16 Psyche

May 17, 2022
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According to a report by Citi last week, it's worth around $10,000 Quadrillion - Space - The Dawn of a New Age (page 68). Interesting to see what asteroid mining could look like in there.

However to quote the report "...Our base case is that by 2040, mining water will be the initial focus given its value for additional space missions as a rocket propellant and importance for any colonization and industrial efforts in space."
 
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Apr 22, 2022
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According to a report by Citi last week, it's worth around $10,000 Quadrillion - Space - The Dawn of a New Age (page 68). Interesting to see what asteroid mining could look like in there.

However to quote the report "...Our base case is that by 2040, mining water will be the initial focus given its value for additional space missions as a rocket propellant and importance for any colonization and industrial efforts in space."
can we all appreciate how Cat responds to almost everyone with something that makes sense.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Thank you. Bruh. I do my best.

It is going to take 4 years even to get a small probe there, so how long would it take to set up a mining operation? Also, it is one thing to put a probe in orbit, or land a small probe; it is quite another to institute a functional mining operation.
Once again, I notice a glib acceptance of an awesome task, as if it were catching a local bus;
Nevertheless, I do commend any such exploratory efforts.

Cat :) :) :)
 
Jan 29, 2020
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I'd guess drilling or lasering a small hole and filling it with explosives, to open up an asteroid. There is also hammering a nail strategy, assuming a base can be secured in the near surface. I'm looking into mixing high melting temperature atoms and radiation resistance atoms into a sapphire lattice, for space structures. That doesn't deal with heat generated. Some sort of piping system inside the drill would be needed. The advantage of capturing NEO or near Mars object to local orbit is you can bring better equipment. I'm looking for 5% Al; I'd guess a near surface ore of 5% of whatever you want is economical if some basic materials are already being harvested in space (water, ice, a hydrogen bearing shielding material, nearly any space metal,carbon).
A 3x3x2m chamber in an asteroid for a forest. And 1x1x1 for insects. If you can melt a lid on the sapphire rooms, you can man the former and shield the bioexperiments from most radiation. Psyche would be better than something gravelly (unstable) or sooty (I assume irritating like Lunar dust) for this.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
"assuming a base can be secured in the near surface"
Please give specifics.
How long to get the "base" materials there?
How long before humans on surface (if necessary)?

How long do you think this might take in total?

Cat :)
 
Jan 29, 2020
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Sapphire requires oxygen. Easier is aluminum in situ. Foils ideally. I'm just learning of foils (high performance) in particle experiments. Maybe spacesuits could be made there for export. So I'd bring the sapphire hull. NASA would make explosives. There is a landform with 5 square yards of rock suitable for driving spikes into. NASA has perfected little explosives that drive the land legs's "toes" into the rock. The rock is a vein with something hard we drove the spikes into, and something softer like graphite or silica. A hammer is easier than a drill. We hammer a pic into the silicadeep enough to explode 12 cubic yards a hole. We move the lander and detonate. We assemble the sapphire hull. We figure out how to smelt or whatever method, the aluminum or whatever metal. We make a lid to keep out some radiation and meteorites/dust. Assemble the insect experiments or biome. They are longer term than satellites. They can be upgraded. The plant bubble should be a lab staffed a few times year, perhaps attracting tourists. I would try to manufacture something such as foil textiles or antennae.
12 years for sapphire able to be radiation shielding. Refractory atoms have to keep the radiation shielding atoms from diffusing much during thermal cycling and fires.
Heavy atom ion engines should be modellable. Magnetic metamaterials exist but haven't been used in space. Launch vibrations might shake them too much as presently made.
Scouting with GPR satellites years earlier. One unmanned mission to blow a hole and inspect it for near-surface ore. Then a manned mission to install a biohabitat and make an aluminum product with a sewing machine like device and a lid. Then leaving and a new mission to take habitat bio-samples and install the insect lab somewhere else on the asteroid or install a living quarters.
12 years till launch assuming already scouted an asteroid. The ion engines would be the hardest to do sooner as the performance environment is extreme. Ideally a hydrogen bearing shielding substrate is found anywhere for better radiation shielding.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
I am very interested in specifics. It is very easy to make glib comments like:
"We figure out how to smelt or whatever method, the aluminum or whatever metal."

How would you know whether there was any aluminium there?
How would you know which ore was present?
Would you have electrolytic cells with you?
How would you generate electricity?

How would you figure out what you would need?
Can you please run through the whole process in detail, explaining how you would actually carry out the production of aluminium, paying attention to the temperatures required?

