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Questions tagged [mining]

Questions about the extraction of materials from other planets or asteroids.

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Where is the “almost certain” water in these spectra from Chandrayaan 1's Moon Mineralogy Mapper?

The New York Times article Ice on the Surface of the Moon? Almost Certainly, New Research Shows talks about the recent paper published in PNAS Direct evidence of surface exposed water ice in the lunar ...
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3D metal printer in microgravity possible?

After reading on regarding in situ manufacturing in space, I've found out there is already a 3D printer for plastic on ISS, and the company behind it works on a space craft to manufacture larger (...
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Maturity of in-situ steel production conceptualization?

While MOXIE (Mars OXygen In situ resource utilization Experiment) looks like to be tested in an upcoming mission in real condition, do we know how would we produce steel in-situ (in terms of ...
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Practical rate (e.g. kg/day) that carbon could be harvested from CO2 in the Martian atmosphere and climate?

There is frequent discussion of using CO2 in the Martian atmosphere to synthesize carbon-containing compounds. One example is methane for propulsion, another: Can materials be found to make plastic ...
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Is abundance of chemical elements in the asteroid belt / solar system real through higher concentrations?

Given humanity would be once able to access any minerals in the asteroid belt and moons of planets, would be there some chemical elements (if stable isotopes exist) still considered as rare?
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Most attractive resource on the Moon

What is the most attractive resource available to be extracted on the Moon? By the most attractive I mean the most useful considering the location in which it's extracted and including all the ...
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204 views

What Platinum minerals are expected to to be found in Asteroids?

High quantities and values have been claimed for the Platinum and other high value metals in Asteroids - prompting (or perhaps in order to prompt) interest in mining them. Is this high value metal ...
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Is there a method of finding chemical composition of asteroids?

Any equations or research paper would be helpful.
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Was SpaceX's venture into the asteroid belt a “convenient accident” on purpose?

There is gold in the asteroids, or iridium. links: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-25716103 https://globalnews.ca/news/3175097/nasa-plans-mission-to-a-metal-rich-asteroid-worth-...
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Most useless artificial Earth satellite [closed]

What if some future Falcon Heavy's launch put a regular boulder in orbit around Earth (as a secondary payload)? Well, not arbitrary one that lies by the edge of the road, rather something resembling ...
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Why are low-albedo asteroids thought to be more water-rich?

In this talk, J. L. Galache mentions that asteroid miners are looking for NEAs with: low delta-v (so the asteroid is easy to get to/from from Earth) low synodic period (for frequent launch/return-...
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What's the scientific evidence of water for return trip methalox on Mars?

EDIT: I am not asking if you think finding water is necessary for a return flight. I'm asking for the scientific evidence that there is mineable water on Mars that could be used for this purpose. ...
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If the Moon were solid gold, how far away would it have to be to not be economical to mine it?

Space is pretty expensive to get to, and there's a shocking lack of things in it. A planet made of gold sounds like a treasure worth the trip! How far would such a thing have to be away from Earth in ...
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Mining on Uranus or Neptune

Some studies show that there are big 'seas' of diamonds on Uranus and Neptune, there may be loads of it. I was thinking, wouldn't it be a great business opportunity to go to Uranus or Neptune (maybe ...
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Chemical resources on the moon in relation to human occupation

Suppose large settlements are established on the moon with lots of people and industrial activity. Based on what we know, what chemicals that are needed for human life and industry might be lacking? ...
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Is Mars iron too oxidized to pick up with a magnet?

How much iron would a magnet pick up on the surface of Mars? Would it be rich in iron particles like going to a playground on earth? Would it be clean enough to take to a refinery and melt down, or ...
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Is this an efficient way to turn bulk minerals in space into kinetic weapons?

The sheer speed of an object at orbital velocity (8 km/s) is like the kinetic energy of 7.5 kg of TNT for every kg of mass. At the speed of an object falling from near the Moon, it's like 14.5 kg of ...
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How to get processed asteroid metals back to Earth in a safe manner

How would you get precious metals (like platinum, lithium, uranium, etc) from an asteroid safely back to Earth? First, assume we don't need the metals in space for in-space manufacturing. Second, ...
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Would it be more viable to process moon rocks into Helium-3 on the Moon than doing so on Earth?

Helium-3 is a substance that is very useful for nuclear fusion, which can generate a lot of power. Unfortunately we don't have a lot of it on Earth, but on the Moon it can be processed from basic moon ...
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Mining a near-Earth passing asteroid with profit?

The answer by PearsonArtPhoto in this question got me thinking, particularly this line: Asteroids would be cheaper to go to than the Moon I suppose the subject here are asteroids that pass in the ...
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Is space mining and development as shown in the television show “The Expanse” realistic?

In the television show "The Expanse", we see the Solar System having been partially colonized and developed during the 23rd century. The spacecraft in the show appear to depend on conventional ...
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How will asteroid mining projects get the heavy material back to Earth? [duplicate]

I understand that the asteroid mining proposals are looking to mine platinum, paladium, and other rare-earth metals that have a high economic value. What are the proposals for getting the mined ...
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If a high-temperature melt of lunar soil cooled slowly, what layers might appear?

Suppose mare regolith is heated to 2400 K, then left to cool slowly in a tank. Samples of powder regolith from the mare are about half glasses and half crystals of composition as shown below. Would ...
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How much iron is on the surface of Mars?

It's (relatively) common knowledge that Mars is known as the "Red Planet" because of an abundance of iron oxide, AKA rust, on its surface. At first glance, that looks like "iron, iron, everywhere." ...
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How is it known that asteroid 2011 UW158 has so much platinum?

