Author Topic: Asteroid Mining Architectures  (Read 24570 times)

Offline LMT

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Re: Asteroid Mining Architectures
« Reply #60 on: 10/10/2022 08:57 pm »
...Fe-rich asteroids are a particularly bad example to choose if one was making the case for asteroid mining and export (because Earth/Mars have iron in abundance).

...eventually - will be able to export some of the most valuable mined products...

What are highly siderophile elements?

Current prices?

Really…? Okay. You win.

You created the "Exodus financial model".  You can spreadsheet space-commerce ROI and breakeven, CEO Mike.

Years of asteroid posts, but now, no numbers?  What's the story there?

Offline mikelepage

Re: Asteroid Mining Architectures
« Reply #61 on: 10/11/2022 10:36 am »
I'm remembering why I stopped responding to LMT the first time, but for anyone wondering, I'm just going to leave this here.
https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/b2wu1d/eli5_what_does_it_mean_to_argue_in_bad_faith/

If anyone actually wants to talk about asteroid mining architectures, I'll be around.

Offline LMT

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Re: Asteroid Mining Architectures
« Reply #62 on: 10/11/2022 01:22 pm »
...Fe-rich asteroids are a particularly bad example to choose if one was making the case for asteroid mining and export (because Earth/Mars have iron in abundance).

...eventually - will be able to export some of the most valuable mined products...

What are highly siderophile elements?

Current prices?

Really…? Okay. You win.

You created the "Exodus financial model".  You can spreadsheet space-commerce ROI and breakeven, CEO Mike.

Years of asteroid posts, but now, no numbers?  What's the story there?

I'm remembering why I stopped responding to LMT the first time, but for anyone wondering, I'm just going to leave this here.
https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/b2wu1d/eli5_what_does_it_mean_to_argue_in_bad_faith/

If anyone actually wants to talk about asteroid mining architectures, I'll be around.

That's a transparent economic admission, but your architecture may be worse off than your economics and astrodynamics.  Robots fabricating pressurized tunnel-habs from and within microgravity debris are not mechanically plausible, or needed.  Polymer can give a reliable pressurized hab by itself.  There's no need to risk the production mysteries, mechanical strength variability, and hazard of gritty polymer "bricks".  Also, a meter of water gives cosmic-ray protection for year+ hab transits; no need for rocky mess there, either.  Explore efficient mining and distribution of water outside of gravity wells.
 
...asteroids are rubble piles and the tunnel has to have both strength and rigidity for this to work, but there's upside if you combine this tunnel construction effort with asteroid mining: ...combine the regolith with a polymer substrate to make bricks of a substance very similar to concrete (has already been done with Lunar regolith).

Step 1) An autonomous tunnelling machine + solar array/power craft to arrive at the asteroid. I envisage this as a pair of craft, connected by a detachable power umbilical.
Step 2) After the asteroid has been characterised, the pair take a circuit around the outside of the asteroid, where the tunnelling machine makes a number of radial bore holes down to the planned tunnel "depth".
Step 3) The tunnelling machine then creates the toroidal tunnel itself, harvesting water and other elements of value, reinforcing the walls of the tunnel with "regocrete" bricks, all while detaching and reattaching the power umbilical as necessary.
Step 4) Humans arrive with extra equipment to add value to the mined materials and reinforce the tunnels, since the "regocrete" would need bolstering by steel cables. Effectively the entire structure is a suspension bridge wrapped over on itself, so you would have some cables going through the centre of the asteroid too.
Step 5) Human habitat modules - hosting the crew doing the work - are moved into the tunnel itself.
Step 6) Train tests, at low speed, for low G. The habitat modules are probably already part of a spin-G habitat, so they are already designed to be part of a spin G station.
« Last Edit: 10/11/2022 01:34 pm by LMT »

Offline mikelepage

Re: Asteroid Mining Architectures
« Reply #63 on: 10/13/2022 10:35 am »
Robots fabricating pressurized tunnel-habs from and within microgravity debris are not mechanically plausible, or needed.  Polymer can give a reliable pressurized hab by itself.  There's no need to risk the production mysteries, mechanical strength variability, and hazard of gritty polymer "bricks".  Also, a meter of water gives cosmic-ray protection for year+ hab transits; no need for rocky mess there, either.  Explore efficient mining and distribution of water outside of gravity wells.

If you'd responded with this upthread, I might have responded differently. You're still making an art-form out of rudeness, condescension and putting words in my mouth, but at least you're actually responding to the core thrust of my proposal this time. Note that I never said anything about pressurising the tunnel itself, and this would have been obvious if you were reading to understand, rather than to criticise. I proposed having pressurised "train car" modules moving within the tunnel to produce spin-gravity. This would require some structural reinforcement of the tunnel in the same way that railway sleepers stabilise rails, and creating "bricks" out of asteroid regolith would be one way to use the majority of waste material from the mining process.   

