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Planetary Resources Kickstarter Meets Its Initial Goal

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the glad-we-gave-those-billionaires-a-million-bucks dept.

Space 99

symbolset writes "Most of you know about Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company, and their Kickstarter campaign in the finest spirit of Heinlein's The Man Who Sold the Moon. The campaign has reached its minimum $1M goal to get funded with eight days left to go. In celebration, PR's CEO and Chief Asteroid Miner Chris Lewicki does an interview with Forbes where he discusses the future opportunities, the potential pitfalls, and the unlimited potential of private sector space exploitation. It's well worth the read. Planetary Resources' kickstarter has some worthy stretch goals that are well worth looking at, and the sort of supporter premiums that many Slashdotters will not want to miss. Only $175,000 more and they get a second ground station, at $2M they add exoplanet search capability. Both of these stretch goals are within reach."

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How about sea floor mining instead. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082503)

There plenty of countries that don't care to pay to UN taxes for sea mining and what's the UN going to do sue you??? Impose sanctions?? Go to war??? No, I'd put my money on sea floor mining first off shore of third world countries.

How about sea floor mining also (-1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44082599)

Japan is mining their sea floor for Methane Hydrates [nationalgeographic.com] to replace their proven unreliable nuclear plants and get some home-grown carbon fuels instead of importing coal. Apparently globally this resource is an order of magnitude more than all the oil, coal and natural gas ever discovered. Warmists aren't going to be happy with this answer though as it's a carbon fuel.

Re:How about sea floor mining also (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44083035)

Oh boy, the first recovery of a solid that needs drilled out of the bottom of the sea. Yes cheap and easy energy will surely be flowing soon.

Re:How about sea floor mining also (4, Insightful)

killkillkill (884238) | about a year ago | (#44084133)

When exactly were the nuclear plants proven unreliable? One was proven unreliable under the specific condition of being hit by a 50 ft wall of ocean.

My car has had nothing but scheduled maintenance in its 150k life, but it's probably unreliable because it probably wouldn't survive if it got hit by a semi.

Re:How about sea floor mining also (1)

SirAdelaide (1432553) | about a year ago | (#44088703)

No, that plant was proven to be very reliable. It survived a severe earthquake and began automatically shutting down before the tsunami hit.

It was designed to withstand tsunamis, just not one as big as actually occurred. When hit by the over design limit tsunami, it suffered damage but did not fail dangerously. No one was killed, and radiation tests show that the only people to be exposed to significant radiation levels were site workers, none of which received a fatal dose.

So, if a nuclear power plant can safely shut down after such natural disasters, it shows that nuclear power is very safe. The engineers who designed that plant should be commended.

Sources:
Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_effects_from_Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster)

Preliminary dose-estimation reports by the World Health Organization and United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation indicate that 167 plant workers received radiation doses that slightly elevate their risk of developing cancer, but that it may not be statistically detectable. Estimated effective doses from the accident outside of Japan are considered to be below (or far below) the dose levels regarded as very small by the international radiological protection community.

World Nuclear News (http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/rs_fear_and_stress_outweigh_fukushima_radiation_risk_3105131.html)

The most extensive international report to date has concluded that the only observable health effects from the Fukushima accident stem from the stresses of evacuation and unwarranted fear of radiation.

Re:How about sea floor mining instead. (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44084055)

I miss Seaquest too.

Re:How about sea floor mining instead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44089525)

man I thought that too until I rewatched a bunch on netflix; Even the filter of nostalgia couldn't save that acting now that I'm older.

This is odd (1)

aflag (941367) | about a year ago | (#44082531)

Just a few days ago (when it was published on theoatmeal.com) I visited that campaign and it was a few thousands of dolars (around 15k, if I recall correctly). Now, Not more than a week later it reached 1,1 million? The number of people who supported it hasn't grown that much from that time. I don't recall the exact figure, unfortunately. I don't know, it just seems kinda fishy. They started the project may, 29 and they've got a little over 10k. Now, after a few days, they got to 1,1 million? Maybe oatmeal public really generous. However, there were only 2.5k likes on that particular comic. Something is not right.

Re:This is odd (5, Interesting)

LordNimon (85072) | about a year ago | (#44082559)

You must be remembering it wrong. Kicktraq shows steady progress over the project, and a surge of backers about three days ago:

http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/1458134548/arkyd-a-space-telescope-for-everyone-0/#chart-daily [kicktraq.com]

Re:This is odd (1)

aflag (941367) | about a year ago | (#44082577)

I guess... I gotta believe in what the system say. However, I'm pretty sure it was very low a few days ago. I even commented it with my brother. Maybe it was a glitch or something like that.

