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Asteroid mining could be worth trillions

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Sundew

I have to wonder, if meteorites are just smaller versions of asteroids, that is, chucks of asteroids that fragmented early in the Earth's history, it would seem that they would have a similar composition. I remember in my school days there were generally two type of meteorite: stoney and iron. Now iron has value, plain rock, not so much and even iron has relatively little value compared to aluminum, copper and certainly precious metals. And I don't recall hearing of any of gold, platinum, or other rare metals that have been found in meteorites. I do recall they have more Iridium than earth rocks, but no sure of the commercial value of this element or its concentration in space rocks and one was found recently containing diamonds, but whether they are valuable gem quality or more on the industrial grade would determine value. 

I guess my point is, getting into space is not cheap, mining an asteroid will be extremely expensive and, if men do the mining, extremely dangerous. Even robotic mining will be no easy task. And how does one determine which rock to mine? If you land one that is mostly just stone, that's a lot of expense for little reward. But if you found a giant gold or platinum nugget in space, I'm sure the race would be on!

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Jon the frog

Mining in space to build stuff in space, fuelstation, spaceship or outpost can have a big value for Human exploration. Bringing back stuff.... not sure about it.

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and then
6 hours ago, Jon the frog said:

Mining in space to build stuff in space, fuelstation, spaceship or outpost can have a big value for Human exploration. Bringing back stuff.... not sure about it.

I hadn't considered that aspect of their value.  In fact, I thought that if precious metals could be found in abundance in space, the law of supply and demand would actually drive the values down.

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Noteverythingisaconspiracy
Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, and then said:

I hadn't considered that aspect of their value.  In fact, I thought that if precious metals could be found in abundance in space, the law of supply and demand would actually drive the values down.

That is probably what is going to happen. We have seen it time and time again. As an example gold is valuable because it is rare, if it becomes common it will be a lot less valuable. Once upon a time aluminium was more valuable than gold, but then we developed cheaper ways to make it and today it is a very common material. Supply and demand indeed.

Edited by Noteverythingisaconspiracy
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Waspie_Dwarf
1 hour ago, Noteverythingisaconspiracy said:

That is probably what is going to happen. We have seen it time and time again. As an example gold is valuable because it is rare, if it becomes common it will be a lot less valuable. Once upon a time aluminium was more valuable than gold, but then we developed cheaper ways to make it and today it is a very common material. Supply and demand indeed.

There are two components to demand and supply. The assumption that increased supply forces prices down is only correct if demand is stable.

Your example of gold is a prime example of the over simplification in your logic. Gold is increasingly used in electronics, the computer or mobile phone you are reading this post on will contain gold. As demand for electronics increases so does the demand for gold, forcing the price up and making asteroid mining for it ever more economically viable.

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paperdyer

Supply and demand only works in a completely free market with everyone playing by the same rules.  As you said Waspie, the demand needs to be stable.  As long as the supply can be controlled by Buying lithium mines and shutting them down to create a shortage, as the Chinese did when they purchased a lithium mine in Australia and then closed it. I'm not saying that wasn't a shrewd business move, just manipulating the market due to demand.  The best thing that could happen would be to find lithium carbonate on an asteroid and mine it and send the carbonate down to be processed into lithium hydroxide, lithium metal and other salts.The next best thing would be for BASF and their partners to quickly develop the car battery that doesn't need lithium as announced in the middle of 2017.

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Noteverythingisaconspiracy
On 23/4/2018 at 2:45 PM, Waspie_Dwarf said:

There are two components to demand and supply. The assumption that increased supply forces prices down is only correct if demand is stable.

Your example of gold is a prime example of the over simplification in your logic. Gold is increasingly used in electronics, the computer or mobile phone you are reading this post on will contain gold. As demand for electronics increases so does the demand for gold, forcing the price up and making asteroid mining for it ever more economically viable.

Its one of those cases where I really hope I'm wrong. :P

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