The most profitable asteroid is...

May 17, 2012 By Nancy Atkinson, Universe Today
Artist impression of the Arkyd Interceptor, a low cost mission to explore asteroids. Credit: Planetary Resources.

With the recent announcement of the asteroid mining company, Planetary Resources, some of the most-asked questions about this enticing but complex endeavor include, what asteroids do we mine? Which are the easiest asteroids to get to? Could it really be profitable?

While Planetary Resources officials said they hope to identify a few promising targets within a decade, the initial answers to those questions are available now on a new website that estimates the costs and rewards of mining rocks in space. Called Asterank, the website uses available data from multiple scientific sources on mass and to try and compute which asteroids would be the best targets for mining operations.

So, which asteroids are most profitable, valuable, easily accessible and cost effective?

The winners are, according to Asterank:

Most Profitable: 253 Mathilde, a 52.8 km-diameter C-type (carbonaceous) asteroid that has an estimated value of over $100 trillion and estimated profit of $9.53 trillion (USD)
Most Cost Effective: 2000 BM19, a very small O-type asteroid (less than 1 km wide) that makes several close approaches to . Its estimated value is $18.50 trillion and an estimated profit of $3.55 trillion.
Most Valuable: 253 Mathilde
Most Accessible: 2009 WY7, another small asteroid with regular close approaches of less than 1 AU. This is an S-type asteroid, a silicaceous or “stony” object that has a high accessibility score on Asterank of 7.6577.

Asterank combines both the economic and scientific features of over 580,000 asteroids in our solar system, looking specifically for platinum-group metals and water. It was created by Ian Webster, a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“I’ve always had a strong interest in astronomy and especially space exploration,” Webster said via an email to Universe Today. “The commercialization of space through ventures like asteroid mining really excites me because I believe it’ll open space to the rest of us and improve human quality of life. My day job is at a startup unrelated to space, but my hobbies include building rockets and many side projects like this one. I have a lot of fun applying computer science in different ways and I hope that Asterank will educate and inspire people.”

Webster provides a caveat, however, to the rankings of the top 100 asteroids in each category.

“Scientists know shockingly little about the composition of asteroids,” he writes on the website. “Visit JPL’s Small Body Database and you will notice how sparse information is.”

So, this mean that there aren’t really ‘experts’ in this field, and even those most knowledgeable about asteroids likely don’t have the numbers needed to completely and accurately estimate the true value of an asteroid or the cost of mining it — “which is why Planetary Resources is going to spend years or even decades investing in LEO-telescopes and data-gathering flybys before they ever touch an asteroid,” Webster said.

Webster has used databases, websites, books and other publications to get as much accurate, up-to-date information as possible, but even then, he said everything on the website is a rough estimation.

“The primary purpose of this site is to broadly educate and inspire, rather than provide completely accurate data — which is currently impossible,” he said. “I created the site in response to the announcement of Planetary Resources. “I should point out that nearly all the measurements and hard data come from the scientists at NASA JPL, but I had a lot of fun putting the site together.”

And it is fun to peruse the various categories and see what asteroids make the top of each category.

The ranking takes into account the value of the materials on the asteroids such as metals, volatile compounds, and water; the costs of getting to an asteroid and moving the raw materials: and the comparative savings and potential profit, which at this point are very hypothetical, taking into account processing and moving raw material.

“We really don’t know yet how much it will cost to mine an object millions of miles away,” Webster said.

While this website is a first step, it offers an exciting and enjoyable initial look at the potential commercial viability of space mining.

Explore further: MAVEN studies passing comet and its effects

More information: Check out Asterank

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kaasinees
2 / 5 (20) May 17, 2012
economists think they can put a price tag on anything.
CapitalismPrevails
3.5 / 5 (19) May 17, 2012
economists think they can put a price tag on anything"

Sure can. Does a cheetah have to pay a price in expending energy to run down and kill a gazelle? After expending so much energy, will the cheetah get a net return in energy so it will be a able to hunt again? Nothing's free. It's the nature of existence.
Deathclock
3.1 / 5 (17) May 17, 2012
Yeah, what kaasinees fails to understand is that cost and benefit are physical things, and can be studied as a science. Cost relates to energy expenditure and benefit relates to energy gain. Money is an abstraction used to represent work, work is a physical measurement (if you've ever taken physics you know what I mean by work, I don't mean the building you go to every day from 9 to 5).
kaasinees
2.1 / 5 (18) May 17, 2012
Sure can. Does a cheetah have to pay a price in expending energy to run down and kill a gazelle? After expending so much energy, will the cheetah get a net return in energy so it will be a able to hunt again? Nothing's free. It's the nature of existence.

