Author Topic: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About  (Read 33050 times)

Offline TrevorMonty

You have to enclose it and move it to the desired locations.  Both will be very, very tough.
If it is small then it is easier to move the asteroid than the equipment to do the mining and ore purification steps. Else don't move the asteroid but the plant to the asteroid do the mining ship the refined ore away and then just leave the husk of slag in same orbit as the original asteroid.

 The decision is one of [1.] costs. Is it cheaper to move the whole asteroid or the plant out to the asteroid[?] In either case you still use the same slag bag methods.
[2.] Just that for the small ones at a centralized location  colossally large slag bags that can be opened and closed where multiple small asteroids are processed/mined whose total slag then constructs more bags so even more asteroids can be mined at once.

[3.] As well as using some of it to make rotating sphere habitats out of the slag. A mining location could end being a very large colony with many "towns"/spheres housing 10s of thousands of persons at short distances.

First, that part I bolded?  You've got some grammatical thing going on, and I can't parse the meaning of your sentence.

1. "Costs"  I typically use the term "costs" in a loose fashion.  Costs could be money, time, delta-v and so forth, but yeah, mission trades are intended to find the least cost of a mission.

2. Well, you are viewing asteroids as acorns on the forest floor, where the "cost" [there's that term again] of picking them up and putting them in a bag is easy to do.  Think rather in terms that the acorns would be scattered many miles apart.

Quote from: NASA
The average distance between the asteroids would be about 100,000 miles

https://image.gsfc.nasa.gov/poetry/venus/a10537.html

A quick search didn't find an average asteroid size, but it is surely much more than average acorn size.  I'm guessing about
one acorn every square mile? Point being that collecting the "small ones at a centralized location" is a non-trivial task.

3. Unless one gets an iron asteroid, the mass of slag vastly exceeds the mass of the metals processed.   The amount of metal required to bag that slag, in the case of my ring station is a fraction of the mass/volume of the slag required.  Maybe I'll do that calc.

Fun video comparing asteroid sizes:


Shielding doesn't need to be attached to rotating body can be is stationary outer shell. This has two advantages, rotating structural load is considerably lower and out shell needs next to nothing in structural strength as there are no significant forces on it.

Mass of shielding material could exceed mass of rotating habitat.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #41 on: 11/25/2022 07:28 pm »
Shielding doesn't need to be attached to rotating body can be is stationary outer shell. This has two advantages, rotating structural load is considerably lower and out shell needs next to nothing in structural strength as there are no significant forces on it.

Mass of shielding material could exceed mass of rotating habitat.

The stationary outer shell has its own disadvantages.  It will need its own stationkeeping so as not to bump into the ring station.  Remember, EML1 is not stable and stationkeeping will be required and the ring station will have material and people moving around inside.  In addition, it will require its own structure to support itself.  Finally, it does not protect all the habitable areas.

Check out my design in the ring station thread.  As to the mass, a BOTE suggests that the station outweighs the regolith shielding by 1,000 to one.  Maybe more.
« Last Edit: 11/25/2022 07:28 pm by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #42 on: 11/25/2022 07:32 pm »

So I guess there really is no Space Mining problem no One is Talking About, and we might as well move on to more fruitful debates.

Even worse, that dang asteroid took out my station a few hours before taking out my planet.

On the plus side, I've been crushing on Liza Strike for years.

Edit, per instructions from the snappy comeback department:

On the plus side, I've been crushing on Clare Torry for years.

« Last Edit: 06/12/2023 06:00 pm by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline lamontagne

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #43 on: 11/25/2022 08:04 pm »

So I guess there really is no Space Mining problem no One is Talking About, and we might as well move on to more fruitful debates.

Even worse, that dang asteroid took out my station a few hours before taking out my planet.

On the plus side, I've been crushing on Liza Strike for years.
It's in EML-1, you really are an unlucky guy, should have survived.  And that's why I'm moving to Mars, thank you very much.

Offline Lampyridae

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #44 on: 05/31/2023 09:31 am »
Taxes on profits are partly what allow the benefits of mining to be shared.

