How to exploit the resources in our solar system

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1) Put into orbit around the sun a fleet of unmanned solar sails.
2) Connect tethers to the sails and attach a special kind of net.
3) The net would be created to capture space dust, by electromagnetism.
4) The net could be positioned to capture asteroids, comets or meteors.
5) The net gently collapses around the asteroid and nano grinders
grind it into dust.
6) The dust is captured by electromagnetic forces, these forces "lead"
the dust sized particles to a collector which sorts the dust by its weight.
7) The collector fuses the dust into "bricks" and slings them toward the target,
which could be a ship or a moon or any target.
Precise calculations will enable the packets to be carefully placed almost anywhere.


Once these systems are in place, it will cost little to nothing
to keep operating.

Materials for building anything in space can be derived this way.


Or, You could just send a mining vessel/outpost to a NEO or asteroid and gather materials from there and bring them back to refineries orbiting earth. These turn out materials needed for industry. These are then sent to different location including down the gravity well to earth for making into finished products. Of course you could use the moon to.

No offense but what your describing is WAY to complicated and pretty much impossible at present. Why build giant planet sized nets to catch dust when you can just go to the big hunk of materials already collected?

So while i applaud your out of the box idea i dont think there would ever be a reason for it for a Long time.

Refineries, mining assets, space habs will at first need to be sent up from earth and assembled in orbit only then would the building of aditional structures start.


You know I work with metals of all types all day and I see quite often how things are made at least here on earth and I gotta say refining in space is going to be a huge challenge . I don't see how it can be done without some form of acceleration being applied to the metal as it is being poured and formed . And that's after you have separated it into it's basic forms and then blended it into a workable alloy . In the separation phase the more gravity (or acceleration or centrifugal force) you have the faster it will separate , all while at temps over 3000f depending what your working with . Not impossible but definitely not easy either .

I think the resource to go after the most will be water and helium3 and rare earths .

Water so we don't have to launch fuel/air/water anymore to supply space endeavors once in leo .

Helium3 for nuclear fusion reactors , possibly on earth but mainly for use in space .

Rare earths , there are possible locations on the moon of large deposits and considering their usefulness coupled with the hazardous waste problems in refinement the moon would be the perfect place to set up operations .

While all three are available on the moon , water is available in many places and also rare earths may turn up in certain asteroids as well .

warning pet idea incoming :ugeek: :

I like the idea of skimming ring material (99.9% water ice) from saturn using robotic ships that just collect it then travel to their predetermined drop off point , then do it all over again . Having water at hand it would be capable of refueling itself while in transit in prep for burns eliminating the need for cryo-storage . It wouldn't involve people on board just at a central command to monitor progress and a fleet could be built to deliver water anywhere it was needed most likely mars orbit or leo in the early days but it could even be sent ahead to some other destination . At the current cost of over $40,000 per gallon of water to leo it might be worth it to a company to supply water should the population of LEO and beyond grow very far . While that 40k price tag could drop as low as IMO at best $500 per gallon one ship could bring back 250,000 gallons and even if you flood the market at $100 a gallon that one run paid 25million and it's headed back for another run .

From everything I know about our solar system (I'm sure there is plenty I don't know) the by far easiest access to water without dropping into a gravity well or attempting to mine an asteroid (far harder than it sounds) is saturn's rings .


With the upcomming conference Oct 30-31 by SSI on Manufacturing and Space setelment a few few of your questons may have some more additional answers. The actual form of how, where and costs is still tied to the LEO cargo rate. If Space X ever builds its Falcon X Heavy (125MT to LEO) the rate could drop to as low as $2500 a kg, half the current best rate. I don't see this happening until 2020 or latter though just because of engineering lead times as well as financing. So for any first realistic resource utilization beyond the simple water mining, initial hardware will be too costly until such time that LEO rate prices drop by half or even one forth the current.

I did a estimation of what a Falcon XX Heavy (420MT LEO payload, 4 times that of a Saturn V) LEO rate would be and came up with $750 to $1200 per kg. Also the time frame would at best be around 2030 or later. This assumes commercial continues on its course of takeing over launch vehicle developement as well as an almost explosion in customers, tonage to LEO. As long as the governement competes with commercial and favors its own picks and designs and not the cheapest, progress will continue to be very slow making even the Falcon X Heavy be out beyond 2030.

One resource utilization that may occur before any others from a commercial standpoint could be sunlight. SPS with a small improvement in launch costs could very well be the first space resource utilization of a large scale. The US military has expressed that it would be willing to purchase this power delivered to earth at $1 or even $2 per kw hour. It would be cheaper and more secure than the constant fuel delivery for power generation to maintain the forward bases. US baseload is currently at $0.05 per kw hour. It will take a long time before the LEO rates lower enough to make SPS for use with US baseload.
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