Asteroid Mining

Do you remember Weyland and Seegon corporations from Alien Isolation? They were the guys involved with deep space exploration, colonization and space mining! Basically, science-fiction today is reality tomorrow…

Working Joe of Seegson Corporation

Working Joe of Seegson Corporation

Certain countries and companies are already investing in space mining! Seriously; this is either really cool (as a bold endeavor), or a shame that we are extending our reach in the universe just to subtract more from it. The mineral payload found in asteroids could be exponential, but will it offset the hardware and logistics costs involved in extraction?

Asteroid Payload - World Economic Forum

Asteroid Payload – World Economic Forum

What are your thoughts on asteroid mining? Do you think it’s immoral that we keep taking from the universe instead of putting back, or are you just excited that we are adventuring into space?

Read more about Asteroid Mining here.

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13 thoughts on “Asteroid Mining

  1. I think humans like to exploit everything – leaving no stone unturned, literally in this case. I think that we jump into ideas without thinking about the consequences. In some way or another, data is going to manifest and demonstrate why mining something in a way we feel is harmless somehow changed our world for the worse.

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  2. I like the idea of space exploration. Space mining I’m a little concerned about though, given how much we’ve managed to stuff up here with mined goods & things. Can’t space exploration be used for *exploration* by us??? New discoveries and things! Going “where no one has gone before” and all that.

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  3. I think it is actually really cool that “science fiction” is becoming “science reality”. The fact we can go and do things some of these sci-fi authors only dreamed about. But on the down side, what kind of impact is bringing “alien” products to the planet going to have? Disease, chemicals, bacteria, etc…Is the cost going to be worth it? It is something that should be thoroughly studied before doing.

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  4. I am a huge fan on space exploration so I think this is pretty cool. However it also shows the level of greed we have reached. Who is befitting from the endeavor and is it worth it? Truly, if we wanted to solve energy crisis, 1 million tons of helium 3 on the moon, is enough to power the world for thousands of years.

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  5. I think we need to regain the focus of space exploration. It seems nowadays that we hear about a launch, read some rover news about Mars, and everyone notices for about two minutes and then moves on complaining about “wasted” space money….which couldn’t be further from the truth. You never know what opportunities space will present, and the only way to find out is to get out there. Mining asteroids will maybe help us to stop destroying our own home, will keep us focused on new technology, and will keep us pushing our limits of exploration.

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  6. Good Question! First I am going to agree with akiwifreud that mining is fundamentally exploitative regardless of whether we do it on an asteroid or in the hills of Kentucky. What we take isn’t going to be returned.
    Second, the value of the asteroid is interesting, but the investment to get there in cost and materials will significant bite into the margins of asteroid mining.
    The way asteroid mining makes sense is to support exploration and expansion. One can argue that “asteroid mining” is really requirement for expansion into the solar system and the galaxy. We do not have enough matter on Earth to donate it to the rest of the solar system and galaxy in our exploration. One could also argue that using the material there, we aren’t really pillaging as much as we are using “in situ”. (It’s a stretch but we are imagining here).

    Thanks and good luck.

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  7. I’m trying to understand the philosophical perspective driving worry about “exploiting” dead rock. The problem with mining on the Earth is that certain kinds cause destruction, either directly or indirectly, in a fashion that disrupts an ecosystem shared by other humans, thus injuring those other humans if care is not taken (which it commonly isn’t). In space, there is no such problem. I may have missed something, but so far we have found NOTHING living on the rocks up there. A rock made of nickel iron is a rock made of nickel iron. If nobody owns it, and nothing living is affected by mining it, then taking the metal and using it is not an ethical issue. Period. Unless you want to argue for not disrupting the scenery. Scenery which no one will ever see, unless someone manages to get sufficient materials moving in space to go see it.

    The advantage of mining in space, and manufacturing in space, is that you can gather the materials you want and turn them into the objects you need, without risking hurting someone else. Also, there is an absolutely ridiculous potential for energy, no end of empty space to build in, practically no end of materials to build with, either, room for safe experimentation with all kinds of things, and so on. Also, you could theoretically build space stations that would act as controlled-environment farms with neverending sunlight, construct giant hab stations out of asteroids (Scroll down to “bubbleworld” on this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_habitat). And many other great things.

    Possible disadvantages to someone who thinks like an Earther: Pollution? If you really can’t reprocess it, arc it into the sun. The sun doesn’t care! (well, maybe if you threw Jupiter in, but it still probably wouldn’t care, as the sun is about 1,000 times larger than Jupiter by volume.) Ownership? Well, at least right now, the space in our solar system has no native population living in it, so unlike just about every other nation to get new territory anywhere in the past many-thousand years, you WON’T be stealing. Limited resources? If you are worried about this, you have failed to grasp the essential bigness of space in comparison to Earth. Earth is a speck. Smaller than a speck. Even compared to our own solar system.

    Actual disadvantages? These pretty much come down to the possibility that someone might intentionally drop a rock on the planet. That would be bad. Also, if we bring too many heavy metals down to Earth, we could mess up the balance of heavy metals on the upper crust (Earthside pollution), something we are already doing with sloppy mining and manufacturing. Also, if it’s not done carefully, we could, theoretically, accidentally mess up Mars for possible Terraforming by introducing Terran bacteria before we fully understand the place. Changing the mass of the Earth? I’m less certain about that, but you would need to bring down a LOT of mass. We pretty much have enough steel, so I don’t think that would be most of what came down, so overall I don’t know why anyone would bring enough mass to actually matter. We should be able to build just about anything out of carbon soon anyway.

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