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Space Science Technology

New Asteroid Mining Company Emerges 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-challenger-appears dept.
coondoggie writes "A new company intends by 2015 to send a fleet of tiny satellites to mine passing asteroids for high-value metals. Deep Space Industries Inc.'s asteroid mining proposal begins in 2015, when the company plans to send out a squadron of 55lb cubesats, called Fireflies, that will explore near-Earth space for two to six months looking for target asteroids. The company's CEO said, 'Using resources harvested in space is the only way to afford permanent space development. More than 900 new asteroids that pass near Earth are discovered every year. They can be like the Iron Range of Minnesota was for the Detroit car industry last century — a key resource located near where it was needed. In this case, metals and fuel from asteroids can expand the in-space industries of this century. That is our strategy.'"
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New Asteroid Mining Company Emerges

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  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @07:04PM (#42662571) Homepage Journal

    The cubesats are to explore, not mine. First you need to find likely targets. If you bothered reading the article you'd see they will be using slightly larger vehicles to bring back small payloads.

  • Re:This is a joke. (Score:5, Informative)

    by LordLucless (582312) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @07:05PM (#42662597)

    As usual, Slashdot summary is wrong. They're not starting mining in 2015, they're sending out their "scout" sats to find potential candidates. You'll find that information in the second sentence, neatly contradicting the first sentence.

  • Re:This is a joke. (Score:5, Informative)

    by LordLucless (582312) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @07:27PM (#42662777)

    No, now you're being deliberately wrong. They plan to send out scouts (Fireflies) in 2015. In 2016 they plan to bring back very light samples (Dragonflies). They don't even give an estimated time to begin production mining (Harvesters).

    Deep Space Industries asteroid mining proposal begins in 2015 when the company plans to send out a squadron of 55lb cubesats called Fireflies that will explore near-Earth space for two to six months looking for target asteroids

    Then in 2016, Deep Space said it will begin launching 70-lb DragonFlies for round-trip visits that bring back samples. The DragonFly expeditions will take two to four years, depending on the target, and will return 60 to 150 lbs of asteroid materiel. ...

    A much larger spacecraft known as a Harvestor-class machine could "return thousands of tons per year, producing water, propellant, metals, building materials and shielding for everything we do in space in decades to come.

  • by Fubari (196373) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @07:54PM (#42663053)
    This is hugely cool, it gives me hope for our species' future. I hope they're wildly successful.

    Also cool was this blurb near the end of the article on zero-g 3D Printing

    Deep Space's construction activities will be aided by a patent-pending 3D printer called the MicroGravity Foundry, officials said. "The MicroGravity Foundry is the first 3D printer that creates high-density, high-strength metal components even in zero gravity," company co-founder and MicroGravity Foundry inventor Stephen Covey said in a statement. "Other metal 3D printers sinter powdered metal, which requires a gravity field and leaves a porous structure, or they use low-melting point metals with less strength."

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