Re:This is odd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082909)

I've been following since the beginning. They were at 50% of their goal in 48 hours. If you look through the news articles listed on the kicktraq link you can see, through the articles and the dates listed, the climb. I would not be surprised if there was a glitch though. The page tends to have issues with updating the counter some times.

Re:This is odd (1)

Splab (574204) | about a year ago | (#44083025)

Why do you think there is a correlation between likes on the oatmeal and how much funding that project gets?

Re:This is odd (1)

aflag (941367) | about a year ago | (#44089387)

I think it has a correlation on how much funding the project gets through oatmeal users, because I think a person who donates will usually like it too. I said that do debunk the hypothesis that oatmeal posting was the reason I thought it grew so fast. However, it has been stabilish that I probably experienced a glitch or bad memory.

Re:This is odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082595)

They seem to have raised a bunch for a Tesla museam after their NSFW profile of him.

What's with the exoplanet telescope..? (2)

Maritz (1829006) | about a year ago | (#44082565)

I don't see the connect between trying to monetise resources in space and building a Kepler 2. They seem like completely divergent goals.

With respect to the second point I'd prefer to see something like the Terrestial Planet Finder [wikipedia.org] but whatever.

Good luck to them, there's a lot of useful stuff up there and you don't need to worry about leaving a mess.

Re:What's with the exoplanet telescope..? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082629)

It's because no one will mine asteroids. This is such an absurd goal that the only thing they can do is provide some smoke and mirrors.

Re:What's with the exoplanet telescope..? (4, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44082671)

The asteroid Ceres contains more water than all the fresh water on Earth - in a low-G environment. Water, for those who don't know, is rocket fuel once the Hydrogen atoms have been separated from the Oxygen. In addition to that, hydrogen is one of the many preferred reaction masses for ion engines. Water is also drinkable and useful as a source of breathable air. A reliable source of water in low-G is what we need to kick off exploration of the solar system, and Ceres is it.

Re:What's with the exoplanet telescope..? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082725)

You read a lot of science fiction and think you understand science fact.

Re:What's with the exoplanet telescope..? (2)

Maritz (1829006) | about a year ago | (#44086721)

Be more specific with your criticism, blowhard Slashdot armchair expert. I don't have a clue how much water is on Ceres but water is an essential resource in space operations for many of the reasons he mentions. Maybe you could stand to learn something yourself (unthinkable I know).

Re:What's with the exoplanet telescope..? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082737)

Humans usually have brain tissue in their skull. Brain tissue allows processing of reality. In your case, your skull contains the vacuum you worship. I'm amazed you didn't throw in some "mud ball" or "this rock" references, or talk about how the species is doomed. I guess even Space Nutters take Saturdays off.

There are a lot of ACs opposed to this idea (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44082781)

What's up with that? Did you all have a meeting and decide this is a bad thing?

Re:There are a lot of ACs opposed to this idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082807)

It's an utterly unrealistic and unfeasible thing. Just stringing words together in a sequence has no effect on the real world. There is no technology to do any of the things you describe. If we did, we'd just use that technology right here on Earth and we won't have any of the shortages you think we have. Like Sagan said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The evidence is that in the decades after we went to the Moon, nothing more has happened. Ask yourself why, and you should arrive at the same conclusion I have.

Space is dead, it's empty, and no combination of known technologies and energy sources can achieve even 1% of the sci-fi scenarios.

It's over. The human race will continue HERE. Right here, nowhere else. Get used to it.

Despite what you ACs think (3, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44082933)

NASA thinks it's a good enough idea to send a probe out there.

If Man doesn't leave Earth then it will be our grave. Man will end. That is not in any way controversial, deniable or disputable. ALL the experts agree, not just 97%. If Man does leave Earth our galaxy at least is ours to claim: 200 billion times all the world. That's a lot of upside for the cost, evading the downside of not doing it notwithstanding.

The only argument against this are nihilistic notions that Man needs to end.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about a year ago | (#44082959)

If our spending goals are going to be determined by science fiction movies and the possibility of the earth coming to an end (after a few billion years of chugging along), perhaps we should instead be trying to insert ourselves into alternate dimensions. Like the Mirror-World from Star Trek, where everybody has a goatee.

You could post things like "the only reason not to insert ourselves into alternate realities, is a nihilistic belief that mankind shouldn't outlive our current reality."

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44082993)

That Man will end if we don't escape Earth is not only a possibility. It is a certainty. It WILL occur. There is no doubt whatsoever about this. The end date is not a billion years hence. It may be only a few thousand. It could be next year, or tomorrow.

Against that, what is money?

