more interested in the possibilities of training people to use Microsoft Office.
In 1993 I already had a home computer and home Internet seemed an obvious development. Whether I'd have anticipated a 60 Mb permanently on home connection is another matter.
Deep Space Industries will announce “the world’s first fleet of commercial asteroid-prospecting spacecraft” later today in Santa Monica. The cosmic drill firm’s founders, “who include leaders in the space field”, will also be unveiled.
Deep Space Industries will announce “the world’s first fleet of commercial venture capital-prospectors” later today in Santa Monica. The cosmic drill firm’s founders, “who include leaders in venture-capital schmoozing”, will also be unveiled.
There, fixed it for you.
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