The tunnel itself needn't be much below the surface of the asteroid, and could even come above the surface in some spots if the topology of the asteroid worked out that way - the point is that mining implies the harvesting of asteroid material, so you might as well do that in a way that will yield other benefits - like the ability to produce spin gravity. When you have enough of these train cars, they can link nose-to-tail to handle the hoop stresses of higher speeds/greater acceleration.

Years of asteroid posts, but now, no numbers?  What's the story there?

Asteroid mining is not Exodus's business. It's as much a science fiction concept as terraforming Mars is. It would be silly to try and make an actual business case out of either. It can be fun to imagine and discuss how these things might progress in a qualitative sense, among those of us who are educated enough on the necessary concepts to brainstorm these ideas without taking it too seriously, but if it isn't fun, then I'm not going to respond (duh). Needless to say, I don't try to get feedback on Exodus core IP on an internet forum, because it's inimical to the point of the forum to put something up for discussion when the proposer can't discuss key parts of it.

Speaking of which, I had to go check out your Lake Matthew 2036 thread again (imagine my surprise at finding it locked), because you clearly believe your "proprietary unobvious (sic) method" of shifting asteroids around is far more effective than anything I've proposed. One might imagine you'd be promoting it for a wide range of different applications if it actually worked. Why start with the hard task (moving a main-belt asteroid for the purpose of Mars terraforming) when you could become the go-to method for planetary defence? If you can hit Mars with a redirected asteroid, then it's also plausible to set up the regular rendezvouses I was talking about, that would take asteroid mining closer to being economical.

As I was reading through the Lake Matthew thread again (in the context of the recent DART mission), I had a connect-the-dots moment and wondered if maybe your "proprietary plan" is to maneuver your targeted asteroid into Phobos, causing Phobos itself to deorbit a few million years early and create the new crater. In which case... COOL! But also... why on Earth would you think it's a good idea to keep that a secret? You could have had a legion of supporters on this site and beyond. You'd still have a snowflakes chance in hell of getting it done, but at least you wouldn't have antagonised a good portion of the NSF forum users.

Anyway Gary, It got me curious if you've made any actual progress on the Lake Matthew concept in the last 6 years? You know, investors, customers, hardware, or a team? Of course, three chapters in a book isn't nothing, but at RRP $275 (!), it seems as though you don't much care if it is read or not. Hopefully you're a bit more forthcoming in the book than you have been on this forum, but as you seem to have internalised some terrible advice about the relative pros and cons of being cagey about your ideas, I can't imagine why you would be.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Asteroid Mining Architectures
« Reply #64 on: 11/24/2022 02:51 pm »
I'd note that I think those plots of Fe-rich asteroids are a particularly bad example to choose if one was making the case for asteroid mining and export...

I broadly agree, but here's my question:  Got any Fe-rich asteroids that you don't need?

I'm trying to "build" a huge ring station over on another thread.  The main structure, not yet finalized, will use millions of tons of 316L steel, as currently envisioned.  One of my contacts at TransAstra is of the opinion that mining the NEA's for volatiles for use as propellant will be a profitable enterprise in the foreseeable future, where many flights between the cis-lunar space and Mars become common. 

If asteroids can be mined for metals using some variant of the STR asteroid bag methodology, they will also leave behind huge blobs of slag. 

Will these slag blobs accrete naturally?  We donb't have to worry about it yet, but at what point will asteroid waste become a flight hazard?

The other question is: how does one cast large Fe-rich structures in space, using Solar Thermal technology?
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Asteroid Mining Architectures
« Reply #65 on: 11/24/2022 03:58 pm »
ECOCEL

a database for the aspiring asteroid miner

Dead link as of 11-24-22
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Asteroid Mining Architectures
« Reply #66 on: 11/24/2022 04:21 pm »
[

The other question is: how does one cast large Fe-rich structures in space, using Solar Thermal technology?


Vapor deposition.  The other alternative is make wire feed stock for 3D printers.
Two books worth a read on asteriod mining.
Mining the Sky by John Lewis. Non Fiction.
Delta V by Daniel Suarez. Sci Fi.

Edit also checkout Mond Process can be used on other metals beside Nickel. Electrostatic Separator (works best in zero G).