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44083015)

Calculate the odds. The earth is 124,185,000,000 days old (more or less), and you mention the possibility that the earth will end tomorrow.

There's other risks even greater to the survival of the human species. What about environmental catastrophe, or an especially virulent strain of the mumps?

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44083083)

I did calculate the odds. Once Man is ended we get to roll the dice no more. That makes the probability irrelevant. Some stuff you don't gamble with.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44086039)

There have been 5 major extinction events, and 18 minor extinction events over that time.

While humanity may be able to survive a minor extinction event, it may impact our ability to colonize space and effectively terraform hostile environments.

So let's just say that there's a 0.9999999998 probability that tomorrow will be just another ordinary day.
Or 0.99999993 chance of another ordinary year.
0.99993 chance of an uneventful millennium.
0.93 chance of a safe million years.
0.51 chance of a safe 2 million years.

And that's just events that affect MULTIPLE species.

As a species, Homo sapiens is about 200000 years old. We have ALREADY lived through a minor extinction event that reduced the breeding population to as few as 3000-15000 individuals around 50k-70k years ago (theorized to be the result of an extended volcanic winter from Toba supervolcano).

We don't have 4 billion years to diversify.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44083743)

I think you need to study probability some more.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

Maritz (1829006) | about a year ago | (#44086757)

As a criticism, this is total wank. You could have banged a gong to express that point. It would be more profound. Say something or say nothing.

This is the AC who labels anyone not in favour of immediate cessation of any and all above-atmosphere activities as 'space nutters'.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44083041)

You will die too. Are you for life extension technology? Why or why not? And what makes you so concerned about the whole species, and what makes you think anyone else cares what you think? Glorious romantic notions you have, you were born about 150 years too late, you belong in the middle of the 19th century. Such passion! Such pain! Grow up!

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

Maritz (1829006) | about a year ago | (#44086767)

Your opinions (they are opinions despite what you think) are dull. Profoundly fucking dull.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1, Insightful)

dAzED1 (33635) | about a year ago | (#44084607)

I absolutely promise you that your daily life is inconsistent with what you're saying here. I don't even know you, and I can still say that without fear of being wrong. There's the challenge: do you personally live your life 100% to the benefit of the continuation of the species, regardless anything that might happen to you personally?

Re:Despite what you ACs think (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44083153)

Looks like we spotted ourselves a full-on Space Nutter tonight, in fine form indeed: end of the world doom and gloom, certainty of the end, but only space will save us. Anyone who thinks Space Nutters are a figment of my imagination really needs to follow this lunatic's posts. One can only hope he gets the attention of a mental health professional, the sooner the better.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44083667)

You really shouldn't base your proposals on science fiction movies then.

In the real world, we have absolutely no reason to believe that mirror worlds exist. Or time travel, which could be (depending on the version of the theory) used to ensure a perpetually branching unlimited existence, say, somewhen in the Paleogene era.

We do however know that our current planet has an expiration date, and that there is a huge number of colonisable planets. And I mean really huge, as technology in only 200 years (compare with tech around 1800, e.g. Napoleonic Wars) will probably enable us to live on anything remotely earth-like (once we figure out how to get there...).
We have to start at some point. It's ultimately very useful, and right now more useful than most of the things we're doing. Why not spend a comparatively tiny amount to start now?

captcha: recall

Re:Despite what you ACs think (0)

aflag (941367) | about a year ago | (#44082963)

You will die, I will die. Who cares if the human race is still there in a million years? It makes no sense.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44130831)

You will die, I will die. Who cares if the human race is still there in a million years?

I care. I would like my children not only to survive me, but to travel. I would like Mankind to persist until we unfurl our fuller potential.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082983)

"NASA thinks it's a good enough idea to send a probe out there. "

Sending a probe is a bit different from the mega-scale engineering you were taking about.

"If Man doesn't leave Earth then it will be our grave. Man will end. That is not in any way controversial, deniable or disputable. ALL the experts agree, not just 97%. If Man does leave Earth our galaxy at least is ours to claim: 200 billion times all the world. That's a lot of upside for the cost, evading the downside of not doing it notwithstanding. "

That's a religion. Man will end anyways because evolution is still happening. There were no humans a million years ago, and there won't be any in a million years. And?

And can you find me these "Experts" you are talking about? Surely it must be easy to cite these people? What makes them experts? Experts at what? Doomsday scenarios for angsty kids raised on sci-fi? Can you tell me what credentials these "experts" have? Just repeating your doomsday religion doesn't make them experts.

"The only argument against this are nihilistic notions that Man needs to end."

