What's an asteroid worth?

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brian livesey
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What's an asteroid worth?

Post by brian livesey »

Most things terrestrial have a value tag on them. In recent times this has been extended to the extraterrestrial including asteroids. The main impetus being the quest for raw materials. These ancient objects orbiting the Sun, range from a few feet in diameter to the largest, Vesta, at 329 miles ( 530km ) in diameter. The current asteroid count stands 796,080 ( with potentially hazardous asteroids listed at 1,409 ).
How much are asteroids valued at? It depends on the geological content of an asteroid in terms of its metals and minerals.
Top of the Top Ten League is asteroid Davida, valued at a whopping 27 quintillion dollars ( $ 26,990,000,000,000,000,000 ). A figure to make Elon Musk and Jeff Bazos salivate like komodo dragons. Davida is a carbonaceous chondrite asteroid, made up of nickel, iron, cobalt, nitrogen,ammonia, hydrogen and water.
From asteroid Davida there's a big drop in value to second place with asteroid Diotima at 7.09. Midway in the Top Ten is asteroid Lachesis at 4.11. At the bottom of the league is asteroid Gyptis at 3.38.
With these kind of asteroid values being flaunted, it's hardly surprising that the race is on to devise ways of mining the objects. The cost will, of course, be astronomical for launching this extraterrestrial "gold rush", but when the dollar rewards are measured in quintillians the temptation to go is irrisistible to some.
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skyhawk
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Re: What's an asteroid worth?

Post by skyhawk »

How long is a piece of string

As the saying goes

"If the world was made of gold Man would die for a handful of dirt"

Supply and demand, when supply exceeds demand, value is zero
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mike a feist
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Re: What's an asteroid worth?

Post by mike a feist »

There is a quotation in my Collins Diary from Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) which goes..."the sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago...had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands." I guess they now are! Regards maf

brian livesey
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Re: What's an asteroid worth?

Post by brian livesey »

The irony of planning for an asteroid "gold rush" is that we've hardly scratched the surface of the Earth for its metal and mineral resources. So why go into space for them?
The answer is geopolitical. Earth's resources are not equally destributed among nations, and this has provided the impetus for many a war, and still does.
We hear about a shortage of "rare earths", but in actual fact these raw materials are not rare. The problem is that rare earths, despite being plentyful, are concentrated in certain areas, excluding others from having access to them, except at a price.
It's easy to see why asteroids are getting so much attention these days. Anyone who mines them has free access to their resources.
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Brian
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Re: What's an asteroid worth?

Post by Brian »

I'm sure that in "Secrets of the Super-Elements" (BBC4 26 June) it was stated that Indium (used to make touch-screens for just about everything) will be depleted in 10 years at the current rate of use. Interesting program, worth a look on Iplayer,
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brian livesey
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Re: What's an asteroid worth?

Post by brian livesey »

Indium is a byproduct of zinc and lead sulphide smelting. There are large areas of the Earth that are still open to prospecting for raw materials, including the seabed.
If a particular metal or mineral ran out at some point, there might be ways of synthesizing it, or using a substitute.
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Re: What's an asteroid worth?

Post by Brian »

"The coating that makes iPhones touch sensitive is running out"

quote<
No, iPhone screens are not magic. They are coated in a transparent material called indium tin oxide that senses when a finger makes contact.

ITO comes from the metal indium, which must be mined. Prices are rising as it becomes more scarce; the U.S. government estimates that from 2010 to 2011, the cost for indium rose by 25 percent. The world could run out altogether in the next decade. >unquote

from:
https://gigaom.com/2013/07/10/the-metal ... nning-out/

This sums up the statement I remember from that BBC4 program,

regards,
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brian livesey
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Re: What's an asteroid worth?

Post by brian livesey »

According to an article by Tim Worstill, there's an estimated 6 billion tonnes of indium in Earth's crust. Annual consumption is a mere 600 tonnes.
Talk about indium running out is economists' talk. What they mean is that indium will be increasingly expensive and supposedly not profitable to mine.
I can't take you directly to Tim Worstill's article Brian, but if you type in "what will apple do when indium runs out?" and take it from there, he provides some interesting information.
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Re: What's an asteroid worth?

Post by Brian »

Thanks Brian.

Yes it does seem odd that an element about as abundant as silver in the earth's crust should "run out". Still, if we can close (say) coalmines for being uneconomic with huge reserves remaining underground then maybe the Indium era will indeed be over quickly :)

regards,
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brian livesey
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Re: What's an asteroid worth?

Post by brian livesey »

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, economists know the price of everything and the value of nothing :wink: .
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nayam
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Re: What's an asteroid worth?

Post by nayam »

This is great knowledge for me. Thanks for sharing it.

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