Questions tagged [mining]

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

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5
votes
6answers
831 views

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. ...
59
votes
3answers
6k views

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 ...
9
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3answers
2k views

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 ...
13
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3answers
722 views

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 ...
43
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2answers
4k views

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?
17
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2answers
3k views

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 ...
11
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2answers
2k views

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, ...
18
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5answers
3k views

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. ...
14
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4answers
4k views

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 ...
12
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1answer
7k views

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." ...
3
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4answers
760 views

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 ...
1
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3answers
461 views

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-...
8
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3answers
528 views

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 ...
4
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2answers
173 views

How is it proposed to extract oxygen from lunar regolith?

Futurism's news item NASA Pumps Funding into Startup That Says It Can Harvest Oxygen From Lunar Regolith says: NASA just awarded substantial funding to Pioneer Astronautics, a company that claims it ...
4
votes
1answer
140 views

How long does it take to refresh helium-3 on the moon?

I was reading a science-fiction novel, Limit, by Frank Shätzing. It depicts a near-future with useful helium-3 fusion, and the Americans and Chinese are bumping elbows mining helium-3 on the moon, ...
2
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1answer
107 views

Could a Gravity Tractor be used for mining asteroids?

Recently, I came across the concept of the Gravity Tractor for the first time. And I was intrigued. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_tractor A Gravity Tractor, as I understand it, is a concept ...
2
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1answer
93 views

Demonstrating molten oxide electrolysis on the Moon, what would require the most power, keeping it molten or driving the electrolysis?

It seems that oxygen may be extractable from oxides in lunar regolith using "some variant of the" molten oxide electrolysis. Assuming that solar energy is used in a lunar setting, what would ...
20
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1answer
641 views

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 ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
488 views

What Platinum minerals are expected 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
332 views

Mining Helium-3 on the moon and sending it to Earth?

It would be best to mine and process material on the moon to obtain helium-3, but my question is, what if we did an unmanned mission? A small robot 1 meter long, powered by solar energy, that takes ...
5
votes
1answer
229 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
209 views

Asteroid Mining on Ceres

I am an Architecture and Urbanism student. Currently I am working on designing a space habitat for mineral mining on Ceres. I have been reading about space mining techniques mostly on near Earth ...
3
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0answers
83 views

Atmospheric entry of asteroid mining products

This is a more general question than How to get processed asteroid metals back to Earth in a safe manner That question was actually a quick check to see if a particular idea was plausible. Instead, ...
14
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4answers
3k views

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 ...
8
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3answers
1k views

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 ...
0
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0answers
102 views

On what target will TransAstra Corp's MiniBee practice its Optical Mining technique?

Space.com's NASA Eyes Wild Space Tech Ideas to Mine the Moon (and Asteroids, Too!) says: The other project is called Mini Bee and is led by Joel Sercel, founder and CEO of TransAstra Corp. Mini Bee ...