How about the argument that no such technology as you describe exists or will exist? What then? Are you so engaged into your fantasies you are unable to entertain that notion?

Re:Despite what you ACs think (3, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44083039)

And can you find me these "Experts" you are talking about?

Will Stephen Hawking [dvice.com] do?

"our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain lurking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space." - Stephen Hawking

Re:Despite what you ACs think (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#44084137)

I guess it depends on what you mean by "long term". Obviously the sun will eventually get too hot, and then obviously we can't survive on earth, but we still got a billion years until that happens. If it's at all possible for us to leave this planet, We'll do it before our time is up. We've only been around for 100,000 years, and only had science for a few hundred years at that. We've come a long way in a very short time, and we shouldn't run around spending all our resources on getting off the planet when there's such a very little chance of anything happening in the near future. We should really be focusing our efforts on making this planet more livable and not destroying way before we should have. If we manage stuff properly on earth, we'll be quiet well off for the "long term", and we'll have plenty of time to figure out how to get off the earth in the next million years or so.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44089615)

You are being idealistic. Whether or not we destroy our planet is not in the hands of Planetary Resources. Getting people off the planet might be, so that's what they are doing the groundwork for. They are also not spending all our ressources on it....

You can start working on "managing stuff properly on earth" though, if you like.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about a year ago | (#44098633)

we'll have plenty of time to figure out how to get off our planet in the next million years or so.

Famous last words.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44130251)

Stephen Hawking's most popular work is "A Brief History of Time [wikipedia.org] ", wherein he discusses the birth and death of the Universe and current science's understanding of its potentially cyclical nature. What did you mean by "long term?" because I think he's handled all six ends of that.

Earth has limited resources. Man must find an offworld home he can thrive on before they are used up. Else: the End. That end of resources will be not in the billions of years when the sun swallows the Earth, but before my grandson - already born - dies of old age. I may get to see if we turn the corner or turn away in my lifetime.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44085893)

Stephen Hawking is not qualified to talk about that. It's just his opinion, just as valid as mine. You are just stamp-collecting quotes to support your doomsday scenario. You're not much different than a Jehovah's Witness going door to door.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

Maritz (1829006) | about a year ago | (#44086803)

False equivalence. A Jehovah banging on about revelation is talking about fairy tales. The biosphere and in turn our species faces various, largely remote, but existential threats. Personally I think it could be centuries before we have significant presence off Earth, but your attitude is hilarious and basically boils down to space = bad. Let's not bother looking for near earth asteroids either eh? Don't forget to label me a 'space nutter' to prop up your tremendously weak and fallacious argument. Oh and question my sanity too. Whatever you do, don't address the actual argument.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44130309)

The opinion of AC is void. The opinion of Stephen Hawking, a cripple trapped in a body that will not obey but with a remarkable mind that must choose the important things to convey - I'm going to give some weight to that. Not only is he one of the greatest minds of our time, but he has to convey to us only the most important things through the limited interface that he has. He has plenty of time to reflect on best way to convey his wisdom. You, you puke on your keyboard and expect us to give equal weight to the random keypresses of your effluent as if it might have some value.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44083221)

The experts may agree, but the vast majority are not experts. Remember that more than half of the population of the US believes the world was created six thousand years ago. Experts don't make decisions, politicians do, and politicians represent the people. If the people are a bunch of uneducated hicks convinced that Jesus is going to descent from on high Any Day Now, why would they plan more than a few years ahead?

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1, Insightful)

dAzED1 (33635) | about a year ago | (#44084589)

how about the argument that "man" as a species is less important than all the "men" that actually exist? If you have to break the backs of several generations just to have the slight possibility that someone whose unborn great great great great great grandchild might get to land on some other rock...

It would be exponentially less expensive, comparatively immediate, and help real, tangible (versus the intangible concept of "man") if we cleaned up a place (Earth) that is already 99.99999% ideal for our species, versus trying to take some other rock which doesn't even have an atmosphere, and tera-forming it for the benefit of a tiny handful of people.

Re:Despite what you ACs think (1)

Ost99 (101831) | about a year ago | (#44099007)

False choice.
We should do both.

Re:There are a lot of ACs opposed to this idea (2)

ardor (673957) | about a year ago | (#44083767)

No shortages if we only mine on Earth? Have you ever heard about rare earth metals, and the considerable difficulty to mine them? In addition, the single biggest source for these metals is China. The rest of the world is hoarding rare earth metals as much as they can due to Chinas increased regulation. There are asteroids out there that have enormous amounts of these metals.

In fact, many metals are expected to be exhausted in this century. Sure, you can recycle them, but consider the effect this has on the economy and political stability.

