Approx. lane I would have passed on this “getpressure header”, if not for the good good name of Bank of America in the authorship of the report.
“If the world ever gonna be a trillionaire, then this will be the person who exploits the natural resources on asteroids. They are infinite supplies of energy and resources.”
— Neil Degrasse Tyson, astrophysicist
Mining with robots — is critical to NASA plans relative to long-term space flights to asteroids, the moon and Mars. NASA is developing the exploration and extraction of minerals with the help of robots through a variety of programs: including the Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR), the Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen and Lunar Volatile Extraction (RESOLVE) and the Moon Mars Analog Mission Activities (MMAMA).
Competition for mining on the moon with the help of bots it is a University contest sponsored by NASA, Caterpillar, SpaceX, Newmont Mining Corporation and Honeybee Robotics. The participants are challenged to design and build an excavator, which will be able to produce at least 10 kilograms of artificial lunar dust in 10 minutes.
The introduction of automation in terrestrial mining was slow due to technical problems. However, several large mining companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton employ an Autonomous or semi-Autonomous equipment and remote technologies virtual controls that allow miners to operate the equipment, being on distance of thousand miles from him, which, in principle, also applicable in space (source: NASA).
In addition, mining in space has involved not only the company. According to the consultant Navitas, Middle East countries develop space programs and invest in the emerging private space initiatives for the extraction of raw materials. It aims to give them support for the creation of extraterrestrial water — substances that can serve as fuels for space travel, and other resources that can be used to manufacture anything in space.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have a space program. Saudi Arabia signed in 2015, the agreement with Russia on cooperation in the field of space exploration. Abu Dhabi is the investor of the enterprise of space tourism Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic. In addition to the money the middle East also enjoys a fantastic location, being close to the equator. Navitas anticipates that the company will launch the satellites, looking for rare gases and metals on asteroids, in the next five years, and the actual production will happen in the next eight years (source: Bloomberg).
Mining the asteroids: 700 “zillions” of dollars in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter
The mineral wealth of the asteroid belt would be $ 100 billion for every person on Earth.
The asteroids are remnants from the early formation of the Solar system or debris from the destruction of the planet. Tens of thousands of asteroids orbit the Sun. In our solar system most asteroids are grouped inside the asteroid belt, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, where there are over 1 million asteroids, about 200 of which have a diameter of more than 60 miles (100 km). Almost all the asteroids are divided into three main categories (source NASA):
It is believed that the asteroid “3554 Amun” contains cobalt in amount of 6 trillion. U.S. dollars, as well as iron and Nickel in the amount of 8 trillion. USD. (Professor John S. Lewis, “Mining the Sky”, 1996)
NASA plans to explore the asteroid 16 Psyche at a cost of 10,000 dollars quadrillion or 10 quintillion dollars.
Asteroids contain water, which can be the key to getting to Mars and exploring deep space. Water is a precious commodity in space, given the potential difficulties of mining ice on Mars and/or the ability to bring an asteroid to Earth.
According to some estimates, the minerals of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter can cost 700 quintillion dollars, which is 100 billion US dollars for each of the 7 billion people on Earth according to current prices. John S. Lewis, author of “Mining the Sky”, claims that an asteroid with a diameter of 1 km will have a mass of about 2 billion tons. In the Solar system is probably about a million asteroids of this size. According to Lewis, one of those asteroid would contain 30 million tons of Nickel, 1.5 million tons of metal cobalt and 7,500 tons of platinum, and the cost of platinum alone is more than 150 billion U.S. dollars (source: Lewis, 1996, Biggs 2013, NASA).
However, mining asteroids is expensive. According to estimates NASA, today will require $ 1 billion. USA to bring “a tennis ball from the asteroid” (weight 58g). On the other hand, according to the Institute of space research Keck (KISS) at Caltech, one full cycle of capturing and moving an asteroid weighing about 1.1 million pounds (500,000 lbs) to lunar orbit by 2025 will cost about 2.6 billion U.S. dollars. The MIT study (Schuler, 2011) showed that the opening of the mine and processing plant could cost about 1 billion US dollars.
