Space exploration company: Planetary Resources

Remus

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http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/330326/20120419/planetary-resources-mysterious-company-james-cameron-google.htm


Although it's not yet clear enough what the company really does, a press release obtained by MIT's Technology Review said that Planetary Resources "will overlay two critical sectors - space exploration and natural resources."

"This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of 'natural resources,'" the release teased.

Technology Review speculated that the company might deal with asteroid mining, reasoning that the other natural resources we need - "a livable climate or a replacement for our dwindling supplies of oil" - haven't been found in space yet.

The Verge agreed to this speculation, saying that asteroid mining could indeed be what Planetary Resources aims to do, "especially since X Prize founder and perpetual optimist Peter Diamandis is at the head of the operation."

I don't know what to make of this. It sounds exciting, but I don't know how practical asteroid mining is right now.

Thoughts?
 

Eejit

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perpetual optimist ... is at the head of the operation
Sounds about right. Don't think we're gonna be doing asteroid mining for at least a couple of decades.
 

Warped Dan

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Too soon...just sayin. Going green and alternative energy is where its at these days
 

Remus

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Keep in mind that this is all speculation. However the options are limited. It's most likely one of these:
- asteroid mining
- orbital solar power
- lunar mining

Anyway, the press conference will be on the 24th so we'll find out one way or another then.
 

Robbo

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I seriously doubt it's going to be mining.
Despite the situation with oil (which I doubt exists in space) it's going to be a long time before we get to the point of needing mineral resources from space. If this is a company that hopes to get solar power from space or something similar then I dont really see the business case for it. Surely you'd be much better off collecting solar power on the ground cause it's going to be a long time before the price of lifting solar cells into orbit can compete with that.
 

DEATHMASTER

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It's not bloody practical. We have the technological availability of apes despite all speculation in this day and age. Economical resources as well, ****in joke.
 

Remus

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Technology isn't the problem, cost is. Form what I've heard, significantly cutting costs of transport is the plan. If successful it will make the idea of space mining not only possible but profitable.
 

Ennui

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The way they are talking about injecting trillions of dollars into the global GDP it seems fairly obvious they are going to mine for resources either on the moon or (more likely) on asteroids. Asteroids are chock full of valuable metals and stuff. If they can find a cost effective way to extract those resources and get them back to Earth without wasting too much money on propulsion etc then it could be very profitable indeed.

Even if it's a pie in the sky shot for now, I'm glad to see that people are attempting to progress at least. One of the true historical constants is that once we set our sights on something like this, the goal becomes achievable much more quickly than most contemporary people would dream of expecting.
 

DEATHMASTER

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That's what I meant. The technology might be there but it's not really time effective or economical, so I think a better technology that is would be worth developing first (propulsion for starters). Can't say I know the first thing about mining though.
 

Stigmata

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I'm not convinced that asteroid mining will be cheap enough to come before the Moon. Sure, there's no gravity well you need to escape to bring the resources back, but that comes with a vast increase in transit distance, further-increased fuel costs from constant attitude and propulsion adjustment to navigate around and between asteroids, various forms of content analysis for each asteroid, resource storage (more costly in free space than on solid ground), and the possible need of a human presence for maintenance.

Besides, the US already has a base on the dark side of the moon :V
 

Bad^Hat

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It's been confirmed.

http://news.yahoo.com/asteroid-mining-venture-backed-google-execs-james-cameron-011205183.html

Planetary Resources hopes its mining efforts lead to the establishment of in-space "gas stations" that could help many spacecraft refuel, from Earth-orbiting satellites to Mars-bound vessels.
"We're really talking about enabling the exploration of deep space," Anderson said. "That's what really gets me excited."
Oh my god I was kidding about the Eve thing. :eek:

More relevantly, some (presumably) realistic expectations of when and how this might pay off:

He declined to estimate when Planetary Resources would begin extracting metals or water from space rocks, saying there are too many variables to lay out a firm timeline. But a recent study sponsored by Caltech's Keck Institute for Space Studies estimated that a 500-ton near-Earth asteroid could be snagged and dragged to the moon's orbit by 2025, at a cost of about $2.6 billion.
 

ríomhaire

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From the second image in Bat^Hat's link I'm guessing the plan is to pick up asteroids in giant space buckets and bring them back to Earth/a space station to be processed?
 

Warped Dan

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just read this today (totally unrelated but scary and cool)

http://www.space.com/15412-saturn-ring-mystery-objects.html

Mysterious Objects Punching Holes In Weird Saturn Ring


Mysterious objects appear to be doing some damage to Saturn's "weirdest ring," scientists say.
The discovery comes from detailed photos taken of the Saturn system by NASA's Cassini orbiter. In these images, researchers spotted strange objects about a half-mile (kilometer) wide tearing through Saturn's F ring, the thin outermost discrete ring around the planet.
As they pass through the ring, these interlopers drag glittering ice particles out with them, creating visible trails of debris scientists are calling "mini jets."
 

Dynasty

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We can barely get machines to work on Mars these days, how do they expect this will work?

However, I cant see anything space related being government funded any time soon, so I guess private financing is the way forward, so kudos Mr Cameron. You clearly have too much money.

Quite cool though.
 

DEATHMASTER

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I wouldn't be too shocked if billionaires and corporations have developed more than NASA.
 

Pi Mu Rho

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We can barely get machines to work on Mars these days, how do they expect this will work?
Really? Both Mars rovers far exceeded their original life estimates, and one of them is still running, seven years later.
 

NeptuneUK

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Really? Both Mars rovers far exceeded their original life estimates, and one of them is still running, seven years later.
Yeah many people only take notice of the rare occassions where the devices fail, or lose contact. Nearly every space mission attempted (manned or otherwise) has been a complete success, or as pi put it, exceeded expectations.

The Voyager 2 probe is STILL sending data after 34 years!

http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/weekly-reports/index.htm



I think Voyager 1 is still active too but it has been described by NASA as in 'Cosmic Purgatory'
 

Ennui

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Yeah many people only take notice of the rare occassions where the devices fail, or lose contact. Nearly every space mission attempted (manned or otherwise) has been a complete success, or as pi put it, exceeded expectations.
American space missions at least. The Russians have lost tons of orbiters and landers destined for the moon and especially Mars. I agree with your and Pi's sentiment though. I have no doubt that if enough resources (human and material) are put forth towards this project that it could be a huge success.

It excites me mostly because I love progress in any shape or form when it comes to space exploration, and this could be the first step towards making space more habitable for humans. If they can provide refills of water and fuel to spacecraft and/or space stations without having to launch it from the planet's surface that would be HUGELY important to facilitating further exploration and settlement.
 
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