RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 137,889
Posts: 5,329,975
Members: 24,557
Currently online: 531
Newest member: Mgroup Video

TrekToday headlines

Retro Review: Inquisition
By: Michelle on Jul 12

Cubify Star Trek 3DMe Mini Figurines
By: T'Bonz on Jul 11

Latest Official Starships Collection Ships
By: T'Bonz on Jul 10

Seven of Nine Bobble Head
By: T'Bonz on Jul 9

Pegg The Prankster
By: T'Bonz on Jul 9

More Trek Stars Join Unbelievable!!!!!
By: T'Bonz on Jul 8

Star Trek #35 Preview
By: T'Bonz on Jul 8

New ThinkGeek Trek Apparel
By: T'Bonz on Jul 7

Star Trek Movie Prop Auction
By: T'Bonz on Jul 7

Drexler: NX Engineering Room Construction
By: T'Bonz on Jul 7


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science and Technology

Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old February 6 2010, 12:44 AM   #316
john titor
Captain
 
Location: the universe
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

Space exploration isn't just a political goal, its necessary? Why? Because the research involved in a manned mission to mars will generate technological dividends. It could also be a public works program. In fact building fleets of space ships would lift Americas economy out of the red. And it hinges on this. The resources of the world are running out. So its a necessity to get out there and mine the resources of other planets. In this way public works + resource mining=profit.
john titor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 6 2010, 09:45 AM   #317
Crazy Eddie
Rear Admiral
 
Crazy Eddie's Avatar
 
Location: I'm in your ___, ___ing your ___
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

john titor wrote: View Post
Space exploration isn't just a political goal, its necessary? Why? Because the research involved in a manned mission to mars will generate technological dividends.
Unfortunately, those dividends do not neatly trickle down into consumer products and uses. It drives more innovation and invention, but it doesn't put alot of end product directly into consumers' hands.

It could also be a public works program. In fact building fleets of space ships would lift Americas economy out of the red.
Getting warmer.

The resources of the world are running out. So its a necessity to get out there and mine the resources of other planets. In this way public works + resource mining=profit.
THIS is the point that's hard to sell, though. As an extreme oversimplification, the real problem is that there isn't any oil on the moon, so nobody wants to fund a mission to explore it. If there was something else on the moon or near Earth asteroids valuable enough to directly benefit investors, you would have a cottage industry growing up around Cape Cannaveral in a matter of months.

Partly this is why alot of Sci-Fi stories hinge on some fanciful Unobtanium material being discovered in space as the impetus for colonization; usually it's helium-3 for fusion energy, sometimes it's something fancier like, say, Dragonite or Dilithium or carbon nanotube or whatever.

I submit that most of these things will never be valuable to people down on Earth, because sending them TO Earth will always be way more expensive than most people are comfortable with. A spaceborne industry and community, though, will find these resources not only essential, but a vital source of wealth, provided they're willing to accept near-permanent exile from Earth as the price of that wealth. But to do that, you need civilian industries and communities in space, and the only way to do THAT is to get civilians to start operating in space to begin with.

So NASA's on the right path. Bigelow has the money they need, now, to build their inflatable space stations and SpaceX has their ride. Things should start taking off from this.
__________________
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Starfleet - Online Now!
Crazy Eddie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 6 2010, 08:52 PM   #318
sojourner
Vice Admiral
 
sojourner's Avatar
 
Location: I'm at WKRP
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

^If you could find a nice high yield of something like titanium a case could be made to return it to earth. You mine and smelt the asteroid for the titanium, make cheap heat shields with the left over metals and send it to earth on a ballistic rentry. Since your only returning a very heat tolerant product, the heat shield does not have to be great. Have a ship standing by to scoop it out of the ocean = profit.

