Friday, June 27, 2014

Minecraft: Asteroid edition

Dear readers 

If you think this to be a misleading ploy, utilizing a famous franchise/brand; to attract views then you would be nothing short of utterly correct. It was cleverly devised by a devious friend of mine.
Ok, ok you caught me; I have no friends hahaha. This is the kind of self effacing humor which can be expected from this blog.

What you can also expect is Controversy.

To find it we once again look to the celestial heavens, more specifically to the rocky masses rolling through space AKA Asteroids.  In case the title didn’t already give it away (In which case you probably won’t be interested in the article anyway and I suggest you move it along); the controversy of the day and the coming decades will be Asteroid Mining.
Before we start it is of crucial significance to acknowledge the organizations currently researching the field of asteroid mining:
-Deep Space industries
-Planetary Resources Inc
-Kepler Energy and Space Engineering LLC

Now several questions strike the mind when talking about the “prospect” of asteroid mining (a dash of mining humor, you younglings probably won’t get it)

1) Why in the seven hells are we even talking of mining asteroids?

To answer, I direct you to an economic phrase; “Limited resources and unlimited wants”. The earth’s resources, specifically mined elements that are necessary for modern industry to function (e.g.:-zinc, tin, lead, copper, etc.) are estimated to expire in 50 to 60 years time.

What on earth are we to do? Nothing would provide a solution, well nothing on earth that is.
Scientists really thought outside the box and the atmosphere and found an answer, Asteroids.

Asteroids are like meteoroids but instead of containing space rubble and garbage, they are rich with wicked valuable metals and elements.  

About time we did talk about asteroid mining don’t you think? 

2) How do we know for certain if there’s even anything worth mining on those godforsaken space boulders?

Ah well, Specialized satellites are to be devised to acquire details about composition, proximity acceleration required to get to and from the intended target and other key factors in order to determine if a particular asteroid is indeed a valid and valuable prospect for mining.

Planetary resources inc. has planned the development of the following equipment to carry out the prospecting of asteroids:

-Arkyd series 100(the LEO space telescope) a telescope to analyze asteroids (currently being worked on, there’s a kick starter and everything)
-Arkyd series 200(the Interceptor) a  probe of sorts that would further analyze the asteroid on site
-Arkyd series 300 (the Rendezvous Prospector) satellite that will  research and find resources “deeper in space”

To elaborate further on the selection process, first and foremost the asteroid has to be a ‘Near earth asteroid’ so that the acceleration needed to transport the resources to and from is less, thus getting a higher return on the prospect.
The composition itself varies from asteroid to asteroid however they can be classified into 3 main common types, but there are many other subclasses you can Google if you are interested.

S-Type Asteroid space astronomy science controversy mining future concepts ideas energyC-Type Asteroid space astronomy science controversy mining future concepts ideas energy

M-Type Asteroid space astronomy science controversy mining future concepts ideas energy

3) Fine but how are we going to mine a bloody Asteroid if it is blasting through space?

The organizations mentioned afore have concocted several methods on how to approach the mining aspect as illustrated in the pictures below.

A) Shoot to Drill - a robotic prospector is to remain on site to drill for precious materials that will be shipped to earth via capsules.

Asteroid Drilling space astronomy science controversy mining future concepts ideas energy
What it would actually look like
Iron Man Driller Suit space astronomy science controversy mining future concepts ideas energy asteroid marvel
What I wish it would be like.

B) Bag ‘em and drag ‘em- a mission to retrieve an asteroid by enveloping it and transporting it to the moon’s orbit for it to be mined.

Asteroid Netting space astronomy science controversy mining future concepts ideas energy
What it could actually look like
Caricature of the Asteroid netting processspace astronomy science controversy mining future concepts ideas energy
What a caricature of the proposed mission would be like.
C) Haul Ass-teroidTowing an asteroid using rocket power into earth’s orbit for mining.

Asteroid Hauling process space astronomy science controversy mining future concepts ideas energy
What it could be like
Photograph of Two Asteroid size Women space astronomy science controversy mining future concepts ideas energy
What it's actually going to be like


4) Is Asteroid Mining really worth it? Yes or No?                    
Yes. That’s all folks, have a pleasant day.                      

5) Seriously? GOD you piss me off! Elaborate please. 

Well “Yes” in the long run would be a better answer.  This is because with the current technology we possess feasibility is in a horrid state.

To put this in context NASA’s upcoming mission (OSIRIS-Rex) which costs around $1 billion estimated to bring back 2 ounces of gold or platinum, $1800 per ounce.
So technically ROI would be $3600-$1billion/$1billion X 100 which amounts to extremely BAD.
Granted the project is indeed just an asteroid study and sample retrieval but can they not bring a bigger sample?

But it is the prospect of Asteroid Mining in the long run will that make it a worthwhile investment as it will push humanity to discover efficient and cost effective space travel (the development of a Space fuel depot is already in the talks due to this).

It could be the first step that would lead us to colonize planets.

It could be the first step that would lead us to make our first contact with extraterrestrials.

It could be the first step that would lead us to BE extraterrestrials.

And, in my mind, thus solves the controversy.

Progress demands our attention and our support.

Our resources are depleting whether we like it or not. I say high time we started thinking about it and thinking off world.

SO in conclusion Asteroid Mining FTW
Comment below if you agree and want to add anything or if your opinion differs. I would appreciate it either way.
You know, whatevs.

Haters gonna hate, Lovers gonna love, and honey badgers don’t give a Sh*t.
Peace out. Cheers


  1. Cost per kg to send robots to an asteroid is likely to be more than $50,000.

    To return rare minerals to Earth will require a heavy rocket engine, fuel and a heat shield. The conclusion is that until these things are manufactured on the asteroid itself, it will be way too expensive to return anything to Earth.

    The first industries in space will be the robotic manufacture of solar cells. Followed soon after by the robotic semi-self-replicated manufacture of processing plants.

    Robots controlled using telepresence is the smartest way to go because it allows unlimited complex activities such as snapping newly arrived light weight and or repair parts together with heavy parts made on site.

    Only the Moon is close enough to utilize telepresence, due to the communications delay. The technology exists today, but the first true industrial robots will probably not start work on the Moon for another half dozen years.

    Smart mostly autonomous generic work robots are on the way, probably available in about ten years, with slowly increasing capabilities. We should see them at work on Phobos or Deimos in about fifteen years, which gives Lunar industry about a 10 year head start.

    1. Firstly William I apologise, I didn't see this comment. I actually replied to your other comment on the page itself.

      Secondly I appreciate the comment and elaboration.

      I agree with most of it.What I don't agree with is that the technology needed is either inefficient (eg:rocket fuel, telepresence) in prototype phase or just theorised.Thus making feasibility estimates flawed.

      In addition to this I must add that asteroid mining will precede the production of LEO industries,unless technology makes entry to LEO cost efficient that is.

      Once again ,Thank you Mr.Bliss. Hope you have a blissful day