Space provides high vacuum, zero G and extreme temperature ranges for free. All of which are very useful for these processes.
« Last Edit: 11/24/2022 04:47 pm by TrevorMonty »

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Asteroid Mining Architectures
« Reply #67 on: 11/24/2022 06:19 pm »
How does one cast large Fe-rich structures in space, using Solar Thermal technology?

1. Vapor deposition. 

2. The other alternative is make wire feed stock for 3D printers.

3. Checkout Mond Process can be used on other metals beside Nickel.

4. Electrostatic Separator (works best in zero G).

Space provides high vacuum, zero G and extreme temperature ranges for free. All of which are very useful for these processes.

1 & 2 require high temperatures, just like casting does.  My 3D printer guy tells me that 3D printing is very slow in space.  He had done a BOTE for the tension ring structure I proposed for a ring station; he guessed it would take 8 years to print it here on Earth, if one could imagine printing pieces that large.  He suggested casting in a large rotating mold of refractory material.

3. A cursory look at the Mond Process suggests it's for Nickel only.

4. A quick look at Electrostatic Separation suggests it could be a way to get the Fe out of ilmenite, which is found on the Moon in good quantities.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/electrostatic-separation

If anybody's working on in-space metals refinement and foundries, they are way below the radar.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline lamontagne

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Re: Asteroid Mining Architectures
« Reply #68 on: 11/25/2022 03:38 pm »
How does one cast large Fe-rich structures in space, using Solar Thermal technology?

1. Vapor deposition. 

2. The other alternative is make wire feed stock for 3D printers.

3. Checkout Mond Process can be used on other metals beside Nickel.

4. Electrostatic Separator (works best in zero G).

Space provides high vacuum, zero G and extreme temperature ranges for free. All of which are very useful for these processes.

1 & 2 require high temperatures, just like casting does.  My 3D printer guy tells me that 3D printing is very slow in space.  He had done a BOTE for the tension ring structure I proposed for a ring station; he guessed it would take 8 years to print it here on Earth, if one could imagine printing pieces that large.  He suggested casting in a large rotating mold of refractory material.

3. A cursory look at the Mond Process suggests it's for Nickel only.

4. A quick look at Electrostatic Separation suggests it could be a way to get the Fe out of ilmenite, which is found on the Moon in good quantities.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/electrostatic-separation

If anybody's working on in-space metals refinement and foundries, they are way below the radar.
There was some work done for the Moon.  As far as I know, there is Philip Metzger and Alex Ellery that are working on this type of question.

Quite a bit of work was done Earlier by Frietas. There is a lot of material here:
http://www.rfreitas.com/

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Asteroid Mining Architectures
« Reply #69 on: 11/25/2022 04:10 pm »

The other question is: how does one cast large Fe-rich structures in space, using Solar Thermal technology?
"large Fe-rich structures' are usually steel, not cast iron. Large steel elements are usually forged, not cast. This implies that quite a few industrial processes will need to be adapted for the space environment. Other large steel structures are welded starting from sheet steel: look at Starship as an example. Creating sheet steel is a multi-step process that will also need to be adapted for the space environment.

Offline lamontagne

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Re: Asteroid Mining Architectures
« Reply #70 on: 11/25/2022 05:36 pm »
I'm in the 'enrich is place' camp.  Moving slag from the asteroids seems costly in deltaV versus moving it from the Moon's surface for most construction projects.  And it can always be re-used later when the belt is settled, it doesn't go away.

Most interesting minerals are in PPM or small % concentrations,  Minerals required in larger concentrations are readily available from the Moon, except for carbon and lithium, perhaps.

Psyche might be the exception, and I am really looking forwards to that mission.  https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/psyche

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Asteroid Mining Architectures
« Reply #71 on: 11/25/2022 10:54 pm »

The other question is: how does one cast large Fe-rich structures in space, using Solar Thermal technology?
"large Fe-rich structures' are usually steel, not cast iron. ...

You've overlooked that I have been proposing 316L, which is "Fe rich".   So... How do you propose casting the sections?
« Last Edit: 11/25/2022 10:54 pm by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Asteroid Mining Architectures
« Reply #72 on: 11/25/2022 10:56 pm »
I'm in the 'enrich is place' camp.  Moving slag from the asteroids seems costly in deltaV versus moving it from the Moon's surface for most construction projects.  And it can always be re-used later when the belt is settled, it doesn't go away.

Most interesting minerals are in PPM or small % concentrations,  Minerals required in larger concentrations are readily available from the Moon, except for carbon and lithium, perhaps.

Psyche might be the exception, and I am really looking forwards to that mission.  https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/psyche

I'm currently leaning toward the "leave the slag in the bag" architecture. Move your feedstock only.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

 

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