I am a chemical engineer by profession, but assume you do not have a chemical engineer in your crew. After all, you will need a lot of specialists including a doctor, geologist, a chemist, an astrophysicist, a metallurgist, a biochemist, a nutritionist, and quite a few more.

Please be specific about what your first few landing party individuals would specialise in.

16 Psyche is now thought to have less metal than previously thought.
Psyche, the iron giant of asteroids, may be less iron than researchers thought | Brown University
What if you find no aluminium there?

BTW, do you have the ion engines ready?

Thank you in advance.

Cat :)
 
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Jan 29, 2020
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I mention the insects because you get things like Jurassic dragonflies in two decades. The praying mantis is the only intelligent one and it would clean out the terrarium in a year but it might be bred without teeth as a pet.
The lid is needed. I'd use a larger version of a ball and pestle mill to crush ore to pebbles. Then I'd melt the different materials with lasers at progressively higher temperatures. Once aluminum is fractioned out, I'd make the lid. It is just a thick satellite dish shaped rock, there might even be one suitable lying around.
The first mission would be a tour to GPR different asteroids "circling" above them, maybe 1m diameter. Then 2.5m GPR to one or two good ones. It is looking at the veins in between large bulky gabbro-like chunks. Whatever chemical or geological process that caused different chunks to form, tends on Earth to leave valuable minerals and elements trapped at the vein boundary. 2.5m could resolve such veins. Then it is time for a sample mission to look for whatever type of ore is there. I just suggested foils as it looks like an easy enough manufacturing target. Even if not a vacuum worthy suit component it could still be useful. Various carbon stuff can also be turned into products.
There are three spectroscopy methods (color of flame) if fire isn't an issue. I'm not sure what the Mars craft used. Anything you catch in a sieve can be laser melted and you can use it for something and get a good guess at what it is from its melt temperature. A gravimeter is another useful orbital tool to have if they are easy to make.
Mars solar panels will be there eventually. I'm thinking wind a flywheel or something. Perhaps the foil can form a solar reflector heating up something as a power-source, much as molten solar thermal plants were prototyped in the 1980s. A teeny forest is better in inert gas.
Maybe a two person crew. It is like Armeggedon but mostly putting Ikea furniture together down there rather than drill. I expect if you have a few nearby asteroid assets or a few on a good one, you increase the crew count and consider well manned projects like despinning asteroids. I'd imagine Cis-Lunar or Mars orbit takes care of much of the logistics if the NASA and SpaceX stations succeed. It is a lottery ticket whether there are metals in the belt, but lasers will melt most of them.
Heavier ions are more efficient. Have to pick that 1st. Existing joining of materials, say an insulator and a something else as antenna layers, use filler of weaker structural quality. A pin skewering layers is likely too simple here. I'm hoping dopants in pristine materials won't introduce cracks from compressive or tensile stress or other operating conditions. Basic modelling is not done here yet.
 
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Feb 7, 2022
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The idea of mining materials in space seems uneconomical to me, with 2 main exceptions:

1. We find deposits of elements that are extremely rare on Earth which have high value for making commercially viable products. In that case, actually returning the material to Earth's surface for use might be worthwhile.

2. Or, we use the mined materials to build things useful for other projects in space, so that we do not have to pay the costs of getting those materials off Earth's surface and through its atmosphere.

Clearly, it would be best to build lunar bases with as much lunar material as possible.

Maybe later, when mining, refining, milling and fabrication processes have been developed for airless and low or zero gravity environments, we can build large space stations and maybe even inter- stellar probes from materials obtained outside of Earth's gravity well, or at least in the upper reaches of the well, like on the moon.

I am sure that there are some people already thinking about finding a high-value asteroid and changing its orbit to bring it close to Earth and maybe into Earth orbit. But the potential for disaster is quite high for a screw-up when doing that. The liability insurance alone would probably be "astronomical".

Maybe a colony on Mars could be viable for deep space probe construction, given its proximity to the asteroid belt and the reduced gravity involved, not to mention that accidentally crashing a sizeable asteroid into Mars would not have anywhere near the repercussions of accidentally crashing one into any part of Earth.
 
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Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Unclear Engineer,
Thank you for that excellent summary.

Please excuse the antiquated image. I just thought it appropriate to question the transferability of local production into an extra-terrestrial context.

Imgur: The magic of the Internet

I find it, in general, quite glib to assume the 'automatic' conditions on Earth into an extra-terrestrial context.

Cat :)
 

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