The hard part would be finding an asteroid with a precious metal and maneuvering it somewhere convenient like EML-1 or 2.
__________________
Baby, you and me were never meant to be, just maybe think of me once in a while...
sojourner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 6 2010, 08:58 PM   #319
Lindley
Moderator with a Soul
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

It seems to me that half the point of mining in space would be to avoid the energy cost of transporting the raw material out of Earth's gravity well. Unless you could somehow recover energy from the trip down (hmmm....), dropping space-mined materials down to the ground seems counter-productive. Better to just set up orbital manufacturing.
__________________
Lead Organizer for EVN: Firefly.
"So apparently the really smart zombies have automatic weapons!"
-Torg, Sluggy Freelance
Lindley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7 2010, 01:39 AM   #320
sojourner
Vice Admiral
 
sojourner's Avatar
 
Location: I'm at WKRP
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

^Then you loose the cost effectiveness of a nice dense, non-fragile payload trying to survive reentry. Which in turn raises the costs on making a more complicated return vessel. Better to refine in space and do the manufacture on earth, except for those things you intend to use in space to begin with.
__________________
Baby, you and me were never meant to be, just maybe think of me once in a while...
sojourner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7 2010, 02:01 AM   #321
Crazy Eddie
Rear Admiral
 
Crazy Eddie's Avatar
 
Location: I'm in your ___, ___ing your ___
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

sojourner wrote: View Post
^Then you loose the cost effectiveness of a nice dense, non-fragile payload trying to survive reentry. Which in turn raises the costs on making a more complicated return vessel.
Not necessarily. A simple aeroshell and a ballute can suffice for that, assuming the return vehicle doesn't have to transport people. It could end up being cheaper than air freight, especially if the heat shields are also manufactured in space.

Better to refine in space and do the manufacture on earth, except for those things you intend to use in space to begin with.
I don't think space mining is ever really going to catch on since there will always be a competitive as well as political advantage to ground-based operations. Energy and certain rare resources have the virtue of being scarce enough that you won't always be able to find them on Earth anyway.
__________________
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Starfleet - Online Now!
Crazy Eddie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7 2010, 04:34 AM   #322
sojourner
Vice Admiral
 
sojourner's Avatar
 
Location: I'm at WKRP
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

Not necessarily. A simple aeroshell and a ballute can suffice for that, assuming the return vehicle doesn't have to transport people. It could end up being cheaper than air freight, especially if the heat shields are also manufactured in space.
I think that's basically what I said a few posts up?

I don't think space mining is ever really going to catch on since there will always be a competitive as well as political advantage to ground-based operations.
If someone can make a profit, it will be competitive. Political advantages depend on the politician.



Energy and certain rare resources have the virtue of being scarce enough that you won't always be able to find them on Earth anyway.
Which is precisely why it might be more profitable at some point to mine these things in space.
__________________
Baby, you and me were never meant to be, just maybe think of me once in a while...
sojourner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7 2010, 06:11 AM   #323
Crazy Eddie
Rear Admiral
 
Crazy Eddie's Avatar
 
Location: I'm in your ___, ___ing your ___
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

sojourner wrote: View Post
Not necessarily. A simple aeroshell and a ballute can suffice for that, assuming the return vehicle doesn't have to transport people. It could end up being cheaper than air freight, especially if the heat shields are also manufactured in space.
I think that's basically what I said a few posts up?
Sort of. You're thinking that the return cost to Earth would be minimal, and I agree. It's just that the cost of mining it in the first place makes it a less than promising investment. Doing stuff in space is incredibly expensive, after all, and that creates alot of non-technical barriers of trade and transport (see below).

I don't think space mining is ever really going to catch on since there will always be a competitive as well as political advantage to ground-based operations.
If someone can make a profit, it will be competitive. Political advantages depend on the politician.
That's just it: there are no politicians in space, and it's unlikely that there will be many U.S. congressional districts in close proximity to high-value ore veins. When prospectors find these things, they're likely to exploit them independently instead of go through the trouble of annexing those asteroids in the name of the United States.

And profit has to do with things in space being a hell of a lot more expensive than things on Earth. You might think of it as Cosmic Inflation Economics: since everything in space is expensive anyway, a twenty billion dollar space flight isn't really that expensive in light of the fact that a pound of ground beef costs two hundred thousand dollars in a lunar supermarket. Since nobody's going to walk around with that much money in their pocket, space communities will probably issue their own form of currency that is alot more manageable, but the exchange rates aren't likely to favor space developers over ground developers.