A number of small nations earn quite a handsome incoming on shipping because they have favourable flagging rules. So many ships are flagged in Liberia. (Checking:) Yes, one third of the world's shipping tonnage is flagged by this tiny little African nation. 4311 ships, according to this: https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/field/merchant-marine/
« Last Edit: 05/31/2023 09:31 am by Lampyridae »

Online Robotbeat

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #45 on: 06/03/2023 06:15 am »
Taxes on profits are partly what allow the benefits of mining to be shared.

A number of small nations earn quite a handsome incoming on shipping because they have favourable flagging rules. So many ships are flagged in Liberia. (Checking:) Yes, one third of the world's shipping tonnage is flagged by this tiny little African nation. 4311 ships, according to this: https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/field/merchant-marine/
Unless you’re actually gonna launch rockets from those nations, it won’t work the same way. And launching rockets from them is gonna be pretty tough due to export restrictions.
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 Twark_Main

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #46 on: 07/10/2023 07:39 pm »
Isn't the stereotypical response something something platinum group metals...

Well, that and crack cocaine.

  Elon Musk is on record saying that  pure crack cocaine in LEO would not be commercially retrievable.

[I'm 2L2L Elon's actual statement, but this is a commonly held view that he really said this.]

Elon definitely said this, back in 2014.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150822234427/http://shitelonsays.com/transcript/elon-musk-at-mits-aeroastro-centennial-part-5-of-6-2014-10-24



A couple extracts from the contemporaneous NSF thread:

That completely contradicts what he said earlier about one-way trips:

Quote from: Elon Musk
I think it ends up being a moot point because you want to bring the spaceship back. These spaceships are expensive, okay, they're hard to build. You can't just leave them there. So whether or not people want to come back or not, is kind of - like, they can just jump on if they want, but we need the spaceship back.

If colonists can just jump on, why can't they pack the return vehicle with goods? If you were on Mars and you had the choice of sending the vehicle back empty, because no-one wanted to leave this week, or with goods that will let you buy stuff on Earth wouldn't you be packing the ship with everything you could find? The cost of transport is essentially zero because the ship was going back anyway. That's exactly the argument he just made for why one-way trips are a moot point, why is it suddenly invalid now that mining is the question?

Regarding the crack cocaine answer: Elon just wants to avoid the impression that we are going to mars to strip mine it of its valuable resources because we have "used up" earth. Which is of course silly, but would probably be the main criticism of the mars colonisation effort by environmentalists.

From the last interview on aeon it seems that Elon is very much aware of the danger from radical environmentalists: Not everyone loves humanity. Either explicitly or implicitly, some people seem to think that humans are a blight on the Earth’s surface.. So he wants to bring the sane environmentalists on board by emphasising the "backup the biosphere" narrative.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2023 07:46 pm by Twark_Main »

Offline Pipcard

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #47 on: 10/02/2023 03:05 am »
"Space mining/settlement only leads to wealth inequality" is a trope of dystopian sci-fi such as The Expanse (which I feel there is an oversaturation of), and a product of zero-sum thinking.

A video from Kurzgesagt promoting asteroid mining as an alternative to environment-damaging resource extraction on Earth got some backlash from a certain crowd of anti-capitalist environmentalists who believe the extraction itself is unethical (even when there is no native life to harm), or that the technology is impossible, and would prefer something called "degrowth," or reducing consumption to stay within "planetary boundaries."

Degrowth supporters claim that standards of living in the developed world "would require multiple Earths (of resources)" to be sustainable, citing statistics by the Global Footprint Network. However, the GFN's examples of '1-Earth living' tend to be countries where the majority live in abject poverty.

https://twitter.com/Kurz_Gesagt/status/1705598028495696111/
« Last Edit: 10/02/2023 03:29 am by Pipcard »

Offline Twark_Main

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #48 on: 10/02/2023 05:00 am »
\However, the GFN's examples of '1-Earth living' tend to be countries where the majority live in abject poverty.

This is more a statement about how "poverty" is defined (and who benefits from that definition) instead of a statement about these countries.

