The Astronomy Thread

Mudcrush Durtfeet

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Sometimes I do but it's very obviously a waste of time.
I'm sure it annoys people who can't stand alternate opinions (ie most of the forum).`
I don't know why you would think this. If the moon wasn't just a shithole in a smaller gravity well than earth we would be ignoring the political/legal questions you raise and addressing the economical/technological ones that far surpass them.
Those agreements won't be worth the paper they're printed on if there's an actual good reason to use resources on the moon. It'll be who gets to resources first and/or who has the power to defend what they take.

It hasn't been further address in decades because their is no cheap access to space to enable space industries. Without that, no one is mining anything.
 

Cybsled

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The biggest hurdle to mining/manufacturing on the Moon is not technological, but political/legal. Who "owns" the moon? Who would "own" the things on the moon? Who gets to decide where countries/companies get to set up shop? What happens if two countries/companies want the same spot? These are all issues that need to be ironed out before large scale multi billion dollar investments can start.

I'm sure all of that will get figured out when it comes to it and there is actual profit to be made. Until now, it has been pipe dream fantasy. While we still arent there yet, it feels like it is getting closer.

Antarctica is sort of the same right now - everyone is willing to hold hands and be peaceful because actual exploitation of the resources there arent practical. If there was significant melting and that changed, you would probably see shit come to a head. Space will be the same.
 

sindaael

<Rickshaw Potatoes>
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That damn alien tricked me with his tactics. Made me follow his ways and end up screwing up.
 

meStevo

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Captain Suave

Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris.
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Mine in deep space and just drop the materials down to earth to sell.
Little late to the party on the response, but two major challenges with the idea of asteroid mining for use/sale on Earth:

1) Orbits. The fuel budget get a significant mass from the asteroid belt to Earth's orbit is ruinous. We are orbiting the sun at ~30 km/s. At the altitude of the asteroid belt, the orbital speed is ~19 km/s. So you have to increase the velocity of all the minerals you want to return by 50%. But first you have to slow it down, because you need to drop to Earth's orbit. But then you need to speed it up again to match Earth's velocity or else we'll reenact the extinction of the dinosaurs. And then you'll have to fight Earth's gravity all the way down to the surface to land it in a way that it doesn't vaporize in the atmosphere.

You could minimize fuel use by attempting very small changes in velocity, but then you're waiting decades or centuries for delivery and you still have to figure out how to land the stuff.

2) Economics. If you bring a billion tons of gold to Earth you don't get rich, you've just rendered gold worthless. There's no reward at the end.

As various people have said here, going up and down the gravity well is just horribly inefficient. Minerals in space will remain in space for use in space, and we'll just build mining/fabrication ships that utilize what we need where the mass already is.
 
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Furry

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Little late to the party on the response, but two major challenges with the idea of asteroid mining for use/sale on Earth:

1) Orbits. The fuel budget get a significant mass from the asteroid belt to Earth's orbit is ruinous. We are orbiting the sun at ~30 km/s. At the altitude of the asteroid belt, the orbital speed is ~19 km/s. So you have to increase the velocity of all the minerals you want to return by 50%. But first you have to slow it down, because you need to drop to Earth's orbit. But then you need to speed it up again to match Earth's velocity or else we'll reenact the extinction of the dinosaurs. And then you'll have to fight Earth's gravity all the way down to land it in a way that it doesn't vaporize in the atmosphere.

You could minimize fuel use by attempting very small changes in velocity, but then you're waiting decades or centuries for delivery and you still have to figure out how to land the stuff.

2) Economics. If you bring a billion tons of gold to earth, you don't get rich, you've just rendered gold worthless. There's no reward at the end.

As various people have said here, going up and down the gravity well is just horribly inefficient. Minerals in space will remain in space for use in space, and we'll just build mining/fabrication ships that utilize what we need where the mass already is.

If we were serious about space mining, we'd just start lobbing shit at mars or some other suitable target like the moon. Getting asteroids to planets is a lot easier and requires far less energy then trying to actually put them in a stable orbit. Having a place where we can let the planet do the orbit stabilization for us by taking the body blows is the logical approach to things. Also extremely unlikely to happen because I'm sure someone would want to set up mars as a nature reserve by that time.
 
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Tuco

I got Tuco'd!
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Little late to the party on the response, but two major challenges with the idea of asteroid mining for use/sale on Earth:

1) Orbits. The fuel budget get a significant mass from the asteroid belt to Earth's orbit is ruinous. We are orbiting the sun at ~30 km/s. At the altitude of the asteroid belt, the orbital speed is ~19 km/s. So you have to increase the velocity of all the minerals you want to return by 50%. But first you have to slow it down, because you need to drop to Earth's orbit. But then you need to speed it up again to match Earth's velocity or else we'll reenact the extinction of the dinosaurs. And then you'll have to fight Earth's gravity all the way down to the surface to land it in a way that it doesn't vaporize in the atmosphere.

You could minimize fuel use by attempting very small changes in velocity, but then you're waiting decades or centuries for delivery and you still have to figure out how to land the stuff.

2) Economics. If you bring a billion tons of gold to Earth you don't get rich, you've just rendered gold worthless. There's no reward at the end.

As various people have said here, going up and down the gravity well is just horribly inefficient. Minerals in space will remain in space for use in space, and we'll just build mining/fabrication ships that utilize what we need where the mass already is.
I don't know the physics about it but my favorite version of asteroid mining -> earth is yeeting platinum whiffle balls into the Saraha desert.
 
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Big Phoenix

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As various people have said here, going up and down the gravity well is just horribly inefficient. Minerals in space will remain in space for use in space, and we'll just build mining/fabrication ships that utilize what we need where the mass already is.
Sounds a little like Mercantilism.
 
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Captain Suave

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Sounds a little like Mercantilism.
Except it's not a legal framework, just a practical reality of cost/benefit. We already do or don't import/export any number of things based on cost (although obviously we seem to have mostly figured out global transport to a workable level).

The interesting part will be how we try to monetize anything done in space. Other than tech development it's not going to have a large impact on the quality of life for people on Earth. Even in today's weird advertising economy, at the bottom of the pyramid you have real goods and services sold to real people. Who pays for asteroids to be converted into spaceships? What does that do for us here? I think we should absolutely push whatever frontiers we can manage simply in the name of exploration, but it's going to be a challenge to allocate capital that doesn't have a direct earthly return.

Maybe I'm wrong and we'll have orbital fabrication plants airdropping full-service robots to earth that cost nothing due to free materials and they do all our work and we can all live like kings. That'd be awesome.
 
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Mudcrush Durtfeet

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Hughesnet and Viasat are doing the same thing to Starlink. "It's not fair that they're so much better than us!!!".

Sad Gossip Girl GIF by HBO Max
Generally a lot of internet companies over the world are complaining in this way about SpaceX, more or less.

The US has been trying to encourage internet companies to provide service to rural areas by providing money for some time. Generally it seems the companies take some money in exchange for promising an 'improvement' in rural internet access but generally provide very poor support or none. But with SpaceX going for that money, they now complain using any number of frivolous arguments. It's kind of appalling. I'm glad I'm not rural.
 
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