36 votes

Could there be any use with importing vacuum from space to Earth?

There are multiple problems with this idea. The first and most obvious problem is that the sealed container which has a perfect vacuum inside (seller claims so at least) is not of much use until you ...
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  • 1,781
20 votes
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Is there enough iron on the Moon to support industry?

Yes, oxides of typical engineering metals, such as iron, aluminum, magnesium, titanium and silicon (as a semiconductor and important alloy material) are abundant on the lunar surface. It is unknown ...
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20 votes
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How is it known that asteroid 2011 UW158 has so much platinum?

With all the hype in the news this was surprisingly hard to research for specifically 2011 UW158. I never did find a source for the claim on the value, though the Slooh Community Observatory put the ...
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  • 7,076
17 votes

Could there be any use with importing vacuum from space to Earth?

According to WP, at the upper end of Earth thermosphere -- that's LEO, somewhere above the orbit of ISS -- the pressure goes to around $1 \times 10^{-7}$ Pa. This level of vacuum is regularly ...
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14 votes
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moon structure ownership

There are two schools of thought discussed in Asteroid Mining: International and Legal Aspects by Frans G. von der Dunk: Perspective 1: The US and countries like Luxembourg believe that any resources ...
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12 votes
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What useful materials can be extracted from Venusian atmosphere?

This is a rather broad question, so I'll mostly try to point you in the right direction than directly answer it; First, Venusian atmosphere is highly dynamic and diverse environment both in ...
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  • 75.3k
11 votes

How is it known that asteroid 2011 UW158 has so much platinum?

Sorry to spoil everyone’s excitement, but one claim, credited to Mining.com, that the kilometer-wide asteroid might contain “up to 90 million metric tons of platinum and other precious metals” is ...
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10 votes
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Are there relevant resources on the Moon for civil engineering?

Paul Spudis notes the moon has lots of aggregate. Lunar regolith is shattered bedrock with granules of all different sizes. Spudis suggests "Instead of water-set lime-based cement, we can use glass ...
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  • 15.1k
10 votes
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Could lunar mining be used to service Low Earth Orbit?

In terms of delta-v budget there could be large savings in transporting required materials from the Moon to LEO (∆V ~ 2.74 km/s) instead of Earth to LEO (∆V ~ 9.3 - 10 km/s) [1], assuming you can ...
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  • 75.3k
10 votes

Does Mercury have the necessary natural resources to sustain a human colony?

The MESSENGER mission is giving us a very tantalizing picture of Mercury's resources. No surprise is that much of the surface is basaltic minerals containing about 42% Oxygen on average by weight. ...
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10 votes
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Copper abundance in the Moon

I'd advise strong caution as to drawing conclusions as to what there is and isn't on the Moon, as all we know comes from a few trunk-loads of rocks, satellite imagery, and theory, which in planetary ...
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  • 20.8k
10 votes
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Are there hydrocarbons on the Moon?

I think the poster was mistaken about hydrocarbons being on The Moon. We know some planets (like Mars) and moons (like Titan) have them, but not Earth's. The Moon does have water, however. What ...
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  • 6,488
10 votes
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How could the presence of 3He be detected on the lunar surface?

NASA [1] indicates that helium-3 can be assessed indirectly by measuring the presence of titanium dioxide and soil characteristics ("maturity"), the correlation having been derived from the study of ...
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  • 6,882
9 votes

Feasibility of colonising Ceres?

The oblateness of Ceres seems to indicate water. Moreover water geysers were recently detected by Herschel Space telescope. Hopefully we'll learn more when the Dawn spacecraft arrives February of 2015....
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  • 15.1k
8 votes
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How might water floating in space be 'mined'?

The short answer to the actual question asked: you might do it electrostatically, but it would require huge amounts of power. The extended short answer: the water, though a nearly incredible mass of ...
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  • 17.9k
7 votes

What useful materials can be extracted from Venusian atmosphere?

Old topic, but for those just showing up: 1) There are two leading candidates for the "unknown UV absorber" in Venus's atmosphere, and probably the most likely answer is some degree of both. One of ...
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  • 213
7 votes

How deep could a lunar mine go?

I came here with the same question. While rock pressure is one issue, I think the limiting factor is actually heat. The most recent paper I could find on Lunar temperature gradients is Nimmo 2012, ...
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7 votes
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Is there a method for finding the chemical composition of asteroids?

Reflection spectroscopy in visible and IR wavelengths (using sunlight reflected from asteroids and collected by ground- and space-based instruments) allows for chemical and mineralogical ...
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6 votes

Mining and the transportation of resources

Assuming that mining companies such as Planetary Resources succeed and other companies force competition, how important will it be for methods of transporting materials to Earth to become cheap? Very ...
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  • 62.9k
6 votes
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Manufacturing solar cells on the Moon

Perovskites may prevent the need for such complex manufacturing facilities. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/glenn/2019/building-solar-panels-in-space-might-be-as-easy-as-clicking-print Perovskites are ...
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  • 796
6 votes

Could lunar mining be used to service Low Earth Orbit?

High initial costs compared to current demand rate is the basic economic problem. The infrastructure would need more spacecrafts to serve in order for it to become worthwhile. Prolonging the life of ...
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6 votes
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Why is the LROC lunar data not showing farside of the moon?

You have to select the correct projection to see the far side of the Moon: It is the top tab in the side bar.
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5 votes

How much iron is on the surface of Mars?

Martian meteorites suggest that the Martian crust has about twice as much iron as the earth's crust. Of course Mars is smaller than Earth, but most of Earth is covered in water. As a result, Mars has ...
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  • 1,604
5 votes

Manufacturing solar cells on the Moon

There are parts that would be easy, and parts that would be quite difficult. Here is a video that shows you how solar cells are made on Earth. Here's a few things ...
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  • 118k
5 votes

How much do we know about minerals and raw materials that are in our solar system?

YES and NO The Yes part Many meteors have been traced back to their parent bodies. We have done very detailed analysis of both mineral and elemental composition. By comparing the spectrum of the ...
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  • 229
5 votes
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How could you create water and air from materials in the Solar System?

Water- Can be obtained from pretty much any non-gas giant object beyond the middle of the asteroid belt. This includes comets, moons of outer solar system planets, even objects like Pluto, etc. ...
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  • 118k
5 votes
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Full lunar mineralization/ore map

Here's the labelled version you found of the USGS map large enough to read the text For completion's sake, here's a mirror, limited by the 2MB upload size of SE, so it's only barely readable. The link ...
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4 votes

Mining and the transportation of resources

For example, would cheaper & longer paths such as Hohmann transfers be favored, or will more direct (and therefore more expensive) trajectories be preferred? Neither. Hohmann orbits are tangent ...
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  • 15.1k
4 votes

Manufacturing solar cells on the Moon

Lunar Reources Inc. proposes to manufacture solar panels in situ by electrolyzing the lunar regolith to seperate the various components (metals, silicon, oxygen, etc.) and vacuum-depositing material ...
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