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RE: starship-design: Private Asteroid Mining
On Monday, September 15, 1997 2:37 PM, Ken Wharton
> Okay - sounds like turning an asteroid into useful material might not be
> tough. Next question: how expensive is it to send it to Earth orbit?
> I suppose there might be a few asteroids that come so close that it would
> only take the slightest nudge to put them in orbit around the Earth (or
> around the moon... maybe that would be safer if you miscaclulated?)
> But still, the average earth-orbit-crossing asteroid would probably take
> an awful lot of energy to do this. I'm sure not as much as it would take
> to launch it into orbit, but is the price at all comparable? Does anyone
> have a dollars/kilogram estimate for A) putting Earth materials into
> twenty years from now and B) pulling asteroid materials into orbit twenty
> years from now. Enquiring minds want to know...
Maybe this is the ideal use for sails. All we are looking for is a
relatively modest transfer orbit into SOLAR orbit at one of the LaGrangian
points. That would be a better choice for industrial operations. Bear in
mind that, speed isn't important for this application - CHEAP is.
A mining vessel equipped to drill several anchor shafts to attach the sail
to, one neat, compact little sail all folded up, and you are in business.