The potential benefits clearly outweigh the risks. Even more so when comparing projected costs with those for military operations, for example.

Re:There are a lot of ACs opposed to this idea (2, Informative)

chill (34294) | about a year ago | (#44084077)

Uh,no. Not even close.

Rare Earth elements aren't "rare", in that there isn't a lot of them. They just don't lump together in easily mineable concentrations. The United States, Russia and Australia (at least) have mega-craploads of rare-earth elements. It is just cheaper to source them from China.

Educate thyself and read paragraph two.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rare_earth_element [wikipedia.org]

Re:There are a lot of ACs opposed to this idea (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#44084151)

Well, maybe it isn't rare, but if it's hard to get at then it's effectively the same thing. There' a lot of hydrogen out there, so why not use it to create tons of cheap electricity. Maybe because it's tied up in water (and other substances), and hard to extract. If the way that "rare earth elements" happen to exist in our earths crust makes them hard to mine in sizable quantities, then it would probably make sense to find a cheaper source. If they happen to accumulate better in asteroids for some reason, then it might make sense to mine them there. At the very least, if the processing plant was off-planet, we wouldn't have to worry about mucking up our own environment to get at them.

Re:There are a lot of ACs opposed to this idea (3, Insightful)

ardor (673957) | about a year ago | (#44084171)

From the same page:

"New demand has recently strained supply, and there is growing concern that the world may soon face a shortage of the rare earths.[19] In several years from 2009 worldwide demand for rare earth elements is expected to exceed supply by 40,000 tonnes annually unless major new sources are developed. "

"As a result of the increased demand and tightening restrictions on exports of the metals from China, some countries are stockpiling rare earth resources."

Also, I did not say that there aren't many of them. I said there are considerable difficulties in mining them. Which is probably the main reason why China is the supplier no.1 . There is a lot of stuff dispersed amongst the oceans, too, it is just unfeasible to extract it (yet).

There is nothing wrong with pursuing asteroid mining, just like there isn't anything wrong with trying to come up with new technologies to extract rare earths better, or make collection from elements in the ocean more practical. I firmly oppose this view that just because X does not either immediately yield any gains or has no 100% guarantee of suceeding it is pointless. If you think the invested money could be used elsewhere better, why not yank money off yet another weapons development project, which cost orders of magnitude more than three asteroid mining programs?

Re:There are a lot of ACs opposed to this idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44084881)

I think the reason everyone buys from China is that mining these things has a significant environmental cost. The west seems content to let China pollute the crap out of itself to provide them. It's a variant of NIMBY.

No, it's not over (3, Interesting)

Su27K (652607) | about a year ago | (#44083827)

1. People like you thought airplane or moon landing are unrealistic and unfeasible, but they're wrong
2. Just because there's no technology to do it now, doesn't mean there won't be technology to do it in the foreseeable future. This is what PR is doing, developing the technology.
3. And who says the developed technology won't be used on earth too, it can benefit both earth based mining and asteroid mining. The material from asteroid is not meant for Earth anyway.
4. The extraordinary claim is not we'll be mining asteroid, it's the claim that "It's over, and we're going nowhere"
5. Space may be dead for you, but the kickstarter campaign proves it lives on in many people's hearts, so go ahead and drown in self-pity, we got asteroids to mine.

Re:There are a lot of ACs opposed to this idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44085871)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/10/nasa_fusion_engine_fast_mars_trip/

Yes, I know the engine hasn't been built.

The costs of space exploration will go down over time. If we can get humans to Mars for $10-20 billion, then there will be enough will to do it. As for asteroid mining, let private enterprise try and fail if you think it's impossible or improbable.

Re:There are a lot of ACs opposed to this idea (2)

ardor (673957) | about a year ago | (#44083793)

My guess: either a troll, or a guy with a very narrow view of things incapable of long-term thinking. Unfortunately, there are many of the latter.

These are the people who regularly say that research without a clear and easy-to-understand goal is useless, completely ignoring the fact that especially basic research often cannot have a clear goal (usually that happens in applied research).

Likewise, here, if a project does not immediately deliver a nice spaceship with which you can zip comfortably to an asteroid, grab it, and bring back, it is all pointless, nonsense, etc.

An example of one of the ACs: "There is no technology to do any of the things you describe." . The whole POINT of projects like these is to eventually come up with such technologies. This should be obvious, but apparently isn't to these people.

Re:What's with the exoplanet telescope..? (2)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44082799)

This [lolroflmao.com] is exactly what the asteroid mining dream is like.

Re:What's with the exoplanet telescope..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44089481)

The asteroid Ceres contains more water than all the fresh water on Earth - in a low-G environment. Water, for those who don't know, is rocket fuel once the Hydrogen atoms have been separated from the Oxygen.

