Asteroid Commons

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Exploring the economic development of asteroid resources for people on Earth and beyond.

Summary

Asteroids are both ubiquitous and elusive. Just as the sun taunts us with her vast source of energy, asteroids taunt us with their seemingly limitless supply of natural resources. When asteroid mining is something that is solved as a collective initiative, we shouldn’t think about it as a venture that can bring a small number of individuals or investors profit, but instead something that can reduce the cost of living on Earth and cost of space travel for all of humanity. The price of precious metals mined from asteroids would decrease on Earth if we are able to bring back massive quantities in a cost-effective manner. If the asteroid mining missions become highly automated, this will allow us to expedite post-scarcity on Earth. Additionally, utilizing in-situ resources for water and fuel production will also decrease the cost of space travel, making it increasingly accessible for more civilians.

Through our Asteroid Commons program we aim to design and develop solutions that will:
- Allow us to become more knowledgeable about the asteroids within reach
- Allow us to extract resources from asteroids for use in space and on Earth
- Aid in the mediation when two or more competing organizations aim to prospect or mine the same asteroid


Discussion

The "Keck Report," the product of a study by the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) at CalTech/JPL in Pasadena, California constitutes a foundation stone astronautical engineering result for the asteroid exploration, mining, and science communities. http://kiss.caltech.edu/finalreports/Asteroidfinal_report.pdf What I think most important about this report is not so much the conclusions about whether retrieving an asteroid from solar orbit and placing it in lunar or Earth orbit is feasible (read it to find out for yourself) but it addresses the thorny issues around flying to an asteroid. The fundamental challenge is that all the asteroids are moving all the time, often faster than the Earth, and their orbits vary wildly out of the ecliptic plane in which the Earth orbits the Sun. What this differential means is that When you go determines where you can go. You can see many examples of this principle in the JPL Small Body Database Browser. https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi [The JPL-SBB was originally called the Small Body Browser. However, the scurillous "word on the street" is that the bureaucrats thought that sounded too much like a porn site, so they changed the name to Small Body Database Browser, so there should be no misconception. So, now it must be "data porn:" All those ones and zeros!]
Hello fellow asteroid miners. What are your views on the current discussion at Davos and on the upcoming UNCOPUOS session on space mining?


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