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Space Science Technology

New Asteroid Mining Company Emerges 148

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

    by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @07:01PM (#42662543) Homepage Journal
    How much do you know about Asteroid Mining? Not much. And neither do these guys, because nobody has tried it before and there are still more unknowns than knowns. What I do know is that 2015, two years from now, is a totally and completely unrealistic goal. They would have to have surveys of potential candidates already done, launch windows nailed down, hardware completed and ready to go, support staff trained and ready, mineral recovery solution built, etc... You would be hard pressed to open a mine on Earth in just two years time, and Earth mining doesn't have astronomical launch costs. A 2015 timeline tells me that these guys are either insane or a scam.
  • Re:Still Illegal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by runeghost ( 2509522 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @07:30PM (#42662803)

    This is a violation of International treaties and amounts to conspiracy to commit theft.

    This is a federal crime under US law.

    They're a corporation. You must not live in the U.S. or you'd know that laws don't apply to corporations unless they fail to pay their brib^H^H^H^H Freedom & Democracy Support Fees.

  • by tragedy ( 27079 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @07:55PM (#42663069)

    I'm fairly certain that, in microgravity, with my feet strapped down, I could take a 5000 kilogram dumbell sitting at my feet with my hands and lift it up over my head. I couldn't do it very quickly, due to inertia, and I would have to start working against my initial movements at about the halfway mark to stop it from yanking itself out of my hands (or yanking off my hands) at full extension.

  • Re:This is a joke. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cusco ( 717999 ) <brian@bixby.gmail@com> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @08:30PM (#42663475)
    I'm not sure 'wildly optimistic' is really valid. They're not planning to start mining in three years, they're going to launch a bunch of small, simple, slow, stupid spacecraft with a few sensors. (The summary says 'cubesat', which is a one liter 1.3 kilo cube, but it's wrong as usual.) These are probably less complex than the Mariner spacecraft, and the principles behind construction of the various components are well-understood. Yeah, it's rocket science, but we know a lot about building spacecraft now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @08:30PM (#42663479)
    Announcing vaporware gives you hope for the species? Grow the fuck up, chucklehead. Tell you what, bookmark this comment and read it again in 2015.
  • by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @07:13AM (#42667563)

    > the funding for this endeavor is a bit of a question mark

    Unless and until they discover an asteroid, in a favorable orbit, that has large deposits of rhodium, or palladium, or platinum, or gold. (Or even copper.)

    That will bring in the speculative investors.

    Once they demonstrate that they can bring these minerals back to earth at a profit, then they will have screaming investors climbing over one another to put up money for it.

    I was arguing years ago that we ought to be doing this. I'm TIRED of the whiny, "only one Earth and we're running out of resources" bullcrap. If they can make this work -- and I give them an even 50/50 chance -- it'll be as revolutionary as the invention of the wheel.

    If it was gold the 'speculators' would be paying you a fuckton of cash just to forget you ever saw it and destroy all record of it. Or, failing that, pay very expensive hit men to get rid of the asteroid prospectors.

    There could be enough gold come from asteroid mining to completely destroy its value. That would be hilarious and I'd love to see it happen, but the wealth of the gold cartels is, well, astronomical and they'd like to keep it that way.

3500 Calories = 1 Food Pound