...and separating Hydrogen from Oxygen in the water takes as much energy as recombining them will produce, plus the bit you'll waste in inefficiency in each of the conversions. Conservation of energy is clearly not something you've been taught because you're rambling gibberish. Learn some science.

Re:What's with the exoplanet telescope..? (1)

Ost99 (101831) | about a year ago | (#44099029)

In space the rocket fuel is an energy carrier, not an energy source. Just like here on earth.
The energy cost in space is negligible compared to the cost of transporting the fuel out of earths gravity well.

"water is rocket fuel once..." (1)

Herve5 (879674) | about a year ago | (#44095921)

Sure.

"Once Hydrogen atoms have been separated from the Oxygen".

Which is why I store water to fuel my car. For I'll then become a millionaire,

"Once Hydrogen atoms have been separated from the Oxygen".

Ah yes, and also :

"useful as a source of breathable air".

Of course,

"Once Hydrogen atoms have been separated from the Oxygen".

Separated miraculously, with for instance a small solar panel, which will create fuel at such a rate that it'll recover the actual fuel that was needed to just bring it on location in less than two or three years.

"Once Hydrogen atoms have been separated from the Oxygen".

How can you be so naive?
And you are both a "friend" and "friend of friend" here on /...

Re:"water is rocket fuel once..." (1)

Ost99 (101831) | about a year ago | (#44099045)

Rocket fuel is not a source of energy, it's an energy carrier.

Re:What's with the exoplanet telescope..? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44082651)

Exoplanet observations involve both high resolution and timing. You have to steadily observe a star in order to observe the "dips" in light that it projects to "see" a planet transit. You have to image the star frequently at high resolution to observe the "wobble" that implies a heavy planet. While imaging the same spot is also a useful goal in finding and categorizing asteroids - particularly distant and small ones - adding the goal to the project involves extra work that must be funded.

If it were a simple matter of comparing all the world's observatories' published images and comparing them to see how the stars wobble and fade, which dots move, Google would have done it already and catalogued all the rocks in a 3d viewer you could browse with ads as you watch them collide with solar system bodies and simulate future events in 64Kx time.

Personal Trackers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082571)

Perhaps instead of calling our portable telephones 'cell phones', 'mobiles', 'smartphones', 'superphones', 'app phones', or my personal least favourite, 'devices', why not call them 'personal trackers' or 'trackers' for short?

After all, they
- Keep track of your calendar
- Keep track of many types of communication, both telephonic and internet-y.
- Keeps track of & stores things such as songs and videos, and
- Keeps track of your movements

Maybe if we change the language we might shift the conversation a bit.

Billionaire Investors Say Thanks-a-Million! (1)

theodp (442580) | about a year ago | (#44082657)

Hey, you didn't expect billionaire Planetary Ventures investors [bloomberg.com] like Larry Page [forbes.com] (net worth $23 B), Eric Schmidt [forbes.com] ($8.2 B), Ross Perot Jr. [forbes.com] ($1.4 B), K. Ram Shriram [forbes.com] ($1.65 B), and Charles Simonyi [wikipedia.org] ($1 B) to foot the bill, did you?

Re:Billionaire Investors Say Thanks-a-Million! (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44082677)

They are footing the bill for most of it. This is how they let the rest of us participate. How many satellites do you think you get for one million dollars?

Re:Billionaire Investors Say Thanks-a-Million! (1)

Xtifr (1323) | about a year ago | (#44082837)

How many satellites do you think you get for one million dollars?

You're supposed to say that with your pinky held to your mouth: [dramatic pause] "One million dollars!" [youtube.com]

Thanks for sharing (-1, Troll)

dressshopgo (2942527) | about a year ago | (#44082861)

Apparently Chief Asteroid Miner Chris Lewicki maybe over estimate their ability .The competition things should catch the opportunity and the customers ,then customer can make ads for it. www.dressshopgo.com

Making property rights in Space legal is very impo (3, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | about a year ago | (#44082881)

While (I believe) current space treaties prohibit any COUNTRIES from claiming planetary bodies, it is not clear if a an individual or company can claim the resources on them.

The U.N. should allow (and someday protect and enforce!) property rights.

This might open up a huge wave of investment and exploration. Say (perhaps like shipwreck salvage rights) one could claim the exclusive mineral rights to a (piece of a) celestial body. Even if it weren't permanent, like only a 100 year lease, many people might be tempted (look at what the British did with Hong Kong; their administration help turn it from a fishing port into one of the world's great cities even though they knew they'd have to give it back to the Chinese. So a completely regulation/tax free environment on an asteroid might be useful (once prices to LEO become more reasonable, go Space X!).