The potential cost of the asteroid belt. Source: Visual Capitalist
Planetary Resources is an American company, who said that their goal is “to expand the base of Earth’s natural resources” through the development and implementation of technologies for mining asteroids. It is supported by Peter Diamandis, James Cameron, Larry page, Eric Schmidt, Richard Branson and Tencent, along with other investors. The company is developing a program of Asteroid Exploration ready for launch by the end of 2020 and focused on several asteroids C-type, which are subjected to research different spacecraft. According to President Chris lewicki, the first mission should take place in 2020. Of Luxembourg, where the European headquarters of the company in 2016 has invested in planetary resources 28 million US dollars to conduct key research and development, and for international business to use asteroids for commercial purposes. He currently hires people willing to mine resources on asteroids across Europe (source: Planetary Resources).
Deep Space Industries
Deep Space Industries (DSI) is another American private company with global operations in the field of space technology and resources. The company is developing space technologies necessary for mining the asteroids and sells satellites that use these technologies. DSI expects space materials extracted from asteroids, commercially available in the early 2020-ies will include refueling in space, energy, processing of asteroids and manufacture products.
According to the document of the Artemis project, there are around 1,100,000 metric tons of lunar helium-3. To represent this number in perspective, only 25 tons of this material would be enough to power the entire country of the United States in the course of the year, while another 75 tons of helium-3 will be able at the same time to provide energy to the rest of the world.
How will the mining of asteroids
“The energy on Earth is limited. At least a few hundred years… all our heavy industry will be moved off-planet…. The land will be divided into areas of origin and areas of light industry. You don’t have to produce energy large power on Earth.” We can build a giant factory for the production of diamond chips(chip) in space”.
— Jeff Bezos
Space could become a tailwind for the participants of the Cleantech revolution in solar energy and storage batteries. NASA has invested in solid-state batteries and lithium sulfur (Li / S) for space exploration. Li battery / S have higher energy density, allowing the missile to the aircraft to travel long distances. They are also more durable because it can better cope with temperature fluctuations than batteries filled with liquid. This is very important in extreme temperatures in space.
The concept of SPS-ALPHA: deliver energy on-demand > 90% of the Land
The concept of delivering solar energy to Earth from space platforms has been around for several decades. However, it was proposed a new concept of solar power satellite (SPS) which eliminates many, if not all, of uncertainty: SPS-ALPHA (solar power satellite using phase array of arbitrary size) (source: John S. Mankins, NASA). If SPS-ALPHA can be developed, it will be possible to obtain solar energy in the range from 100 to 100 GW, which can be collected in space and effectively deliver on Land markets. It will also provide work with high power consumption in the solar system, transforming all aspects of public and commercial space. After the development of technologies and all kinds of demonstrations the concept of the SPS-ALPHA did not achieve commercial outcomes (e.g., less than 20% of per kW-h) the technologies that are currently used in the laboratory, and competitive commercial energy (e.g., less than 10% per kilowatt-hour) with selected improvements in key technologies (source: John S. Mankins, NASA).
Every hour the planet Earth is reaching a greater amount of solar energy than the amount of energy that people use in a year
— The U.S. Department of energy
About 30% of all incoming solar radiation never falls on Earth
— The U.S. Department of energy
Solar power satellites based on SPS-ALPHA can provide energy on demand more than 90% of the population in different parts of the globe
— NASA, John Mankins
SPS-ALPHA could provide a more rapid, efficient and affordable response to catastrophes and natural disasters, and will also have almost zero carbon footprint and will contribute to the achievement of goals to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
According to NASA, the roadmap for SPS-ALPHA looks software-controlled: gipermotornaya architecture should be able to do a quick, relatively inexpensive steps forward. The total cost of a scalable pilot unit satellite power of about 5 billion US dollars, and the cost of the first full-scale SPS is approximately 20 billion U.S. dollars.
These figures are significant, but much lower than the stated value of the ISS ($150 billion. USA) or earlier estimates of the 1980s years is about 1 trillion. $ . The United States to achieve the first SPS. NASA believes that advanced the concept of SPS-ALPHA is extremely promising and deserves consideration.
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