True i never claimed otherwise, but does the cheetah think in dollars?
El_Nose
3 / 5 (8) May 17, 2012
no actually capitalists feel they can put a price tag on anything --- and for the most part they are right -- grow up

CapitalismPrevails
2.5 / 5 (13) May 17, 2012

True i never claimed otherwise, but does the cheetah think in dollars?


Doesn't need to because it's not part of an advance society. Money or medium of exchange which makes trade practical is an element of the human condition ever since the Sumerians and before. What other alternative is there? A recourse economy where one party just gives the other party the resources it needs without accountability? How come money has been invented an reinvented over human history? How come captured WWII soldiers in German camps used cigarettes as money? Because it's necessary.
kaasinees
2.5 / 5 (19) May 17, 2012
no actually capitalists feel they can put a price tag on anything --- and for the most part they are right -- grow up

Except dollars dont signify anything.

Energy units would be reliable.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (8) May 17, 2012
This is why energy-based currencies may make sense.
http://p2pfoundat...rrencies
kaasinees
2.4 / 5 (17) May 17, 2012
This is why energy-based currencies may make sense.
http://p2pfoundat...rrencies

Why invent a new currency when you can use energy as a currency expressed in energy units?

In fact this might end corruption once and for all.

Yeah, what kaasinees fails to understand

You seem to fail to understand what a dollar is.
Grow a brain.
Deathclock
3 / 5 (16) May 17, 2012
Sure can. Does a cheetah have to pay a price in expending energy to run down and kill a gazelle? After expending so much energy, will the cheetah get a net return in energy so it will be a able to hunt again? Nothing's free. It's the nature of existence.

True i never claimed otherwise, but does the cheetah think in dollars?


Again, money is an ABSTRACTION that represents work.

Rate me 1 all you want, you're wrong, have you ever studied economics? Probably not given your expressed disdain for it...

You seem to fail to understand what a dollar is.
Grow a brain.


Are you serious? You say "dollars dont signify anything" and have the audacity to tell me that I don't know what a dollar is?

You're ignorant. Always have been.
CHollman82
3.2 / 5 (16) May 17, 2012
A dollar represents a unit of work. You trade work for dollars, and then you trade dollars for the results of the work of others. A dollar is a proxy used to promote the easy exchange of effort from one person to another. Dollars exist so we don't have to trade in impractical physical goods... or do you want to bring a wheelbarrow full of carrots to the market so you can trade them for a side of ham, Kassinees, you dullard
kaasinees
2.3 / 5 (18) May 17, 2012
You're ignorant. Always have been.

What is a dollar to a homeless person?
What is a dollar to a billionaire?
What is a dollar when the average wage increases/decreases.
What is a dollar when the price of food increase/decreases.
What is a dollar when the price of fuel increase/decreases.
What is a dollar when they print extra money(inflation).
What is a dollar when goldman sachs extracts 1trillion dollar from the economy(deflation).

All these variables change independently and you can not come up with enough economists in the world to predict any of these things as personal value of the dollar come into play and introduce many speculations especially in the stock market where stocks are valuated and speculated and introduce bubbles and faked-scarcity.

No such things will EVER happen if we were to use energy as the currency instead of the shit dollar.

And yes i studied economics it was one of the subjects i was good at.
CHollman82
3 / 5 (10) May 17, 2012
Sure can. Does a cheetah have to pay a price in expending energy to run down and kill a gazelle? After expending so much energy, will the cheetah get a net return in energy so it will be a able to hunt again? Nothing's free. It's the nature of existence.

True i never claimed otherwise, but does the cheetah think in dollars?


It doesn't have to, it's not going to be dragging that fresh carcass to the market to trade it for a flat panel television... this doesn't change the reality that dollars REPRESENT work. Do you understand what a proxy is? Do you understand why currency is necessary for a modern economy? Do you understand that labor can result in both tangible and intangible benefits and that it's difficult to trade in intangible goods?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (5) May 17, 2012
Of course with an energy-based economy we may need a new form of govt.
http://www.youtub...a_player

-Skip the bimbo at the beginning, the speaker presents some good info on the pending worldwide energy grid being constructed right now using bailout money.