If a nation has 100% sustainability with everyone growing their local food and supplying their own humanitarian needs efficiently using local resources....  the banking/financial world would define that as "poverty," because all they care about is GDP. GDP only measures the quantity of mercantile trade, not the level of happiness or sustainability.


The ultimate aim is to iterate toward a society that doesn't self-destruct in the absence of exponential growth. Even space colonization doesn't provide exponential growth in resources, so ultimately space travel can't solve the fundamental economic problem of obligatory non-zero growth.

Offline lamontagne

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #49 on: 10/02/2023 05:29 am »
People just don't understand mining and resource availability.   
There's nothing wrong with degrowth.  Just reducing thermal waste woud degrowth our planetary resource usage by about 60%. Recycling also reduces the use of prime materials.  Most lead, more and more steel and a lot of 'our' aluminum is recycled.
I am not a great fan of mining space to return to Earth.  Probably 99% of what we mine is rock, glass precursors, steel ore, aluminum ore and fertilizers anyway. Plus coal, oil and gas. None of those will ever come from space. 
Mining space to be used in space, yes.

Smaller houses and cars would go a long way in reducing resource utilization with no real impapct on the standard of living.

Offline lamontagne

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #50 on: 10/02/2023 05:36 am »
A single gold deposit in Northern Quebec, at Malartic, has probably delived more gold than space mining will ever do.  Literally billions of dollars per year.
The most common aluminum smelter at 250 000 tonnes per year, sell 300 millions dollars a year of aluminum.  There are hundreds of these on Earth.  At 68 millions tonnes per year, aluminum is a 88 billion per year dollars market.  And that's primary aluminum.  It's not products yet. 
Space mining is a niche, and probably not a very valuable one at that.

Offline Pipcard

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #51 on: 10/02/2023 04:39 pm »
The degrowth movement would probably cancel the entire space program (and the aerospace industry, or even all industries including agriculture that feeds billions of people) if it got into power. More moderate versions would at most allow only occasional Earth observation and communications satellites while deeming everything else unnecessary.

https://twitter.com/ClimateBen/status/1663983360887144465
« Last Edit: 10/02/2023 08:13 pm by Pipcard »

Offline lamontagne

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #52 on: 10/02/2023 04:45 pm »
The degrowth movement would probably cancel the entire space program if it got into power. Or at most allow only Earth observation and communications satellites while deeming everything else unnecessary.


Oh, I fully expect that many people in the degrowth movement would be happy to be rid of humans altogether.
But that doesn't mean that some elements don't have merit.
I see degrowth as another kind of conservatism.  It is the conservation movement, after all.  What could be more conservative than that?
« Last Edit: 10/02/2023 04:45 pm by lamontagne »

Offline Pipcard

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #53 on: 10/02/2023 08:15 pm »
The degrowth movement would probably cancel the entire space program if it got into power. Or at most allow only Earth observation and communications satellites while deeming everything else unnecessary.


Oh, I fully expect that many people in the degrowth movement would be happy to be rid of humans altogether.
But that doesn't mean that some elements don't have merit.
I see degrowth as another kind of conservatism.  It is the conservation movement, after all.  What could be more conservative than that?
Degrowth goes farther than mere conservation. It wouldn’t just say asteroid mining is unnecessary, but all spaceflight. It could ban all forms of transport faster than a horse and buggy.

https://twitter.com/JeffAndDonkeys/status/1598478030250426368

https://twitter.com/JeffAndDonkeys/status/1623844092361814018

Offline Twark_Main

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #54 on: 10/03/2023 05:07 am »
The degrowth movement would probably...

Degrowth goes farther than mere conservation. It wouldn’t just say...

Let's not put words in an entire group of people's mouths based on one tweet.

The tweet in question doesn't even propose that we should abolish rockets. It merely points out the fact (which should be highly uncontroversial) that we don't need rockets in the same way we need a functioning ecosystem.


We should distinguish between (for lack of a better term) Strong Degrowth and Weak Degrowth. Strong Degrowth is indistinguishable from knee-jerk Luddite-ism, and is rightly scorned. This is what you decry on Twitter, and I agree with you 100%.

