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Thread: Can asteroids be harvested?

  1. #1 Can asteroids be harvested? 
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    Why not place money to invest resources into harvesting the belt?

    If all asteroids that are a threat to Earth have been removed, then why not have the means to ensure life doesn't get wiped out?

    I think astronomers predict that an asteroid will hit the Earth in 500,000 years, so this is enough time is it not? lol..


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    The asteroids that are nearest the Sun are mostly made of carbon while the ones further away are made up of silicate rock. The metallicasteroids are composed of up to 80% iron and 20% a mixture of nickel, iridium, palladium, platinum, gold, and other precious metals.

    So will mining them be worthwhile when the majority of them are made up of very little of what is needed? It will take billions to send a rocket to them, then mine it, then send back what we want. I don't think it is very smart to do so.

    Asteroids hit the Earth many times during the year but they are not that big to do much harm. It is those that are very large that Earth must deflect by sending a rocket to it and detonating a weapon which would deflect the asteroid away from Earth. By deflecting it instead of blowing it up ensures us that debris from a blown up one won't be of any concern.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    Asteroid mining will probably be worth doing eventually, but not necessarily to send the material back to Earth. Once there's somewhere else to send it, the fuel savings of not having to drag materials out of the Earth's gravity well will start to make it a lot more economical. Once the infrastructure is in place, we might start sending back some of the most profitable materials back to Earth.

    But yeah, there's no way we'd be able to mine enough to change the chances of impacts in general.
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