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#126 2019-10-11 18:39:41

Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,449

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space


There's a treasure trove of super grade metal alloys, composites, and plastics in orbit around our planet, along with numerous solar arrays and rocket engines and fuels that can be repurposed or otherwise recycled.  It cost a fortune to put all that stuff up there over the decades, so there's no reason it shouldn't be recycled aboard ISS for future uses, rather than being permitted to uselessly burn up during reentry.  There's no reason that we shouldn't experiment with in-space construction techniques, as we'll need those materials later on to build true spaceships capable of routine interplanetary transits.  The tonnage of space-grade hardware that we've simply thrown away after a single use is truly staggering.  At the very least, we should have a mandate for pristine skies to observe any asteroids in Spaceship Earth's flight path.


#127 2019-10-12 03:30:41

From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,270

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

At the very least, we should gather it all together to use as counterweights for tethers.

"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney


#128 2019-10-12 06:14:44

Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 2,550

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

For kbd512 re #126 ....

My understanding is that each item that remains in orbit is the responsibility of the launching nation, and that capture of an object needs to be cleared with the launching nation.  That may not be a major problem for a salvage company, but it IS a consideration ... a detail ... that needs to be taken into account.

The Soviet Union launched many tons of mass into a variety of orbits, and since it does not exist I presume the Russians inherit responsibility (and security concerns).

The US put plenty of spy satellites and other vehicles into orbit, and they too may be touchy about someone corralling one of those objects.

It would be useful to know if there is an established contact point for objects in orbit, and (perhaps?) an established protocol for negotiating salvage rights?



#129 2019-10-18 05:22:01

Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 1,219

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Capturing things doing the very high speeds that orbiting stuff has to do is a difficult issue. You might harpoon the big items and put something like dry ice clouds in the way of very small stuff, so slowing and deorbiting the paint particles, but what about the intermediate items?
The spiders have developed a highly effective method of arresting large (relatively) flying objects using sticky threads with built in braking for deceleration. Perhaps we could develop something along these lines to capture errand spanners, nuts and bolts, microsats and similar sized objects.
We have learned how to capture rifle rounds so maybe there could be some mileage in developing Kevlar nets with titanium plates, maybe something similar to bullet proof vest construction.


#130 2019-10-18 18:51:29

From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,536

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Speed and mass makes for the danger of these pieces even from the small stuff pea size to large satelites dead in orbit. We have seen what happens with a piece of supercooled foam....these pieces of junk are a danger to all.


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