Greece was considering rule by technocrats. Experts, not politicians placed in office by rich people.
kaasinees
2.3 / 5 (16) May 17, 2012
It doesn't have to

Right because the cheetah thinks in the terms of ENERGY, we should do the same.

It valuates the energy of efforts and outcome.
If running after the prey becomes to energy intensive it gives up, tries another prey or calls it a day so that it may save energy for when the outcome will provide enough energy to cover the effort.
CHollman82
3.7 / 5 (9) May 17, 2012
What is a dollar to a homeless person?
What is a dollar to a billionaire?
What is a dollar when the average wage increases/decreases.
What is a dollar when the price of food increase/decreases.
What is a dollar when the price of fuel increase/decreases.


A dollar is the same in all of these cases.

What is a dollar when they print extra money(inflation).


I told you that a dollar is a proxy for work... a dollar is still a proxy for work after inflation or deflation. The value of the dollar relative to a particular good (gasoline, for example) can of course fluctuate, but wages follow inflation and deflation as well, with some lag time, so the absolute value doesn't change all that much.

100 years ago a nickel would buy you a gallon of milk, today it's 2-4 bucks... HOWEVER, 100 years ago you'd be lucky to make a dollar an hour, now it is EASY to make 10-20 times that. Do you understand? If prices go up and then wages go up equivalently NOTHING has changed.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.1 / 5 (7) May 17, 2012
The cheetah also does not hunt just for itself. It has a family to support. It's prey becomes the representation of expended energy which is invested in the future of it's genetic material.
CHollman82
3.3 / 5 (12) May 17, 2012
It doesn't have to

Right because the cheetah thinks in the terms of ENERGY, we should do the same.

It valuates the energy of efforts and outcome.
If running after the prey becomes to energy intensive it gives up, tries another prey or calls it a day so that it may save energy for when the outcome will provide enough energy to cover the effort.


Not all energy is equal. A miner certainly exerts a ton of energy mining coal, but that energy expenditure is not worth as much as the minimal energy I expend writing code.
kaasinees
2.3 / 5 (18) May 17, 2012
I told you that a dollar is a proxy for work...


How much work did tons of americans have to do to raise 1 trillion dollars?
How much work did goldman sachs do to steal 1 trillion dollars of the americans?

See? It doesnt work.

Not all energy is equal. A miner certainly exerts a ton of energy mining coal, but that energy expenditure is not worth as much as the minimal energy I expend writing code.

How would you write your code of you had no energy from coal?

You are delusional and corrupt.
Shelgeyr
2.6 / 5 (5) May 17, 2012
@kaasiness said:
...No such things will EVER happen if we were to use energy as the currency...


Wrong! Even "energy-as-currency" bows to "supply & demand". You can never escape value fluctuation because supply and demand changes constantly, and at least partially because of the obvious (supplies being used to meet demand).

Let's say you have excess energy, or whatever you're using as energy-currency-units. But I don't need your energy because I have my own source. Pow! Your energy is worthless to me (directly).

@CHollman82 said:
a dollar is a proxy for work

What happens when the work is towards creating a product for which there is little or no market demand? How much would that dollar be worth?
kaasinees
2.3 / 5 (16) May 17, 2012
Wrong! Even "energy-as-currency" bows to "supply & demand".

But the dollar does not. Its deflated inflated artificially. The basic supply and demand economics are completely destroyed by the stock market and banks.
You can never escape value fluctuation because supply and demand changes constantly

True, but one thing does not change, energy spended.
But I don't need your energy because I have my own source. Pow! Your energy is worthless to me (directly).

Very true and a good point, if everybody had their excess energy the concept of currency becomes almost meaningless.
In case of exchanging knowledge(which is based on energy) you would sooner or later dry out of excess energy and be required to trade energy in order to get what you want.

How much would that dollar be worth?

The dollar is valuated by many variables and people, this is where the problem is. Energy is equal always.
Shootist
3 / 5 (8) May 17, 2012
no actually capitalists feel they can put a price tag on anything --- and for the most part they are right -- grow up

Except dollars dont signify anything.

