October 31, 2010

Space Manufacturing conference - summarizing extraterrestrial prospecting

Parabolic Arc coverage of space prospecting

NEO (near earth objects) Mining Options

* bag and boil for volatile extraction
* magnetic rake for high grade ore
* take small asteroid pieces home
* new moon — Earth orbit
* hot knife — cut up comet core with nuclear heat

– Asteroid Itakowa is close to being a proper size for mining — Japanese Hayabusa probe landed there
– To NEO mining work, need to minimize project risk, payback time, etc.
– Platinum worth $4,000 per ton; water worth $1 million per ton
– Awaiting development of market in orbit for water delivery

– 538,271 asteroids discovered
– 7317 Near Earth Asteroids (NEA)
– 66,000 NEOs
– 18,000+ potentially hazardous NEOs

Hobby space coverage

of the NEAs, over 3200 are over 300 meters in diameter and over 800 are over 1km diameter

Where is ice in comets?
- Ices are on the surface but most water is not from that ice.
- Most ice is below surface by 1-3 skin depths - definitely over 2 meters
- NEAs largely missing water signals
- Evidence of water on 24 Themis
- Ceres long known to have water
- Distant spectal studies not definitive. Asteroid studied by Cassini was much more interesting than appeared from earth.
- Diversity of asteroids will probably be much greater than seems now as seen from earth based studies.

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