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Thread: Midas asteroid

  1. #1
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    Midas asteroid

    One of my freinds is claiming that astronomers have discovered a "Midas asteroid" that's been spectroscopically determined to be over 90% gold. Is there any truth to this? Is such a thing even possible?

  2. #2
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    I did a quick search, and found some woo-woo astrology book that says something about how the asteroid is supposed to make you rich... but that has nothing to do with, well, anything.

    1981 Midas is a near-Earth asteroid.

    Also, there is a MIDAS spectographic survey of asteroids, but I don't see where they've measured 1981 Midas.

  3. #3
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    Re: Midas asteroid

    Quote Originally Posted by TinFoilHat
    One of my freinds is claiming that astronomers have discovered a "Midas asteroid" that's been spectroscopically determined to be over 90% gold. Is there any truth to this? Is such a thing even possible?
    Well, 90% is awfully high, but it's definitely possible that there are A LOT of precious metals in asteroids. HERE is a 1999 article in BBC News, which says....
    Eros is believed to have been formed from the wreckage of a collision with a larger body. Its composition appears to be similar to the stony meteorites that frequently fall to Earth.

    That means Eros is a goldmine in space, as well as a platinum mine, a zinc mine and many more minerals besides.

    If Eros is typical of stony meteorites, then it contains about 3% metal. With the known abundance's of metals in meteorites, even a very cautious estimate suggests 20,000 million tonnes of aluminium along with similar amounts of gold, platinum and other rarer metals.
    That's more precious metals than have ever been excavated in the history of our planet. Total estimated value of Eros? About $20 trillion.

    All those sci-fi movies you see that have space miners? Not too far-fetched!
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  4. #4
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    Re: Midas asteroid

    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar
    Quote Originally Posted by TinFoilHat
    One of my freinds is claiming that astronomers have discovered a "Midas asteroid" that's been spectroscopically determined to be over 90% gold. Is there any truth to this? Is such a thing even possible?
    Well, 90% is awfully high, but it's definitely possible that there are A LOT of precious metals in asteroids. HERE is a 1999 article in BBC News, which says....
    Eros is believed to have been formed from the wreckage of a collision with a larger body. Its composition appears to be similar to the stony meteorites that frequently fall to Earth.

    That means Eros is a goldmine in space, as well as a platinum mine, a zinc mine and many more minerals besides.

    If Eros is typical of stony meteorites, then it contains about 3% metal. With the known abundance's of metals in meteorites, even a very cautious estimate suggests 20,000 million tonnes of aluminium along with similar amounts of gold, platinum and other rarer metals.
    That's more precious metals than have ever been excavated in the history of our planet. Total estimated value of Eros? About $20 trillion.

    All those sci-fi movies you see that have space miners? Not too far-fetched!
    IIRC, they also require minimal processing to extract the ores, which are comparatively pure. I think I recall reading something by Zubrin where he got quite excited over this point.

  5. #5
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    NASA just needs to make a NEAR 2 with a big honkin' rocket (or even just an ion drive) and nudge that into geosynch orbit (if at all possible). With that sort of value, it could fund everything NASA wants to do for the next fifty years.

    EDIT: Googled to answer my questions for my own lazy self.

  6. #6
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    The energy required to put it in orbit round Earth would be very great, unless it can be nudged by a few offset nuclear explosions into a position where the Earth could capture it; this is quite unlikely, Ishould think.

    More feasible would be a manned or automated mining mission in situ; smaller portions of somewhat processed material could be catapulted towards Earth orbit more easily than a whole asteroid.

    Probably you would need to have the first few missions manned while an automated system of mining was established, then have maintenance visits at intervals.

    A particular benefit of an asteroid mining strategy is that the mining company would be liable for any planetary impacts;
    given enough warning, a relatively small application of thrust could avoid a collision.

  7. #7
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    Ever read Jules Verne's The Chase of the Golden Meteor?

  8. #8
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    Nope.

    I wonder if any mining company could afford to pay 20 trillion dollars for mining rights for Eros.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Betenoire
    I wonder if any mining company could afford to pay 20 trillion dollars for mining rights for Eros.
    Who, exactly, would they be paying for them? Seems to me that if you can get to an asteroid and set up a mining facility, it's not likely that anyone complaining that you're mining their asteroid will have much of a case.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinFoilHat
    Quote Originally Posted by Betenoire
    I wonder if any mining company could afford to pay 20 trillion dollars for mining rights for Eros.
    Who, exactly, would they be paying for them? Seems to me that if you can get to an asteroid and set up a mining facility, it's not likely that anyone complaining that you're mining their asteroid will have much of a case.
    Funny you should say that, I happen to be in the position to sell these to you, complete with certificate, for a reasonable sum and I'll even throw in a beach hut on Jupiter.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinFoilHat
    Quote Originally Posted by Betenoire
    I wonder if any mining company could afford to pay 20 trillion dollars for mining rights for Eros.
    Who, exactly, would they be paying for them? Seems to me that if you can get to an asteroid and set up a mining facility, it's not likely that anyone complaining that you're mining their asteroid will have much of a case.
    Until Sea Launch is reborn (*snicker*) NASA and the Russians control the ground to orbit portion. If Russia and NASA collaborate, they each get 50% of however much the miners are paying in fees. Or NASA just sends its own miners, which would be far more cost efficient.

  12. #12
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    Heres the object Id like to lay claim to. Not sure about the gold content, but the nickel and iron should yield a profit.


    http://www.geocities.com/zlipanov/se...kleopatra.html


    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary..._20000504.html

  13. #13
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    I hereby claim Eros in the name of The Commonwealth of Erigena.

    Thole the Pain!

  14. #14
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    FWIW We are already mining at least one asteroid and have been doing so for over 100 years. Half of the world's nickel comes from an asteroid that hit the Earth nearly two billion years ago, just north of what is now Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. It is also the source of most of the world's platinum.

  15. #15
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    With that much raw material what effect would that have on the market? I imagine it will be good for some but many Earth-bound industries might not be able to compete and survive.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eroica
    I hereby claim Eros in the name of The Commonwealth of Erigena.

    Thole the Pain!
    And if NASA jumps your claim, how are you going to chase them off before they get squatter's rights?

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