Energy units would be reliable.


Sorry, money (dollars in your example, but seashells, salt or gold, work as well) signifies work, your labor condensed into something fungible.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (6) May 17, 2012
The dollar is valuated by many variables and people, this is where the problem is. Energy is equal always.
Some energy is much more valuable than others. The little reactors they use on space probes are very expensive energy producers. If rossis ecat works, many commercial energy sources may become too costly to compete.
Sorry, money (dollars in your example, but seashells, salt or gold, work as well) signifies work, your labor condensed into something fungible.
As machines become able to do more and more of the thongs people do, then the term 'work' will have to be redefined and we will have to begin paying machines directly for the work they do.
kaasinees
2.2 / 5 (17) May 17, 2012
Sorry, money (dollars in your example, but seashells, salt or gold, work as well) signifies work, your labor condensed into something fungible.

So if i create a dollar bill my labor pays off?

Some energy is much more valuable than others.

Which means that wind energy and solar energy and the likes will correctly replace coal and fossil fuels.

Which means that whomever can produce the same with expending less energy will become dominant. This is natural. Dollars are not natural as someone can use very little effort to make trillion of dollars and yet produce nothing of significans.
CHollman82
3 / 5 (10) May 17, 2012
@CHollman82 said:
a dollar is a proxy for work

What happens when the work is towards creating a product for which there is little or no market demand? How much would that dollar be worth?


I already agreed that not all work is equally valuable... you can shuffle rocks from one pile to another all day long and do a lot of work without doing anything valuable.
Husky
1 / 5 (1) May 17, 2012
ShotmanMaslo
3.7 / 5 (6) May 17, 2012
How exactly would we use energy as a currency? The discussion has no substance unless you define what you are talking about.
Anorion
3.4 / 5 (5) May 17, 2012
MOM ALWAYS SAID...

"Money Doesn't Grow On Trees"

Mom!!!! money is made from
paper & paper comes from trees.

Therefore your argument is
invalid
Pyle
3.7 / 5 (3) May 17, 2012
Otto earned a 1 for the Rossi e-cat reference.

I wanna be a belter.

So who wants to go in with me and mine Mathilde? I've got about $100 to pitch in. $90,469,999,999,900 to go!
sstritt
1 / 5 (2) May 17, 2012
You bring $100T worth of platinum back to earth, and guess what-its worth about $1.98 a ton!
mccauley_rorke
not rated yet May 17, 2012
I laughed at the line is it profitable. Is the complete advancement of our civilization and access to a near unlimited amount of resources profitable? Yeah.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) May 17, 2012
How exactly would we use energy as a currency? The discussion has no substance unless you define what you are talking about.
If you do a search (and view my links) you can see that people are giving this a lot of thought:
http://www.approp...currency
Otto earned a 1 for the Rossi e-cat reference.
Yah and since there is no god, retribution belongs to otto. I think Enhancement of Surface Plasmon Polaritons to Initiate & Sustain LENR is real, and so does at least one mensch at NASA
http://www.youtub...DtD3-9sM

-And if this is what rossi is doing then perhaps pyle should be a little more open-minded.
You bring $100T worth of platinum back to earth, and guess what-its worth about $1.98 a ton!
And what are all the things we could do with it at that price? It is very useful you know. Palladium absorbs H2 like crazy.

kaasinees
3 / 5 (8) May 18, 2012
And what are all the things we could do with it at that price? It is very useful you know. Palladium absorbs H2 like crazy.

Good point. One material can be very valuable in terms in dollars because of scarcity, personal preference etc. And be worth more than a material that can be used to supply more energy. This problem would be sorted out in an energy based economy.
kris2lee
2.5 / 5 (2) May 18, 2012
In case of exchanging knowledge(which is based on energy) you would sooner or later dry out of excess energy and be required to trade energy in order to get what you want.


So all I do is writing a code to make people consume more (use more energy).

Why I should be credited with energy for it? And from where is this credit coming from?
kaasinees
2.5 / 5 (8) May 18, 2012
So all I do is writing a code to make people consume more (use more energy).

No you write a program it costs energy, people pay it with energy that they earned.

Why I should be credited with energy for it? And from where is this credit coming from?

Where do dollars come from?
ShotmanMaslo
5 / 5 (3) May 18, 2012
Kaasines - if I understand this correctly, under your proposal the cost of an item / service is proportional only to the energy needed to produce it.

