Author Topic: Planetary Resources  (Read 185098 times)

Offline Mongo62

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Planetary Resources
« on: 04/18/2012 05:29 PM »
From Technology Review

Are Ross Perot and Google's Founders Launching a New Asteroid Mining Operation? An impressive array of backers are behind the new firm Planetary Resources.

Quote
On Tuesday, a new company called Planetary Resources will announce its existence at the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery at The Museum of Flight in Seattle. It's not clear what the firm does, but its roster of backers incudes Google cofounders Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, filmmaker James Cameron, former Microsoftie (and space philanthropist) Charles Simonyi, and Ross frikkin' Perot.

According to the company's press release (below):

[...] the company will overlay two critical sectors – space exploration and natural resources – to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP. This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources’.

That sounds like asteroid mining. Because what else is there in space that we need here on earth? Certainly not a livable climate or a replacement for our dwindling supplies of oil.

Offline savuporo

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #1 on: 04/18/2012 05:47 PM »
Looking forward to it. Someone has finally noticed permanent.com
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #2 on: 04/18/2012 05:56 PM »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #3 on: 04/19/2012 04:30 PM »
There's already a thread for this: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28675.0

This discussion of a commercial venture for ISRU should be based in the Commercial Spaceflight General section, not the General section. All of the threads should be combined or directed to a thread in this section.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #4 on: 04/19/2012 08:17 PM »
There's already a thread for this: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28675.0

This discussion of a commercial venture for ISRU should be based in the Commercial Spaceflight General section, not the General section. All of the threads should be combined or directed to a thread in this section.
It's a live news topic, thus it should be in that section until sometime after the official announcement.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #5 on: 04/19/2012 08:28 PM »
There's already a thread for this: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28675.0

This discussion of a commercial venture for ISRU should be based in the Commercial Spaceflight General section, not the General section. All of the threads should be combined or directed to a thread in this section.
It's a live news topic, thus it should be in that section until sometime after the official announcement.

Ok, a merg of the threads after the 24 April announcment happens like what was done for strautolaunch.

Offline go4mars

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #6 on: 04/22/2012 08:13 PM »
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/google-execs-director-cameron-space-venture-005212432--sector.html

Linked on drudge now too. 

Never before have so many billionaires been putting their money into space tech outside of investment vehicles linked with communication and defence.

Interesting times!
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Offline dcporter

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #7 on: 04/24/2012 03:28 PM »
Cosmic Log article ahead of their unveiling today.  Mining is their goal but they're starting with "personal space telescopes".  Also James Cameron is on board as advisor but doesn't seem to have any skin in the game yet.

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/23/11339522-billionaire-backed-asteroid-mining-venture-starts-with-space-telescopes

Offline docmordrid

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #8 on: 04/24/2012 09:01 PM »
Maybe these would be the best first targets -

Paper....

http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/press-releases/minimoons/

Quote
Earth’s Other Moons
>
DM

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #9 on: 04/24/2012 10:19 PM »
Telescope data/images are a marketable item. So even if they cannot recoup all the costs of the telescope sats they can at least get some revenue from various sources while also using them to do the primary task of asteroid hunting. NASA may even pay them to do that too!

If NASA does not have to develop the sats or run the risks but can then contract for data delivery from a working orbiting telescope that could very well appeal to various NASA SMD scientists / astronomers.

Do we have Planetary Resources’ business roadmap (what sats and capabilities when)?

Offline sdsds

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #10 on: 04/25/2012 01:35 AM »
They seem a bit reserved about the "when," but they laid out a fairly straightforward roadmap for their spacecraft. As I understood it the 100 series is LEO-only; the 200 series will have sufficient propulsion to flyby a target asteroid as it passes near Earth; the 300 series will rendezvous and conduct prospecting tasks. There was also talk about the long term goal of returning material to cis-lunar space for processing.

Unlike the Keck study these folks seemed to downplay the idea of retrieving entire asteroids. Lewicki, who might be a clone of Nathan Fillion BTW, spoke with considerable excitement about one asteroid with known shape and rotational velocity (and its own moon!) where the speed of the surface at its equator is essentially orbital velocity. He seemed to imply obtaining material from this sort of asteroid would be relatively easy.

« Last Edit: 04/25/2012 01:36 AM by sdsds »
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Offline Garrett

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #11 on: 04/25/2012 08:14 AM »
... where the speed of the surface at its equator is essentially orbital velocity.
That's a quirky thing to try to picture in my head. A bit too early in the morning maybe, I should get some more coffee :P
I never thought about such a scenario as a possibility, but it seems quite cool. So if I'm understanding this right, an astronaut or robot that jumps a little bit off the asteroid at its equator ends up in a sort of geosynchronous orbit around that asteroid?
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Offline Blackjax

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #12 on: 04/25/2012 10:49 AM »
I'm reading this:

Quote
Planetary Resources, a billionaire-backed company that aims to mine asteroids for water and precious metals, says it will set the stage for this grand endeavor by building and launching a series of small, low-cost space telescopes, the first of which it intends to launch in 18-24 months.

