Asteroid Mining

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Information about Asteroid Mining

Published on January 2, 2008

Author: Bernadette


Asteroid Mining:  Asteroid Mining Robert Dyck Ardeco Aerospace Profit:  Profit Money drives the economy Money represents use of resources, every investment must have positive return Government also invests in ventures that return profit Aerospace returns more tax dollars than NASA budget Colonization of space must be funded by near-term profit Commodities profitable now:  Commodities profitable now Terrestrial high value, scarce resources Low mass high value, worth transportation cost Precious metals, especially platinum group metals Plantinum required for fuel cells, cars will need them Resource usable in space now No transport cost, replaces current high launch cost Rocket fuel, satellite & spacecraft Not Lunar 3He, fusion reactor doesn’t exist and once invented will use deuterium from tap water. 3 point trade route:  3 point trade route Near Earth:  Near Earth 3439 known NEAs Many asteroids in main belt, and big, but too far. NEA less fuel round trip than the Moon M-type asteroid:  M-type asteroid Iron asteroids contain: Metal, crystalline iron-nickel alloy, not an oxide mineral. Up to 30% mineral inclusions, select one with 10% Often >90% iron 5-62% nickel Average: 88% Fe, 10 Ni, 0.5% Co Silver & gold follow iron PGM follow nickel Select high Ni for platinum Processing:  Processing Grind to consistency of iron filings Centrifuge, electromagnet remove while spinning Leave mineral inclusions behind Mond process, convert ferrous metals to vapour CO under pressure, ~200°C converts to carbonyl Decompose carbonyl into metal & CO with more heat Different temperature/pressure for Fe, Ni, Co Precious metal concentration:  Precious metal concentration example asteroid: 68% iron, 30% nickel, 0.5% cobalt Before removing ferrous metal: (ppm) Ru 21, Rh 3.9, Pd 15, Os 16, Ir 14,Pt 27, Ag 0.51, Au 0.48 After: (ppm) Ru 1400, Rh 260, Pd 1000, Os 1066, Ir 933, Pt 1800, Ag 33, Au 32 Concentrate in US measure: (troy ounces/ton) Pt 52.5, Au 0.93 concentrate much richer than richest ore on Earth Concentration easy to achieve. Industrial metals:  Industrial metals Boron Carbon Magnesium Aluminum Titanium Vanadium Chromium Manganese Copper Molybdenum Lead Transportation:  Transportation Reusable/refuelled unmanned freighter Drop precious metal bullion in inconel capsule Genesis demonstrated no soft landing system necessary Bullion refined anyway Maple seed shape autorotates C-type:  C-type Harvest water for LH2/LOX rocket fuel Harvest CO & H2 for Mond @ M-type asteroid Transport as dry ice & water ice Ignore the rest Spike on each leg to hold onto asteroid solid rocket to drive it in Drill for dirty water:  Drill for dirty water Pebbles embedded in clay, gypsum, salts, tar, and ice Drill with a hollow pipe just as oil rig. Once down, heat drill head to melt ice. Ice will sublimate to steam, but reform ice around sleeve. Pressure above 6.13 mbar will support liquid water. Hot water with mud will blow up pipe. Steam pressure pushes water, no pumps. Sleeve permits drillling deeper when dry. Solar panels power heater, drill motor, processing. Processing:  Processing Filter water with course, fine, ultrafine, and reverse osmosis Proton transport membrane electrolysis (reverse fuel cell) Semipermeable membrane passes H2, leaves water Cryo-pump gas, store liquid H2/O2 Pass mud to oven, burn with O2 gas decompose tar into CO2 & H2O Platinum catalyst ensures complete combustion Smipermeable membrane separates CO2 & H2O leave O2 and uncombusted hydrocarbons in oven Recycle H2O to electrolysis cell, freeze CO2 to dry ice Dump baked mud bricks on asteroid surface (tailings)

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