This has been mentioned as one of the possible ways to help get Africa out of its misery, if property rights could be accurately (right now it's a complete mess) determined and assigned it would become a source of capital that their people could buy and sell; in short it would open up a huge source of capital. Along with the proper controls (I know, that's the big problem) it could permanently stimulate their economies in a big way. (I understand the Chinese, in order to lock down property boundaries in their rural districts have been using google maps and satellite photos. Once properly recorded the villagers and make transactions confident in knowing that they have enforceable contracts).

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082915)

It'll be exactly like Hong Kong, except without the atmosphere and it costs an economic and environmental fortune to send anybody there, all in the hopes of completely unrealistic schemes to bring iron ore back to earth.

Go back to watching "Star Trek," nerd.

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (2)

Meski (774546) | about a year ago | (#44083023)

Go back to watching A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge.

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44083703)

Why would you want to send there an "anybody"? Yes, life support systems cost a fortune. That's why we're currently exploring mars with robots, not people!

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (3, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44083135)

Terrestrial notions of ownership don't apply outside Earth's atmosphere any more than Native American's notions of property survived the European invasion. On the frontier what matters is if you can take it and hold it long enough to form a local government to recognize your possession as ownership.

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44083239)

That's work if you can live in space long-term. But this isn't a space colonisation scenario (we can but dream), it's a space industry scenario. If you break the law in space, there's nothing to stop law enforcement from seizing your assets back on the ground.

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (4, Funny)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about a year ago | (#44083373)

If you break the law in space, there's nothing to stop law enforcement from seizing your assets back on the ground.

"Nice city you have there, lots of friendly people. Be a pity if someone de-orbited a four ton rock on it, wouldn't it?"

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44083691)

4 tons? They'd see a very short shooting star, not sure why that'd be a pity.

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44087441)

Then you'd better have a sustainable life support system, because you're never coming back down, and they won't be letting any supplies go up. If you want to play supervillain, make sure you have enough handy rocks to terrify the whole world. And failsafe deorbiting rockets, so they won't be tempted to sneak a bomb onto a supply rocket and blow it after docking.

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44130183)

You really don't understand how corporations work, do you?

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44130609)

If a corporation threatens to blow up a city, just how limited do you think the liability will be?

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44130665)

Have you ever seen a corporation sentenced to prison time? How would that even be done?

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44131185)

Because the corporation may be a fuzzy collective, but it is still made up of people. People who would have to give the ultimatum, people who would design the WMD. People can be arrested. It takes a lot to puncture the shield of corporate liability, but I think terrorist threats should prove sufficient.

Do you imagine that if Al Quida were to incorporate formally, Osama would have been allowed to go free after 9/11?*

*Ok, there is still an element of doubt about just how involved he was personally, but you get the idea.

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44083797)

Well, while we can argue about property rights to planetary bodies, there is this tiny little detail - you've got to get there first to claim anything. So, as I see it, companies may claim they are providing means to get there and shipping service back to Earth. They need not claim any rights to asteroids, other than the universal fact which seems to hold true for the moment: it's there for anyone to take, we just provide the means to get it.

Same as it currently is (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44083963)

Property rights are no different in space than on Earth - you may claim anything you want, but you may only hold what you can defend. The twist here is that asteroids are currently not claimed by a sovereign nation, and very few have any capability to even attempt to take or defend property in space by force.

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (4, Insightful)

XcepticZP (1331217) | about a year ago | (#44084049)

Sorry, but what makes you think the UN or any existing country should have the rights to anything up there, or enforce them the rights for that matter? They already sucked up ALL the friggin land on our planet, leaving no room for anyone to settle/migrate, instead forcing us to be subservient to their supposed social contract and morally corrupt laws. You'd like them to then project this ownership to yet-unclaimed land, that they would then be oh-so-generous to lease to us with a supposedly "regulation/tax free environment"?

Sorry about the mini-rant, and a little off topic. But it is a whole new world up there that is full of opportunities; and to sully it with a dirty thing such as heavy government is such a bad idea. Even you yourself admit that a regulation/tax free environment is a good thing for some reason, yet fail to make the connection with government. Government is the one that sucks productivity with regulations and taxes, for very little, waste-filled gain.

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (1)

lavaface (685630) | about a year ago | (#44129671)

On the other hand, governments provide roads, police service and sanitation, at least where they are functioning properly. I am of the belief that a government is of, for, and by the people. Who exactly are we trying to blame?

