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  • Subject area(s): Engineering
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  • Published on: 7th September 2019
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My subject for this assignment is Mining in space by economic structer. I am working on the economic side of the space mining project. I searched the economic feasibility, which economic income can we get from this, how it wiil work, when it will work and what market of this work have.There is a lot of subjects in mining in space but i look specially for economic side. We will go through the economic state of this project.

Economic Feasibility

There were some works before early in 2014 for search in space mining and firstly they fail on the return landing but they discover that the asteroids are usefull for obtaining essential and rare materials. These materials like minerals can use on Earth. We need space minerals and metals because the World could run out of equity. These mineral sor metals who can be extract from the asteroid sor somewhere else in space  can be used on Earth.

Space Economy

In this market the componies firstly choose the nearest asteroids to the Earth. The technologies needed to return asteroidal resources to Earth Orbit  will also enable the deflection of at least some of the impact-threat objects.

Development and operation of future in-orbit infrastructure will require large masses of materials for construction, shielding, and ballast; and also large quantities of propellant for station-keeping and orbit-change maneuvers, and for fuelling craft departing for lunar or interplanetary destinations.

Spectroscopic studies suggest, and 'ground-truth' chemical assays of meteorites confirm, that a wide range of resources are present in asteroids and comets, including nickel-iron metal, silicate minerals, semiconductor and platinum group metals, water, bituminous hydrocarbons, and trapped or frozen gases including carbon dioxide and ammonia.

The unexpected riches in asteroids, many stony and stony-iron meteorites contain Platinum Group Metals at grades of up to 100 ppm (or 100 grams per ton).  Operating open pit platinum and gold mines in South Africa and  elsewhere mine ores of grade 5 to 10 ppm, so grades of 10 to 20 times higher would be regarded as spectacular if available in quantity, on Earth.

Water is an obvious first, and key, potential product from asteroid mines, as it could be used for return trip propulsion via steam rocket.

The competing source of raw materials is delivery by launch from Earth, which imposes a launch cost per kilogram presently above $10,000 per kg, this same figure represents the upper bound of what recovered asteroidal material would be presently worth in low earth orbit.

Future large scale economic activity in orbit is unlikely to develop however until launch cost drops to something in the range $500 to $1,000 per kilogram to LEO.  At that point, any demand for material in orbit which can be satisfied at equal or lower cost by resources recovered from asteroids, will confer on these asteroidal resources an equivalent value as ore in true mining engineering terms, i.e., that which can be mined, have valuable product recovered from it, to be sold for a profit.  Now, $500,000 per ton product is extraordinarily valuable.

These are values up there with optical glass, doped semiconductors, specialty isotopes for research or medicine, diamonds, some pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs.  On the mining scene, the only metal which has ever been so valuable was radium, which in the 1920's reached the fabulous value of $200,000 per gram.

Mining Asteroids

In order to get a better idea of the economic aspect of asteroid mining, it is important to provide a brief overview of asteroid types. This is because asteroid composition and proximity to the Sun are two factors that could influence the turnover of an asteroid mining mission. Scientists have categorized comets into 3 main types of asteroids :

1) C-type asteroids are the most common and contain up to 22 percent water, but they are the furthest from the Sun.

2) S-type asteroids are made up of stony material, nickel-iron and more precious metals like gold, platinum, and rhodium. Those asteroids are the closest to the Sun.

3) M-type asteroids consist mostly of metals and occupy the middle region of the asteroid belt.

Space Mining

There are some componies who Works on space mining. One of them Deep Space Endustries.They aim to help humanity extend its footprint out into the solar system by tapping asteroid resources.

This ambitious plan begins with water, which is plentiful in a type of space rock known as carbonaceous chondrites. Asteroid-derived water could do far more than simply slake astronauts' thirst, mining advocates say; it could also help shield them from dangerous radiation and, when split into its constituent hydrogen and oxygen, allow voyaging spaceships to fill up their fuel tanks on the go.

The technology to detect and extract asteroid water is not particularly challenging or expensive to implement, Lewicki said. Scientific spacecraft routinely identify the substance on celestial bodies, and getting water out of an asteroid could simply involve bagging up the space rock and letting the sun heat it up.

Carbonaceous chondrites also commonly contain metals such as iron, nickel and cobalt, so targeting these asteroids could allow miners to start building things off .

The other compony is Planetary Resources. They aren’t mining asteroids yet but it does have some hardware in space. The company's Arkyd-3R cubesat deployed into Earth orbit from the International Space Station last month, embarking on a 90-day mission to test avionics, software and other key technology.


Asteroid mining could shift from sci-fi dream to world-changing reality a lot faster than you think.

Planetary Resources deployed its first spacecraft from the International Space Station last month, and the Washington-based asteroid-mining company aims to launch a series of increasingly ambitious and capable probes over the next few years.

The goal is to begin transforming asteroid water into rocket fuel within a decade, and eventually to harvest valuable and useful platinum-group metals from space rocks.


There are companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries (DSI) who have already invested millions of dollars into this exact concept. Companies are particularly focused on asteroids that consist of metals that are rare to us on Earth or asteroids that contain large amounts of water which, with the right technology, can be converted to rocket fuel and oxygen.

There are some unbelievably valuable rocks flying around in our solar system. The website Asterank uses information about asteroid sizes and composition, along with current market prices to calculate the most valuable known asteroids. Some are estimated to be worth more 100 trillion dollars. It’s a number large enough to turn any potential investor’s head.

Both asteroid mining companies, Planetary Resources and DSI are currently focused on this exact aspect of the mission: prospecting asteroids to identify the most valuable interplanetary real estate.

Determining an asteroid’s value is an important first step because one of the challenges associated with rare metal focused asteroid mining is the fact that bringing back objects from space is an incredible technical and financial challenge.

Side Business Segments

Asteroid miners may get help from metal-munching microbes. The scientists working on the concept envision launching a small probe that DSI is developing, called Mothership, out to a promising near-Earth asteroid in deep space. Mothership would be carrying a number of tiny CubeSats, one of which would deploy and spiral down to the asteroid’s surface.

The CubeSat would then inject into the asteroid a low-temperature fluid laden with bacteria, which would propagate through cracks and fissures generated by the injection process. Over time, the microbes — genetically engineered to process metals efficiently — would break down harmful compounds within the asteroid and/or transform resources into different chemical states that are more amenable to extraction.

This work would be slow, but the bacteria would be doing it for free.

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