Why bring the metal and volatiles from a near-earth asteroid to earth?
They would be quite useful in building something interesting in space
without having to haul so much up the gravity well. A favorite fantasy
of mine is to have robots (smart and/or teleoperated) extract and
separate useful materials from such an asteroid for use in subsequent
manned or remote operations. If the asteroid is hollowd out in the
process then it could perhaps become a rough base for human
occupation. The precious metals and such not directly useful could be a
source of trading income with Earth.
Andrew Clough wrote:
> I believe that Segan estimated in "Pale Blue Dot" (would you believe it,
> the only book award that was actually a book was the one from Cornell) that
> an average M asteroid would have trillions of dollars of precious metals at
> current market prices, and enough heavy metals to last two or three years
> of normal consumption. Of course, we can all say "market glut" but it
> still seems a good investment. I suspect that we could get an astroid into
> medium Earth orbit with not too much equipment mass. On the other hand,
> getting the stuff mined and down to Earth would be tough.
> >Can you say "ka-CHING!"? ^_^
> Yeah, but it might take a few asteroids before you pay off the infrastructure.
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