 The space telescope will be based on the same design Planetary Resources will eventually use for its asteroid-prospecting spacecraft: a 30-kilogram to 50-kilogram flier packed with imaging sensors and a laser-optical communication system the company is developing to avoid encumbering its spacecraft with large antennas. The company, which says it has about two dozen employees, will market these spacecraft as cheap but effective telescopes for both astronomical and Earth-observing applications. Sales would provide cash for the company’s core work on asteroid mining, Eric Anderson, co-founder and co-chairman of Planetary Resources, said.

 The telescope slated for launch sometime in the next two years “would be something, let’s say, a university buys [for astronomical observations], or a commercial company that wants to monitor shipping traffic or something like that,” Anderson said in a phone interview. The cost for the telescope, which Planetary Resources is calling Arkyd-101, would be “millions of dollars, including launch.”

...and wondering if it could be used as part of a swarm based telescope as outlined here:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28037.msg862804#msg862804

You hear talk about imaging planets in other solar systems by using an array of small ones rather than a single big one, I wonder if the Arkyd line would be useable that way.  Anyone know?

Offline dcporter

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #13 on: 04/25/2012 02:33 PM »
... where the speed of the surface at its equator is essentially orbital velocity.
That's a quirky thing to try to picture in my head. A bit too early in the morning maybe, I should get some more coffee :P
I never thought about such a scenario as a possibility, but it seems quite cool. So if I'm understanding this right, an astronaut or robot that jumps a little bit off the asteroid at its equator ends up in a sort of geosynchronous orbit around that asteroid?

That's how I read that too. I'd think it would have to either be a bit *under* escape velocity or be a real sturdy asteroid as I'd think anything unsecured on the surface would simply escape.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #14 on: 04/25/2012 03:51 PM »
Interferometry is hard, requires very precise pointing and alignment. I.E. within a tenth of a micron.

Talking about these Arkyds as if they can do that sort of thing is like saying a machete can do the same thing as a needle.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline Danderman

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #15 on: 04/25/2012 05:23 PM »
A technical question about the 100 series:

According to the video, the spacecraft uses reaction wheels for pointing, and there is no chemical RCS (ie no thrusters). So, how does a spacecraft without propulsive thrusters de-saturate the reaction wheels?

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #16 on: 04/25/2012 05:25 PM »
A technical question about the 100 series:

According to the video, the spacecraft uses reaction wheels for pointing, and there is no chemical RCS (ie no thrusters). So, how does a spacecraft without propulsive thrusters de-saturate the reaction wheels?

Almost certainly magnetic torquers, like Hubble. (These are really common for cubesats and probably microsats as well.)
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Mongo62

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #17 on: 04/25/2012 05:26 PM »
Interferometry is hard, requires very precise pointing and alignment. I.E. within a tenth of a micron.

On the other hand, they sound like they would be excellent for extrasolar planet searches, especially if they can be lifted to higher Earth orbits.  Just pick a section of sky, and stare at it continually, looking for fluctuations in each star's brightness.  You would not expect to get Kepler's precision or sensitivity, but that's okay.  The more interesting extrasolar planets orbit the brighter stars anyways -- most of the planet discoveries made by Kepler are simply too faint to have any chance of follow-up observations by ground-based telescopes (and their attached spectroscopes).

Not to mention that the price of an individual Arkyd might be low enough that you could deploy a large swarm of them, each pointing in a different direction, for substantially less than the cost of a single Kepler-type mission, and end up discovering more planets (each capable of being followed up with ground observations, unlike most of the Kepler discoveries) than Kepler will find during its entire mission.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2012 05:27 PM by Mongo62 »

Offline Blackjax

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #18 on: 04/25/2012 05:50 PM »
A technical question about the 100 series:

According to the video, the spacecraft uses reaction wheels for pointing, and there is no chemical RCS (ie no thrusters). So, how does a spacecraft without propulsive thrusters de-saturate the reaction wheels?


Speaking of propulsion, is there any indication anyone has seen of what sort the 200 or 300 lines would use?  I am wondering if Boeing or someone will be getting a big order for there electric propulsion technology.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Planetary Resources
« Reply #19 on: 04/25/2012 05:59 PM »
A technical question about the 100 series:

According to the video, the spacecraft uses reaction wheels for pointing, and there is no chemical RCS (ie no thrusters). So, how does a spacecraft without propulsive thrusters de-saturate the reaction wheels?


Speaking of propulsion, is there any indication anyone has seen of what sort the 200 or 300 lines would use?  I am wondering if Boeing or someone will be getting a big order for there electric propulsion technology.
They have CGI of what they think they will look like, if you watched any of their videos. Remember, though, that even the 300 series won't be bringing back an asteroid.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

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