Stargazing Elon Musk Is Mining A Golden Asteroid Worth $700 Quintillion

Wolfshadw

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Apr 1, 2020
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See, now I always thought that the value of a precious metal was based on it's scarcity. If you dump that much gold into the global market is it really still worth that much?

Also, what are it's uses in science (I know there are some), so if it becomes a plentiful element, what are the benefits?

-Wolf sends
 
Dec 29, 2019
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What golden asteroid? A few parts per million does not make a golden asteroid, not even when the asteroid masses gigatons There won't be seams or nuggets of gold - it is almost certainly going to be well mixed and alloyed in nickel-iron, because of the way metallic asteroids were formed.

I think using such resources purely for space purposes effectively prevents asteroid mining from becoming economically viable. Any great expansion into space will happen because Earth invests in it - Earth being rich in ways no asteroid can match and the only source of all the technologies needed, most of which require ongoing development to exist at all.

Barring a few stand out exceptions, Earth investors won't invest unless there is going to be a financial return, to them, on Earth; promoting Space as the Promised Land might do for Elon but it is not going to do it for the big banks and big miners. Or me. Without viable return trade in commodities with Earth - space colonists attempting to go it alone - the essential umbilical cord that is needed for asteroid mining or space colonies to survive infancy is not so much lost as never comes into existence.

A lot more Platinum Group Elements are expected in asteroid nickel-iron than gold, btw - platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), iridium (Ir), osmium (Os), rhodium (Rh) and ruthenium (Ru) - and unlike gold, would probably be used for something... useful. Gold for the sake of gold is a dead end.

I have revised my view that new refining techniques would be needed - I believe the Mond process (I previously hadn't been aware of it) can extract the the nickel and iron and leave a residue rich in the remaining metals, including cobalt and PGE's and some gold. Not easily and of course that involves mining other resources for the refining process and importing a lot of equipment and materials from Earth.

I still think if asteroid mining cannot achieve economic viability returning nickel to Earth to sell at >US$15,000 per ton (up a lot since I last looked), the precious metals won't be enough.
 
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Oct 23, 2020
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I assume that it will take much time to bring this asteroid safe to Earth. If this asteroid is not a fake of course.
I have read that there are expected to be high levels of precious metals that will be found on some satellites, that is not saying this one is actually real but the concept has some merit and we should find some way of mining asteroids, we will be doing it on some level.
 
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Oct 23, 2020
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I have read that there are expected to be high levels of precious metals that will be found on some satellites, that is not saying this one is actually real but the concept has some merit and we should find some way of mining asteroids, we will be doing it on some level.
I agree with you. The concept is really worth an effort.
So if they succeed, it will be technological breakthrough.
 
Oct 23, 2020
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What golden asteroid? A few parts per million does not make a golden asteroid, not even when the asteroid masses gigatons There won't be seams or nuggets of gold - it is almost certainly going to be well mixed and alloyed in nickel-iron, because of the way metallic asteroids were formed.

I think using such resources purely for space purposes effectively prevents asteroid mining from becoming economically viable. Any great expansion into space will happen because Earth invests in it - Earth being rich in ways no asteroid can match and the only source of all the technologies needed, most of which require ongoing development to exist at all.

Barring a few stand out exceptions, Earth investors won't invest unless there is going to be a financial return, to them, on Earth; promoting Space as the Promised Land might do for Elon but it is not going to do it for the big banks and big miners. Or me. Without viable return trade in commodities with Earth - space colonists attempting to go it alone - the essential umbilical cord that is needed for asteroid mining or space colonies to survive infancy is not so much lost as never comes into existence.

A lot more Platinum Group Elements are expected in asteroid nickel-iron than gold, btw - platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), iridium (Ir), osmium (Os), rhodium (Rh) and ruthenium (Ru) - and unlike gold, would probably be used for something... useful. Gold for the sake of gold is a dead end.

I have revised my view that new refining techniques would be needed - I believe the Mond process (I previously hadn't been aware of it) can extract the the nickel and iron and leave a residue rich in the remaining metals, including cobalt and PGE's and some gold. Not easily and of course that involves mining other resources for the refining process and importing a lot of equipment and materials from Earth.

I still think if asteroid mining cannot achieve economic viability returning nickel to Earth to sell at >US$15,000 per ton (up a lot since I last looked), the precious metals won't be enough.
That `s a good point. Exploring in that sphere will take much time and a lot of investments. It might be beneficial from the scientific point of view. It can bring something new and special for scientists. However it will costs a lot I guess.
 
Feb 1, 2020
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What golden asteroid? A few parts per million does not make a golden asteroid, not even when the asteroid masses gigatons There won't be seams or nuggets of gold - it is almost certainly going to be well mixed and alloyed in nickel-iron, because of the way metallic asteroids were formed.

...I think using such resources purely for space purposes effectively prevents asteroid mining from becoming economically viable. ...

...Earth investors won't invest unless there is going to be a financial return, to them, on Earth; ...
The asteroid in question isn't made of gold. It has several Quadrillions of dollars in gold at present market value, but remember, this thing is several hundred miles wide and is believed to be the core of a destroyed planet. It's the only one like it we know about.

Will it be mined? Yes!

Will it be soon? No.

We don't have the technology necessary to get people there and keep them alive right now, so of course we won't be mining that large minor planet. Yet.

The same is true of the old Space standby of robots. Present robots aren't reliable enough nor flexible or intelligent enough to do the job. People will need to be nearby to fix the machines. The blasted thing is in the middle of the Asteroid Belt.

Mars is so much safer and easier to reach.

Not that we could send a group to Mars today and keep them alive for the three years it would take with no re-supply possible.

The Main Asteroid Belt is twice as far away and with no atmosphere to mine for fuels and other supplies.

So we can't do it yet. In fifty years, yes. Today, no No NO!

Learning to keep the people needed alive is why we need to go back to the Moon and build a base there.

Mr. Musk was just daydreaming about what to reach for after Mars is a done deal. Mars isn't a done deal today.
 
Dec 29, 2019
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Present robots aren't reliable enough nor flexible or intelligent enough to do the job. People will need to be nearby to fix the machines. The blasted thing is in the middle of the Asteroid Belt.
If robotics cannot be made more flexible and reliable it probably won't work; having people nearby won't much help and - except where it is clear they really are essential - will probably make it all harder and more expensive, not easier. It is not enough to have a mechanic on hand - you need the parts, which will not all be capable of being made on site. You need ongoing access to the manufacturer's and Earth's expertise and capabilities. Which is part of why I think using space resource purely for space activities will impede rather than advance commercial space opportunities; if your intention is to advance space activities rather than create and exploit a genuine commercial space opportunity you will add unnecessary costs and complications that will make commercial viability more difficult to attain.

The Main Asteroid Belt is twice as far away and with no atmosphere to mine for fuels and other supplies.
Carbonaceous asteroid material has water and water can be turned into H2 + O2 for fuel. Needs energy and other supplies of course - dependent upon Earth for the tech as well as materials difficult to obtain on site. Plus for the market for selling what you mine (and refine) to, in order to repay investments and deliver commercial returns. But I don't think Mars is better in any respect - worse for that gravity well and requirement for space launch capability and, of course, lack of high value resources for Earth based markets.

Learning to keep the people needed alive is why we need to go back to the Moon and build a base there.
I don't think we need a base on the Moon to learn what is needed. For the most part we know what is needed but we don't know how to provide it reliably and cost effectively. In that respect, a Moon base is throwing more taxpayer money at a goal with no clear goal - a whole lot of money that could be used better by maintaining a clear focus on asteroid resource exploitation.
 

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