Daniel Halliday
May 29 · Last update 4 mo. ago.
Should governments and private companies be investing in asteroid mining?
44 of the 118 elements that make up the periodic table (and everything else in the world) are considered endangered and will be in limited supply in coming years. Many of these elements are used in technology and some are vital for life. Should pressure be put on government space programs such as NASA or private companies like SpaceX to look into space for new natural resource frontiers? Or is this an unrealistic solution for a deep rooted environmental issue?
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Astroid mining is unrealistic and distracts us from more down to earth solutions
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There are much bigger global problems than natural resources
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This is the only way forward if we want innovation and technology to improve at its current rate.
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Astroid mining is unrealistic and distracts us from more down to earth solutions

Asteroid mining would be so time, resource and finance consuming that is seems wasteful compared with terrestrial solutions to this resource crisis. Why go to the trouble of building this non-existent technology, and travelling unthinkable distances, when cheaper more realistic technology could be investigated in order to recycle these resources more effectively. Recycling of the, already mined, precious materials that have been put to use and then discarded on a massive scale, would be much less wasteful and a much better outlook to adopt, moving forward.

Biohydrometallurgy is one method proposed, where microorganisms are used to react with and therefore extract precious metal particles from waste water and industrial sludge. Many new forms of technology, specifically biotechnology, require processes and materials that we already have, are commonly used, or that biologically occur naturally. Biotechnology may similarly prove useful in treating forms of pollution and contamination also. Bioremediation techniques involving the use of bacteria, fungi and other micro-organisms to treat environments affected by industrial or chemical contamination. In a similar way we can use resources that already exist to exploit and benefit from natural processes that are less wasteful. Funding and research in this area is also likely to lead to further discovers in this area at a fraction of the cost and time it would take for a viable space mining program.

The only viable future for the human race on this planet is a sustainable one, and being better recyclers, just like Mother Earth, is the best method for that. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1751-7915.12759

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Daniel Halliday
Aug 30
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DH edited this paragraph
The only viable future for the human race on this planet is a sustainable one, and being better recyclers, just like Mother Earth, is the best method for that. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1751-7915.12759
There are much bigger global problems than natural resources

The world is home to some extremely disastrous conditions for humanity, such as war, famine, outbreaks of disease, etc. These human problems should be resolved before undertaking massive vanity projects to boost the economics of individual governments, countries or private companies. It would cost many billions or trillions of any world currency to build a device to journey to an object in space, mine for precious minerals and then reliably bring that back to Earth. Wouldn’t a fraction of that money being siphoned off in order to try and solve some of these humanitarian issues be of much greater use to world peace in the long run?

More worrying then is the actual effect the proposed gains bought about by near-Earth astroid mining could have on stability and the global economy. For example, it is clear already from the minimal surveying of astroids already undertaken, that some contain resources far in excess of anything found in the Earth’s crust. Removing such vast resources and thrusting them into the global economy would with out a doubt cause instability and a market crash. Likewise a fresh injection of raw materials for nations to fight over combined with economic instability may prove to just increase global warfare.

theguardian.com/science/2018/jun/09/asteroid-mining-space-prospectors-precious-resources-fuelling-future-among-stars

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Daniel Halliday
Aug 10
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DH edited this paragraph
More worrying then is the actual effect the proposed gains bought about by near-Earth astroid mining could have on stability and the global economy. For example, it is clear already from the minimal surveying of astroids already undertaken, that some contain resources far in excess of anything found in the Earth’s crust. Removing such vast resources and thrusting them into the global economy would with out a doubt cause instability and a market crash. Likewise a fresh injection of raw materials for nations to fight over combined with economic instability may prove to just increase global warfare.
This is the only way forward if we want innovation and technology to improve at its current rate.

Governments, national space programs and private companies should all be investing in these new mining techniques as it is an investment in a bright innovative future. In fact it is already underway, with Japan’s space agency (Institute of space and astronautical science) deploying the Hayabusa II which recently landed on an asteroid 290 million km away from Earth. Although this is a research mission, it could lead the way for other interests in the future.

Meanwhile companies such as SpaceX are privately pioneering the space transport industry, massively undercutting the price to produce rockets by minimising costs with in-house component building and modular designs. They have developed rockets that can be reused multiple times and are becoming increasingly accurate at landing. They have repeatedly refuelled the International Space Station, and have signed a contract with NASA to develop a reliably transport astronauts to and from the ISS in the future. So it seems that private companies are leading the way currently, and maybe competition is what will drive the massive amount of innovation that is needed to get to the point where mining asteroids is feasible. bbc.com/news/science-environment-44603120

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