But in current economy, its demand/supply(which includes energy).

Where does demand, or supply constraints not directly based on energy enter the equation in energy economy?
kaasinees
2.3 / 5 (12) May 18, 2012
But in current economy, its demand/supply(which includes energy).

Supply and demand economics has been destroyed a long time ago and it simply does not work.
There is a large demand for food in certain areas so where is the supply?

Energy economics depends on cost and benefit and i can not see space exploration without this train of thought.
ShotmanMaslo
5 / 5 (2) May 18, 2012
There is a large demand for food in certain areas so where is the supply?


There is not. Demand includes the ability to pay for the item, its not just desire to own it. The demand is thus low in these areas.

I think you are ignorant of basic economics, no offense. Which is why you latch on naive internet ideas such as energy for currency. Its similar to creationists, really.
kaasinees
2.5 / 5 (11) May 18, 2012
There is not. Demand includes the ability to pay for the item, its not just desire to own it. The demand is thus low in these areas.

They can pay with labor, i thought the dollar was an abtsract for labor?
You contradict yourself.

I think you are ignorant of basic economics, no offense. Which is why you latch on naive internet ideas such as energy for currency. Its similar to creationists, really.

Fling it back to you, the dollar is your god that is why you wont think outside the dollar filled box.
sstritt
1 / 5 (2) May 18, 2012
You bring $100T worth of platinum back to earth, and guess what-its worth about $1.98 a ton!

And what are all the things we could do with it at that price? It is very useful you know. Palladium absorbs H2 like crazy.

I agree 100%- I was merely pointing out that putting a $ valuation on such a huge resource is a bit ridiculous.
Shelgeyr
3 / 5 (6) May 18, 2012
@kaasiness said:
But the dollar does not. Its deflated inflated artificially. (snip) ...destroyed by the stock market and banks.


1) You seem to misunderstand the breadth of "supply and demand". What do you mean by "artificially"?

2) Shorter answer re: "But the dollar does not"... "Arbitrage".

True, but one thing does not change, energy spended.

I invite you to either expound upon, or reconsider, this statement, at the very least in light of the fact that (up to a point) systems can generally be made more energy efficient.

Energy is equal always.

You err in not equating energy (the ability to do work) with the work being done. Not all work is equally valuable. "Units of work" are not widely fungible, and by extension neither are units of energy. Even if you assumed or stipulated a constant cost to produce the energy and solidified the supply side (no gluts, no shortages), the demand side still fluctuates and thus so does the energy's value.
ShotmanMaslo
5 / 5 (2) May 19, 2012

They can pay with labor, i thought the dollar was an abtsract for labor?


They do not have "labor", too. They cannot pay.
xX_GT_Xx
1.5 / 5 (2) May 19, 2012
I think it's more than a little amusing to see everyone argue about economics, as if asteroid mining is even remotely possible in the first place.
Before you tell me how profitable a kilometer wide asteroid may or may not be, first tell me how you're going to grind up a kilometer wide asteroid. Then we can talk.
kaasinees
2.1 / 5 (11) May 19, 2012
1) You seem to misunderstand the breadth of "supply and demand".

No i dont. Supply and demand simply doesnt work that is why we have had a few new financial systems. Stock markets are manipulated and speculated that have nothing to do with supply and demand, banks take advantage of the system and supply and demand goes out the window.
What do you mean by "artificially"?

Really, i have to explain?
systems can generally be made more energy efficient.

Which would be the driving force in an energy economy.
You err in not equating energy (the ability to do work) with the work being done.

No i dont.
Not all work is equally valuable.

Which would mean that fossil fuels would easily be discarded for renewable energy.

http://consciouse...scarcity
http://en.wikiped...e_attack

I can list more reasons why supply and demand economics dont exist anymore.
Maat
3 / 5 (8) May 19, 2012
Kaasinees, you really don't know what you are talking about... sorry.
kaasinees
2.1 / 5 (11) May 19, 2012
Kaasinees, you really don't know what you are talking about... sorry.

Strawman is not a good way to win an argument.
Shelgeyr
3.7 / 5 (6) May 19, 2012
@kaasinees:
Supply and demand simply doesnt work...

"Supply and demand" not only works, they're inescapable. Your failure to understand this undermines everything you might have to say about economics.

