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New Spectroscope Perfect For Asteroid Mining, Planetary Research (vanderbilt.edu) 56

Science_afficionado writes: Scientists at Fisk and Vanderbilt Universities are developing a new generation of gamma-ray spectroscope that is light weight, compact and don't require much power but have the capability for detecting veins of gold, platinum, rare earths and other valuable materials hidden within asteroids, comets, moons and other airless objects floating about the solar system. "A gamma-ray spectroscope records the intensity and wavelengths of the gamma rays coming from a surface. This spectrum can be analyzed to determine the concentration of a number of important, rock-forming elements ... The key to the new instrument is a recently discovered material, europium-doped strontium iodide (SrI2). This is a transparent crystal that can act as an extremely efficient gamma-ray detector. It registers the passage of gamma rays by giving off flashes of light that can be detected and recorded."
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New Spectroscope Perfect For Asteroid Mining, Planetary Research

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 22, 2015 @09:03AM (#50979749)

    Firstly, it is of course perfect for doing research, and for learning more about asteroids, comets, moons, etc.

    This is primarily about research, and I guess that the researchers had to show to the people who give the grant how this could one day make money - hence the story about asteroid mining. Media then pick up on the mining, and run with it.

    And then it comes to the grumpy old people here on this website, who will just comment negatively on anything that is not in their own direct personal interest. It's a pity to read that some here think that everything that does not advance our economy tomorrow is a waste of money.

  • When do we get to see the proof of concept?
  • they are creating an ore detector [wikia.com] ?
    We've got an early version of an assembler [wikipedia.org] in the works. now all we need are conveyors [wikia.com]. Anyone working on those?
  • Considering the presumed way that asteroids formed, it seems unlikely that veins of anything formed in them. The veins of precious and rare metals here on earth happened, primarily, as a result of our molten core. Asteroids, in general, lack such a hi-temp oven, or strong gravity, to allow metals to coagulate into veins. HOWEVER, the detector seems it'd be a great tool to have - in general. Go team go!

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