Of course, hyperinflation produced by an already astronomically expensive space infrastructure would have to follow extremely high wages in order to make the system sustainable, which again means that the vast majority of customers who are in a position to use those resources will all be in space anyway.
__________________
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Starfleet - Online Now!
Crazy Eddie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7 2010, 06:27 AM   #324
STR
Captain
 
STR's Avatar
 
Location: Out there. Thatta way.
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

^You're close to hitting the mark here. Inflation is the key to spacefaring, but we're not going to have inflation caused by space. We're already going to have inflation when resources on earth get so rare that mining in space becomes cheaper than trying to find it here. This may not ever happen. It certainly won't for a lot of resources (Fe, Al, Ti), but Tungsten and Platinum are very valuable in a lot of high tech industries, and there is a very finite amount of those elements on earth.
__________________
An egotist is someone more interested in himself than me.
STR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7 2010, 06:32 AM   #325
Lindley
Moderator with a Soul
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

sojourner wrote: View Post
^Then you loose the cost effectiveness of a nice dense, non-fragile payload trying to survive reentry.
My assumption is that you don't want it to re-enter. Mine it up there, use it up there, keep it up there. Save the energy cost of lifting all those tons to orbit in the first place.
__________________
Lead Organizer for EVN: Firefly.
"So apparently the really smart zombies have automatic weapons!"
-Torg, Sluggy Freelance
Lindley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7 2010, 07:40 AM   #326
sojourner
Vice Admiral
 
sojourner's Avatar
 
Location: I'm at WKRP
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

^ why not use it down here too? If a business case can be made.
__________________
Baby, you and me were never meant to be, just maybe think of me once in a while...
sojourner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7 2010, 07:10 PM   #327
T'Girl
Vice Admiral
 
T'Girl's Avatar
 
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
When prospectors find these things, they're likely to exploit them independently
One problem with this whole line of thought is this, if I mine a material out of the moon, return it to earth and build a product out of it, I can't then legally sell it because I didn't own the original material. The United States signed the united nations 1967 moon treaty, the material I mined out of the moon is the common property of all mankind.

How can I sell it?

Asteroids would be a different case.
T'Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7 2010, 08:11 PM   #328
CaptJimboJones
Vice Admiral
 
CaptJimboJones's Avatar
 
Location: Hotlanta
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

john titor wrote: View Post
The resources of the world are running out. So its a necessity to get out there and mine the resources of other planets. In this way public works + resource mining=profit.
Or we could just put the same investment and effort into developing renewable fuels and solar energy, which would likely be far more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
__________________
"Do not fear mistakes. There are none." - Miles Davis
CaptJimboJones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7 2010, 10:07 PM   #329
sojourner
Vice Admiral
 
sojourner's Avatar
 
Location: I'm at WKRP
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

T'Girl wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
When prospectors find these things, they're likely to exploit them independently
One problem with this whole line of thought is this, if I mine a material out of the moon, return it to earth and build a product out of it, I can't then legally sell it because I didn't own the original material. The United States signed the united nations 1967 moon treaty, the material I mined out of the moon is the common property of all mankind.

How can I sell it?

Asteroids would be a different case.
I believe that treaty only applies to sovereignty. You could still mine it and utilize the resources.

Or we could just put the same investment and effort into developing renewable fuels and solar energy, which would likely be far more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
How does that help when you run out of say.... aluminium?
__________________
Baby, you and me were never meant to be, just maybe think of me once in a while...
sojourner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 8 2010, 03:27 AM   #330
Crazy Eddie
Rear Admiral
 
Crazy Eddie's Avatar
 
Location: I'm in your ___, ___ing your ___
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

STR wrote: View Post
^You're close to hitting the mark here. Inflation is the key to spacefaring, but we're not going to have inflation caused by space.
Not on Earth, no. What I mean is, the cost of doing things in space is inherently expensive to the point that any spaceborne economy will already be inflated with respect to its terrestrial counterpart. Since wages will have to keep up with prices, this isn't much of a problem, but it stands to severely complicate exchange of goods between space and Earth.
__________________
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Starfleet - Online Now!
Crazy Eddie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 08:27 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.