I asked "What do you mean by 'artificially'?"
Your reply: "Really, i have to explain?"

Actually yes. Seeing how markets don't just randomly spring up in nature (symbioses doesn't count as a market), all markets, and all aspects about them, are "artificial". At the same time, paradoxically, "supply and demand" seems to be a part of nature indeed, which is why (to take a random example) animal populations over multiple generations in the wild are greatly affected by swings in their food supply.

No i dont.

Yeah, you really, really do.

Also, I said "Not all work is equally valuable."
You replied "Which would mean that fossil fuels would easily be discarded for renewable energy."

How the heck did you make that jump? That's a nonsensical non sequitur.
kaasinees
2.2 / 5 (10) May 19, 2012
"Supply and demand" not only works, they're inescapable.

Where is the food for the hungry people in africa?
Africa has enough arable land, dont make me take out my CIA fact book.
Your failure to understand this undermines everything you might have to say about economics.

I graduated with economics :/
Your reply: "Really, i have to explain?"

Trapped, i explained several times.
Seeing how markets don't just randomly spring up in nature

What? In nature everything evolves, we are part of nature arent we?
all markets, and all aspects about them, are "artificial".

Contradicting yourself again even in aspect of your former sentence
"supply and demand" seems to be a part of nature indeed

Cost and benefit. Cheetah has enough supply of food will they eat it all?
animal populations over multiple generations in the wild are greatly affected by swings in their food supply.

What is the food supply affected by
ShotmanMaslo
3 / 5 (2) May 19, 2012
"Where is the food for the hungry people in africa?"

Where is the demand?

You still have not explained how exactly would this energy base economy work. How would I obtain the currency, and how would I pay for goods and services? Would currency be destroyed every time energy is spent? Would producing energy equal to printing money?
kaasinees
2.3 / 5 (9) May 19, 2012
Also, I said "Not all work is equally valuable."
You replied "Which would mean that fossil fuels would easily be discarded for renewable energy."

Fossil fuels are inefficient compared to other tech, adoption of new tech is too slow by international agreements in many countries and why? In an energy based economy that adoption would be far more likely.
How the heck did you make that jump? That's a nonsensical non sequitur.

No you just lack thinking capacity.
Maat
2.8 / 5 (9) May 19, 2012
"Supply and demand"...

Where is the food for the hungry people in africa?
Africa has enough arable land


You have a child's understanding of economics, at best.

I graduated with economics


What does that mean? You took one course?

Look, supply and demand doesn't mean that if there is a demand there will be a supply, as you seem to think with your ridiculous Africa example. Supply and demand help determine the price of goods, along with other factors.

I'm not going to pretend that I fully understand the problems with starvation in various parts of the world, but IF there is plenty of opportunity to grow food and IF there is sufficient demand then a possible reason it is not happening is that people are unable to pay. Demand includes both the willingness of someone to pay for a good as well as their ABILITY to pay for a good.
kaasinees
2.1 / 5 (11) May 19, 2012
"Where is the food for the hungry people in africa?"

Where is the demand?

What? Hungry people dont demand food? You are a nutjob thats what. Now i know where you stand, for starvation of innocent humans.
You still have not explained how exactly would this energy base economy work.

True, and you expected me to do so in a 500 character limit post?
How would I obtain the currency, and how would I pay for goods and services?

How do poor people obtain money and how would they pay for their food they are demanding? I am sure they are willing to work and earn dollars. Works equates dollars right?

Would currency be destroyed every time energy is spent? Would producing energy equal to printing money?

Good questions.
kaasinees
2 / 5 (12) May 19, 2012
Look, supply and demand doesn't mean that if there is a demand there will be a supply, as you seem to think with your ridiculous Africa example.

Africa has enough arable land to supply people for food, SO WHERE IS THE SUPPLY for the STARVING PEOPLE THAT DEMAND?

sheesh people have stupid thick skulls.

I'm not going to pretend that I fully understand the problems with starvation in various parts of the world


There you have it, leave this conversation now.
And thus the african situation is only an example as to how supply and demand does not work.

Cost and benefit is what works in nature.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (1) May 19, 2012
They must be assuming flying back and forth thousands of times, therefore only about a 10% profit margin.

