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OT, maybe: Asteroid mining press conference

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  • OT, maybe: Asteroid mining press conference

    This is going on now as of 10:30 am April 24 2012. The company Planetary Resources is announcing plans to mine near earth asteroids. They are not joking and the list of investors has enough capital to build an entire fleet of space shuttles. Initial investment by the principals may reach 30 billion dollars.

    The live stream which will go on until afternoon is at

    http://www.geekwire.com/2012/robots-...ws-conference/
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  • #2
    $30 billion isn't even in the ballpark to build a single space shuttle, let alone a fleet.

    But even assuming they had a fleet of shuttles, the economics don't seem to make sense.

    Edit: LOL - James Cameron is a "technical advisor" & the Google founders are 2 of the principal investors.
    They're proposing to build a "swarm of robots" to harvest "water & platinum elements"

    :-)
    Last edited by lazlo; 04-24-2012, 03:46 PM.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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    • #3
      Their goal is to mine for platinum? Do they think that there is enough precious metals out there and that they can return them to earth with a low enough cost to make a profit? They would have to bring back tons and tons of it to cover their costs and wouldn't that knock the price of platinum in the dirt? Maybe I just lack vision....

      Tom
      Last edited by flathead4; 04-24-2012, 03:34 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by lazlo
        $30 billion isn't even in the ballpark to build a single space shuttle, let alone a fleet.

        :-)
        Only when you let the military declare the specs and require 100% 'Space grade' components for every last thing.

        If its unmanned and you don't mind the odd one blowing up now and again (Keeps the TV ratings up anyway), Slap some sponsor logos on the side, Im sure you could build rockets for a couple million each.
        Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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        • #5
          nearer home

          wouldnt there be more money to be made if they salvaged all the space junk ..floating around planet earth.

          what they are planning is 200 years away.

          all the best.markj

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Black_Moons
            Only when you let the military declare the specs and require 100% 'Space grade' components for every last thing.
            SpaceX -- Elon Musk's (Paypal co-founder) commercial space venture, spent $1.7 billion for their Falcon 9: very simple rocket with an Apollo-style retrievable capsule. And that was with billions in free support and services (expertise, engineering support, launch services) from NASA. They're billions and years away from something as sophisticated as a shuttle, let alone a fleet of shuttles, and a swarm of platinum harvesting robots.

            I'd love to be proven wrong, but my bullsh!t detector is going off.

            Not coincidentally, this is the same week that Google reissued their stock to maintain control over the board, pitched the Google Glasses project...
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=9c6W4CCU9M4
            "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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            • #7
              $30 billion isn't even in the ballpark to build a single space shuttle, let alone a fleet.
              Endeavour cost 1.7 billion in 1987. That translates to about 3.2 billion now. The Shuttle is a simple design from the late 60's and is easy to build.

              We (the government) have forgotten how easy it is to get into space.

              Last edited by Evan; 04-24-2012, 04:30 PM.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lazlo
                SpaceX -- Elon Musk's (Paypal co-founder) commercial space venture, spent $1.7 billion for their Falcon 9: very simple rocket with an Apollo-style retrievable capsule. And that was with billions in free support and services (expertise, engineering support, launch services) from NASA. They're billions and years away from something as sophisticated as a shuttle, let alone a fleet of shuttles, and a swarm of platinum harvesting robots.

                I'd love to be proven wrong, but my bullsh!t detector is going off.

                Not coincidentally, this is the same week that Google reissued their stock to maintain control over the board, pitched the Google Glasses project...
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=9c6W4CCU9M4
                So the future is all about people talking to themselves //...it's bad enough now, with people with headsets ..i sometimes don't see the set and think they are talking to me ..

                usually the people who wear them, look at me as if I'm off another planet when i interrupt them....they are the ones on another planet.......
                and so are the people that want everyone to hear their conversation.

                can you imagine going into a store/shop .....were everyones walking around looking for things whilst talking to their glasses !!

                the worlds going to get a lot noisier .

                all the best.markj
                Last edited by aboard_epsilon; 04-24-2012, 04:35 PM.

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                • #9
                  I'd love to be proven wrong, but my bullsh!t detector is going off.
                  The company has been in operation studying the feasibility of the project for two years now. They just haven't been making any noise about it until they were convinced.
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                  • #10
                    Their goal is to mine for platinum
                    That is just to attract the attention of the press. They are more interested in basic items such as water. Look up STP or Solar Thermal Rocket which is a steam powered rocket with energy from the sun. Cheap design with fuel readily available from near Earth asteroids. They aren't talking about going to the asteroid belt, they don't need to. There are thousands of asteroids in orbits that pass close to earth. Estimates for such known asteroids in the right size range and orbit is about 400 right now and there are many more yet to be discovered. That 400 only counts the ones that are easier to get to than the Moon. "Get to" means in terms of Delta V, or the amount of orbital velocity change required which means fuel.
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Evan
                      Endeavour cost 1.7 billion in 1987. That translates to about 3.2 billion now.
                      I was talking about the NRE Evan:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_program
                      "Early during development of the space shuttle, NASA had estimated that the program would cost $7.45 billion ($43 billion in 2011 dollars, adjusting for inflation) in development/non-recurring costs, and $9.3M ($54M in 2011 dollars) per flight. Early estimates for the cost to deliver payload to low earth orbit were as low as $118 per pound ($260/kg) of payload ($635/pound in 2011 dollars), based on marginal or incremental launch costs, and assuming a 65,000 pound (30 000 kg) payload capacity and 50 launches per year.

                      The actual total cost of the shuttle program through 2011, adjusted for inflation, is $196 billion. The exact breakdown into non-recurring and recurring costs is not available, but, according to NASA, the average cost to launch a Space Shuttle as of 2011 is about $450 million per mission."
                      "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by aboard_epsilon
                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9c6W4CCU9M4

                        So the future is all about people talking to themselves //...it's bad enough now, with people with headsets ..i sometimes don't see the set and think they are talking to me ..
                        That Google Glasses video is so absurd, and so out of touch with reality
                        Google really wants to believe that people want to jack-in the moment they wake up, wearing a pair of geeky HUD glasses.

                        There are definitely killer applications for HUD glasses (which have been around for years): soldiers, for example, could get live map updates, situation awareness (location of enemies, squad mates, ...). But it's not going to be a life changing technology like Google would like you to believe.
                        "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                        • #13
                          Bringing some alien material into mother earth,(Should it be feasable, Which i doubt), does not seem to me to be particularly wise In this sector of time, Late 20th to early 21st century, Man seems to delight in his arrogance at playing God to his peril

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                          • #14
                            That is just to attract the attention of the press. They are more interested in basic items such as water
                            So they are not really going after precious metals, like they said? They are really going after water? And then they are going to use the water to power their rockets so they can find more water. I'm just trying to figure out how they plan "to make a lot of money." Although, I guess anything that came from an asteroid would have some value, at first. If you can get four dollars for a bottle of earth water at a sporting event, just think how much you could sell a bottle of "space" water for. Of course you would have to sell a considerable amount of space water just to cover the initial 30B investment.

                            Tom

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                            • #15
                              From the article Evan linked:

                              "Will focus on near-Earth asteroids. Two types of resources.

                              1) Water. Hydrogen and oxygen are most efficient forms of rocket propellant. It is the best rocket fuel out there. Provides not only with the ability to support life — drinking water, food — but also propellant.

                              2) Precious metals. Platinum group metals. People have been been mining asteroids on Earth based on asteroids that have hit surface for a long time."
                              "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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