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | about a year ago | (#44084107)

Technically, the 1979 Moon Agreement prohibits private persons and corporation from claiming ownership of celestial bodies. The problem is that the agreement is generally ignored, with few signatories, which include none of the space powers, and therefore it has negligible impact.

It would actually be interesting to see how the arrival of private companies to spaceflight and space resource extraction changes the legal regime: the 1967 Outer Space Treaty is badly outdated, and needs to be updated at the very least, but preferably scrapped and replaced with another, more up-to-date agreement, one that includes the private sector, and also regulates orbital weapons, with a special focus on orbital kinetic bombardment platforms, as well as settling the legal status of extraterrestrial resources and the circumstances of their extraction.

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (1)

julesh (229690) | about a year ago | (#44084833)

It's also not clear why an agreement signed by any nation would be binding on an individual who would (if they happenened to be a citizen of such a nation) be free to change their nationality to that of a non-signatory (and I don't think you'd be hard pressed to find a non-signatory that would be happy to welcome the citizenship of somebody who owned a siginficant portion of a celestial body).

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | about a year ago | (#44090049)

That part is actually a bit more complicated than that. And since there have been no cases in this topic before (and likely won't be in the near future), one can only guess.

One important point, though, is that the neutrality and non-sovereignty of space is a ius cogens norm of international law by now: it actually doesn't require a treaty to be upheld, but it's still a good thing to have one. Therefore, I think welcoming such a person would be only slightly less riskier than holding a welcome party for Osama bin Laden (albeit on a different, less physical level).

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44084193)

HELL NO!

All property rights are per definition theft!

The land belongs to all life-forms in the solar system!

If somebody wants to be the sole ruler over a piece of land, he has to pay every single life-form off for the worth of the stuff in that piece of land. Not our governments. US. And both water and rare minerals ain't gonna come cheap!

That and making imaginary money (money generated out of thin air or interest) illegal just like imaginary property, is the only way to prevent a free-market-destroying monopolistic privileged wealthy ruler class that "owns" everything and pays everyone from forming in the first place.

Re:Making property rights in Space legal is very i (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44089391)

Say (perhaps like shipwreck salvage rights) one could claim the exclusive mineral rights to a (piece of a) celestial body.

Except - that's not even remotely how shipwreck salvage rights work.
 

Even if it weren't permanent, like only a 100 year lease, many people might be tempted (look at what the British did with Hong Kong; their administration help turn it from a fishing port into one of the world's great cities even though they knew they'd have to give it back to the Chinese.

Again, seriously disconnected from reality. It would never have occurred to the 19th and early 20th century British that they wouldn't be able to re-negotiate a favorable treaty when the time came.

The problem with asteroid mining is ... (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | about a year ago | (#44083551)

... that there's no market for the mined resources in space, and it's too expensive to transport them back to earth.

It's the main problem of private sector space exploration - the companies need to make their money "on earth", but mine the resources "off earth".

Of course, if you had another company with assets in space that you could sell your stuff too, the problem would be greatly diminished. That would require a criticial mass of private space activites that would sustain an exchange of resources "off earth" while conducting the payments "on earth".

Re:The problem with asteroid mining is ... (3, Interesting)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year ago | (#44083683)

there's no market for the mined resources in space, and it's too expensive to transport them back to earth.

Not really, it's easy to transport stuff from space back to earth. The expensive part is getting things up from Earth to space, which is the problem asteroid mining is trying to solve.

Re:The problem with asteroid mining is ... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44084163)

I used to imagine that NASA would invent asteroid mining to support construction of a station or vessel.

Now I imagine that China will invent asteroid mining just to come up with enough metal to let everyone have a car

Re:The problem with asteroid mining is ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44085671)

That's demented. Junkyards are FULL of already refined metals. If you think we'll have the technology, resources and energy to go into space like in Star Trek, we won't be able to recycle metal here? Also, doesn't technology always find a new way if we are low of a material? Carbon nanotube fiber?

Re:The problem with asteroid mining is ... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44085699)

Junkyards are FULL of already refined metals.

Actually, they turn those over on a regular basis. But while you probably could make two Japanese cars out of one American one until recently, that shit is over. Recycling doesn't make more steel. Indeed, it makes less.

Antimatter (1)

jlebrech (810586) | about a year ago | (#44083943)

Antimatter could be collected on the moon as there is no atmosphere we could use solar panels more effectively and then antimatter, which is very small could be transported back to earth.

Re:Antimatter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44085365)

Where is all this anti-matter you speak of? It's easier to find anti-matter on Earth in a particle accelerator than it is to find anti-matter any where else in the universe.

Re:Antimatter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44089491)

More likely this [space.com]

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