Weak Degrowth, however, is merely the unavoidable observation that we need to design an economy that doesn't depend on exponential growth, because even space colonization (with its wimpy t3 scaling, ie a future light cone expanding at c in all directions instantly developing all resources it touches) is still mathematically incapable of providing enough resources to "feed" an exponentially-growing system (with its tN scaling  :o ).

I consider myself an advocate of Weak Degrowth. Strong Degrowth is indeed absurd, and we shouldn't waste any off-topic discussion on such a silly notion IMO.
« Last Edit: 10/03/2023 05:31 am by Twark_Main »

Offline ZachF

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #55 on: 11/26/2023 03:42 pm »
Nah, degrowth is trash.

It’s mostly a way for rich trust funders to greenwash pulling the ladders up behind them.
« Last Edit: 11/26/2023 06:27 pm by ZachF »
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Offline lamontagne

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #56 on: 12/12/2023 03:48 pm »
The degrowth movement would probably...

Degrowth goes farther than mere conservation. It wouldn’t just say...

Let's not put words in an entire group of people's mouths based on one tweet.

The tweet in question doesn't even propose that we should abolish rockets. It merely points out the fact (which should be highly uncontroversial) that we don't need rockets in the same way we need a functioning ecosystem.


We should distinguish between (for lack of a better term) Strong Degrowth and Weak Degrowth. Strong Degrowth is indistinguishable from knee-jerk Luddite-ism, and is rightly scorned. This is what you decry on Twitter, and I agree with you 100%.

Weak Degrowth, however, is merely the unavoidable observation that we need to design an economy that doesn't depend on exponential growth, because even space colonization (with its wimpy t3 scaling, ie a future light cone expanding at c in all directions instantly developing all resources it touches) is still mathematically incapable of providing enough resources to "feed" an exponentially-growing system (with its tN scaling  :o ).

I consider myself an advocate of Weak Degrowth. Strong Degrowth is indeed absurd, and we shouldn't waste any off-topic discussion on such a silly notion IMO.
I have become enamored of the logistic function, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logistic_function, that seems to me a much better model for understanding future expansion into space.
Exponential growth seems to be a fallacy, over time.  Systems rather follow the logistic function, that I see as a kind of punctuated equilibrium.  Yes there are exponential growth phases, but overall growth is resource limited, and living systems naturally optimize towards the best possible use of available resources, rather than super high growth followed by catastrophe.
Not that it doesn't happen, just that it's not the most likely outcome.
Verhulst provided some nice proofs, and as the function has been discovered again and again, it seems like a good model for many things.

Birth control and recycling seem like simple solutions to the growth problem, and are already happening.  I see this as a standard control problem with initial overcompensation that provides feedback to adjust the system


 

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #57 on: 12/16/2023 02:16 pm »
I'd be inclined to agree with Twark's suggestion of "Weak Degrowth" 

I've often advised to walk gently on the planet.  Exponential, unrestrained growth is a cancer.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Ciber

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #58 on: 01/16/2024 01:56 pm »
"Degrowth" is a philosophy fundamentally opposed to the idea of doing stuff in space. As such, continued discussion of the subject has no place in a thread who's topic is synonymous with "how should we do stuff in space".

Offline lamontagne

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Re: The Problems With Space Mining No One Is Talking About
« Reply #59 on: 01/16/2024 02:06 pm »
"Degrowth" is a philosophy fundamentally opposed to the idea of doing stuff in space. As such, continued discussion of the subject has no place in a thread who's topic is synonymous with "how should we do stuff in space".
Degrowth is a very general term.  It would be better to present a case on how space exploration can continue with degrowth, rather than ignoring it.

It's pretty simple to share in the wealth of space mining:  Buy shares in the company, or encourage your pension fund to buy shares or even your government.
What, you say, there are no shares available?  Perhaps it's because the risk is really high, or the perceived payback very low.  Likely both.

Degrowth is unavoidable if population starts going down.  It's not necessarily a philosophy (although it is to some) but a very likely outcome of the next few decades.  However, it doesn't mean to all people who study degrowth that this means we must all live in poverty and misery.  I expect it's even possible to have degrowth in population, but growth in wealth.

 

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