DailyDirt: Rockets, Man

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

International space races don't quite inspire the same awe or fear as they did in the 1960s. There are a bunch of countries still trying to launch rockets into orbit for various reasons, but there are also quite a few commercial and amateur organizations working on space-worthy rockets. Here are just a few examples. By the way, StumbleUpon can also recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.


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    Markus Hopkins (profile), Apr 18th, 2012 @ 4:57pm

    And then there's Planetary Resources

    Rumor on the street is that Diamandis, Simonyi, Schmidt and co. want to mine asteroids.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/27776/

     

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      The Moondoggie, Apr 18th, 2012 @ 5:14pm

      Re: And then there's Planetary Resources

      That's interesting.

      But just imagine how much money they'll need. They need to reserch on the ff key points:

      1. Detect which asteroid/planet/moon has the target resources.
      2. How to mine the asteroids/planet/moon.
      3. How to get all the mined stuff back here.

      KickStarter can't fund this.

       

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        Markus Hopkins (profile), Apr 18th, 2012 @ 6:37pm

        Re: Re: And then there's Planetary Resources

        In the reading I've done in the last few minutes, it looks like your step 3 may not be part of the calculus at all. The mined material may be used "in situ" to help on our way to exploring/colonizing/monetizing the solar system. I will say though that Diamandis has mentioned funding such a project by speculating in the markets that such mining might impact (in a TED talk), so maybe he does intend to get the stuff back here (if that's even what this is all about).

        I agree that steps 1 and 2 are problematic, but it at least looks like we have some sense of what the rough makeup of many of the asteroids are, and what it will take to reach them, even if not economically feasible under any existing models.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2012 @ 6:53pm

        Re: Re: And then there's Planetary Resources

        Did you saw Cowboys & Aliens? If you did, you saw the aliens floating the gold out of the mines.

        Here is and DIY induction furnace melting aluminum suspended on air.

        Youtube: induction heater levitation melting aluminum

        Magnetism is such a beautiful thing :)

         

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        Rekrul, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 6:35am

        Re: Re: And then there's Planetary Resources

        You forgot point 4;

        4. Prevent the extinction of the human race from alien bacteria.

        I've seen enough movies to know that bringing aliens rocks back to Earth never ends well! ;)

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 10:59am

          Re: Re: Re: And then there's Planetary Resources

          How many versions of the Andromeda Strains have you seen so far?

           

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      Michael Ho (profile), Apr 18th, 2012 @ 5:17pm

      Re: And then there's Planetary Resources

      Mining the moon for helium isotopes might be a bit more practical -- unless there are some nearby asteroids made up of really valuable materials?

       

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        Markus Hopkins (profile), Apr 18th, 2012 @ 6:32pm

        Re: Re: And then there's Planetary Resources

        While we'll find out more next Tuesday about the nature of the company, I did a little follow up reading on asteroid mining. This section of the Asteroid Mining wikipedia article (along with a few other sections/pages), seems to raise the possibility that in "the near future" asteroid mining might be feasible, and specifically, NEO's might be a better option than the moon due to the lower gravitational propellent costs:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_mining#Asteroid_selection

        However, this is just quick and dirty research, and the source cited by wikipedia is not one I'm familiar with, and also seems to have "this is possible!" leanings.

         

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        Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 18th, 2012 @ 7:27pm

        Re: And then there's Planetary Resources

        Most of the energy cost in a rocket mission is simply leaving the Earth. Once you’re out there, I don’t think there’s much energy difference between going to the Moon versus going to an asteroid. Might be slightly more energy needed to go to the Moon, simply because of its greater gravitational field.

         

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    Torg (profile), Apr 18th, 2012 @ 6:14pm

    I like the contrast between the first and second articles. Brightest minds in North Korea build rocket, explodes a minute into flight. Undergraduates in America building rocket, expected to reach space.

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 18th, 2012 @ 7:24pm

    “thinly-disguised test for a long-range missile”

    I’m no fan of the North Koreans, but propaganda is propaganda, even when it’s coming from the US. By definition, any rocket capable of reaching orbit is capable of reaching far-away points on the Earth’s surface.

    Remember the US’s early rocket launches? The Redstone and Atlas rockets were explicitly designed to launch ICBMs, no “thinly-disguised” about it! Yet both went on to serve peaceful purposes as well, launching Mercury and Gemini manned missions into space.

    You have this mindset that your country is always implicitly the “good guys”, that a military capability is good when you possess it, but bad when someone else has it. The world has never revolved around the US. Deal with it.

     

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      abc gum, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 4:25am

      Re: “thinly-disguised test for a long-range missile”

      I think the issue here is who owns the trademark on "thinly-disguised". Certainly there is a vast quantity of prior art and many who proclaim they were the "first to bullshit". Needless to say, this particular Government Model Patent will be in the courts for some time.

       

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