Meteorite Slice

Could we "mine" metal containing Asteroids for their resources/materials rather than the Earths?

I was watching a Tv doc about Asteroids.

They showed an Iron Ore Asteroid Meteorite sliced to reveal the inside.
I was impressed to find the slice of meteorite to be almost flawless ie no or very little gaps of holes. Indicating a high quality metal.

So this got me thinking; what other metal containing Asteroids could there b in space ?
ALUMINIUM ? Gold Silver Platinum. ????

If Asteroids containing these materials are floating in space could these -

-if the technology available to collect them was here -
be used for our ever increasing demand for metals/materials rather than plunder earths limited resources ?

Yes we could, it's been talked about for decades, see links for more details.

Metals available : gold, cobalt, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, osmium, palladium, platinum, rhenium, rhodium and ruthenium

A small asteriod will have approx. $20 trillion total worth. However, if you tried to sell them you would flood the market so get a lot less.

The problem is essentially that it would cost so much to get started that no company or government can justify the cost. It's like building a tunnel, it's worthless until it's completely built, and then you can start making money. The estimated cost of getting the first load home from the asteriod is hundreds of billions of dollars.

Problems :
1. Designing mining equipment that works in very low gravity and no atmosphere.

2. Getting the mining equipment into space.

3. Getting the mining equipment from Earth's orbit to the asteriod.

4. Setting it up and getting it working. Putting an astronaut on site would probably multiply costs by ten times, everything should be done by robots, which also need to be designed and built.

5. Getting the mined ore off the asteriod back to Earth's orbit.
On this point you may send refining equipment to the asteriod so you don't have to send the ore back, only the pure metal. However, see points 1 to 4, which then relate to the refining equipment as well.

6. Landing the stuff you sent back. We generally crash return modules into an ocean and then go collect them, because we can't accurately calculate where they'll land to within more than a hundred miles.

7. Fixing anything that goes wrong. Sending a human is about ten times as expensive as a robot, but again robots need to be designed and built.

I'm sure people can think of others, but it means you may spend $500 billion dollars over 20 years. And then you would make $20 trillion dollars over the next 20 years. But no-one has the $500 billion dollars for the initial investment.




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