Today an asteroid, 2011 UW158, is passing within 2.4 million km of Earth. There are a lot of reports of this asteroid containing $5.4 trillion of platinum in its core. People seem to want to mine it, ...
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Terraforming Venus with the Bosch reaction, using hydrogen from Jupiter [closed]

OK, so chemistry and physics are not my strong suit, so this idea is just cobbled together from stuff I've heard can be done. But I'd be curious if it is at all plausible, and what the most likely ...
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How much do we know about minerals and raw materials that are in our solar system?

Based on satellite and robots research, is there an overview/inventory of mineral resources that has been discovered till now on the planets, moons, asteroids and comets of our solar system (e.g. list,...
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Could a planet, moon, or comet having a high concentration of a certain metal disrupt radio transmission?

I have been researching how metals affect radio transmission but have not found anything conclusive to the specific scope about planet density if it is mostly metal. One of the posts that I found ...
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Are there any techniques of heat shielding an irregularly shaped object?

NASA is planning to bring an asteroid into a lunar orbit. As I understand, it's a tremendous task, even when using high specific impulse ion drives. It seems nearly impossible to safely land one on ...
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Would a 'space elevator'/sling on a rotating asteroid work?

It is possible to find numerous studies of space elevators, for Earth, Luna, Mars and even Phobos. But would a 'space elevator' work on an asteroid? I use scare quotes because typically the point of a ...
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How feasible is it to use aluminum and liquid oxygen as future propellant sourced from the moon?

I was looking into whether there would be any way to source propellants from the moon itself in support of a future base and space stations in cis-lunar space. I found two documents exploring how ...
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Is it feasible to put a comet into a Lagrangian point?

How feasible would it be to put a large comet, like the one that Philae landed on, into a Lagrangian point, or some other spot that would make it convenient & SAFE for mining, colonization, ...
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Legality of asteroid mining

Exploiting the moon's resources is covered by "The Moon Treaty". Is there something similar or in the works for regulating mining asteroids and other non-lunar bodies?
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What about gathering water ice from Saturn's rings?

Saturn's rings are almost pure water ice in nice manageable chunks from specks to boulders a few meters across. Assuming there is something truly useful to do with it - once again talking about ...
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How much meteorite material hits the moon and could it be useful?

Does the material that hits the moon all vaporize and disperse so much it doesn't lead to enriched deposit areas, or could it sometimes be useful? I'm thinking in particular of a permanent moon base, ...
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Can one put a large nickel-iron asteroid into an elliptical solar orbit that results in a soft(ish) earth landing?

My daughter and I are debating whether it is technically feasible to bring a nickel iron asteroid to the surface or the earth non-destructively. I felt it was impossible. Her thought was that with a ...
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Could lunar mining be used to service Low Earth Orbit?

What would be the major hurdles of setting up an autonomous mining operation on the Moon to shoot lunar rock to something like the ISS? I would think it would be a much easier way to get radiation ...
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What lunar legalities are currently in place?

I'm curious what treaties, if any, are in place as far as restricting military, engineering, or scientific applications on the lunar surface. e.g. Assuming someone definitively discovers there's ...
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Mining and the transportation of resources

With the recent bootstrapping of so many space centric companies, it's starting to look like our economy will extend beyond the bounds of Earth sooner rather than later. Assuming that mining ...
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Feasibility of colonising Ceres?

Ceres is a dwarf planet in the midst of the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter - its location in the Asteroid Belt makes it a good base to mine the riches believed to exist in the asteroids. ...
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Would gold in space tend to collect in pockets like it does on Earth?

I was reading Does gold come from outer space?(BBC News). If the majority of gold on Earths surface does come from space would it tend to be equally distributed on comets and asteroids, or would tend ...
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Over time, would I exert less effort mining a large asteroid or collecting small asteroids, assuming both have similar compositions?

Suppose there are two asteroids, one very large (larger than a football field) and one very small (roughly the size of a refrigerator). Assume they have similar compositions and are at equal ...
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Practical Lunar He-3 mining approach?

There is a lot of popular talk that There may be huge deposits of Helium-3 on the Moon, and It could be used for very efficient fusion reactors. Unfortunately in the bulk of popular talk actual ...
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Could a comet-trailing “scoop” be practical for mining?

It seems that most mining proposals involve landing on the body (blasting pieces of asteroids up from the surface for measurement has been proposed), would it be practical to exploit the volatile ...
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What resources could be gained from asteroid mining that would be worth the effort?

Obviously asteroids are abundant in many of the raw materials we use today, but considering the (presumably) large expense involved in mining from asteroids it may not be worthwhile to mine some ...
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What is the range of strength for asteroidal materials?

Observed rotation rates of small asteroids point to a limit on the material strength of these bodies. This limit is not very high But that's only part of the picture, because an upper limit on ...
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Which precious metals have been detected via samples taken from Earth's moon or Mars?

Have any of the rock samples (or meteors from Earth's moon or from Mars) provided a measurable amount of gold, silver, platinum or any other precious metals?
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Mining in microgravity: are there sound studies?

I was wondering whether there are any sound studies on mining in microgravity. For example, smelting iron (out of ore) in weightlessness has been described and (in theory) solved. Also, there are ...
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What are the actual legal prerequisites for extracting natural resources from asteroids by private entities?

The Moon Treaty states that no extraterrestrial property can be owned by any organization or person, with the exception of international and governmental organization. So, taking the current state of ...
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How feasible is it to harvest isotopes of Helium or Hydrogen from the gas giants?

The gas giants in our solar system have abundant quantities of Helium and Hydrogen. Is it possible to harvest these resources there? Does NASA have any plans to build some permanent base in space for ...