The real way to do this is automated self-replication, which would offer nearly unlimited profits over the long term; send up a few robots who make millions of copies of themselves and then start shipping it back...
Lurker2358
3 / 5 (2) May 19, 2012
Who will regulate how rights to these objects are handled so as to prevent World War 3 from breaking out?

If it's first come first served, then every mining company and every government should be mass producing space craft to land on as many asteroids as possible and stake a claim.

Whoever gets the rights to some of the larger asteroids is basically going to become a world super-power eventually.

Some of these objects could have tens or hundreds of billions of TONS of precious metals in them. I mean, a cubic kilometer of iron is like 7.8 billion tons.

Imagine if they found a billion tons of platinum and gold in an asteroid?! The price of platinum and Gold would tank (to within certain limits,) while simultaneously people would be scrambling to buy stock in the mining company.

Given the size of these rocks, that is a real possibility at even just one asteriod...not that I would know what humanity would do with a billion tons of platinum, but...
Lurker2358
3 / 5 (4) May 20, 2012
A billion tons of platinum would be worth 45 quadrillion dollars U.S. if it all sold at present day prices.

And that's not even close to 1 cubic kilometer of material.

These rocks are hundreds, often even many thousands of cubic kilometers by volume.

A 10 km radius asteroid is 4189 cubic kilometers, which means that to get the less than half of a cubic kilometer of platinum above, it would only need to be 0.000119 of Gold and platinum by volume, or one hundredth of one percent.

If Platinum is as common in asteroids as it is in EArth's Crust, then a 10km radius asteroid should contain a staggering 12.5 cubic kilometers of platinum.

the profit margins should be freaking unlimited, at least in human terms, even if only the top few hundreds or thousands of meters of surface are mined.

One asteroid would potentially have more precious metals than hundreds of billions of people could ever use with our present technology.
ShotmanMaslo
5 / 5 (2) May 20, 2012
What? Hungry people dont demand food?
]

Once again, demand in economics is not simple desire to have something. Ability to pay is included.

Now i know where you stand, for starvation of innocent humans.


Nope, I am just describing economic reality. If it would be up to me, every human being on this planet would get basic income to eradicate starvation.

I am sure they are willing to work and earn dollars. Works equates dollars right?


Work usually equates dollars. But they dont have work.
Shelgeyr
3 / 5 (2) May 20, 2012
@kaasines said:
Fossil fuels are inefficient compared to other tech

Unless the "other tech" you refer to is nuclear power, you're out of your gourd. And given that "efficiency" has to be measured in light of a given application, there are plenty of areas where so-called "fossil fuels" are *currently* more efficient than nukes. I doubt it will always be that way, but it certainly is right now.

Also, if you graduated in economics and think that "supply and demand" don't work, you should get a refund. I'm not all that surprised, however, given the state of academia today. I mean really, a lot of colleges still teach Keynesian economics... That's like covering Unicorns in a zoology course.
Shelgeyr
3 / 5 (4) May 20, 2012
@kaasiness said:
"Where is the food for the hungry people in africa?" (and later:) What? Hungry people dont demand food? You are a nutjob thats what. Now i know where you stand, for starvation of innocent humans.

No, either you are the "nutjob", or you're being intentionally dense.

You've switched from discussing the free market (and I would argue virtually all markets except those oppressed by totalitarian regimes) to an economic situation where the supply side is actively prevented from meeting the demand by direct government intervention. African famines today - as opposed to in antiquity - are caused by politics. I suspect you already knew this, and are just having fun being argumentative.

Africa has enough arable land to supply people for food, SO WHERE IS THE SUPPLY for the STARVING PEOPLE THAT DEMAND?

Squashed and destroyed by the kleptocrats running those countries. Their demand for political power beat the people's demand for food.
Urgelt
5 / 5 (1) May 21, 2012
Primitive effort, I'm afraid. The assumption is that mining an asteroid and delivering refined products to Earth for consumption will yield value.

It's true, but it's also almost irrelevant. The real value of materials in space is that they're just what we need to bootstrap an economic infrastructure *in space.* Mining asteroids for volatiles and construction materials for use in space and at solar system destinations (for eventual habitation) is the best use we could possibly conceive for those materials.

Not to say that no mass will ever be delivered to Earth for profit. But at the end of the day, what we need isn't more useful mass in Earth's gravity well, but useful mass beyond it.