A former member
Post #: 9
I like the idea of an "open source" community in the commercial space development market, but the problem is, unlike lines of computer code, or musical notes, or similar areas of intensive intellectual output (with minimal equipment needs), space dev, even on a small scale, needs equipment and needs commercial facilities, etc. All of which is to say, a reasonable profit motive in which to attract people to invest therein.

Now, that said, I agree with you that the malarkey most space developers tout about $1trillion asteroids and what not is all so much fantasy... But where, on a smaller, more limited level, is there a profit motive that can help spur further development?
Michael D. M.
Mikeumus
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 2
Speaking of the alur of trillion dollar astroids, this new space mining company is going for it: http://www.planetaryr...­

I think it's a good thing. I can't say that if I was in their leaders position I wouldn't do the same. Truth is if they can flip/sell an astroid successfully, their going to make the top of the world's richest people pretty quickly. Same with whoever pulls off the first dyson shell.


A former member
Post #: 10
I know Planetary Resources generated a lot of buzz, but I think you are mistaken if anyone can flip an asteroid.

Lets start with the basic pricing tenet, that the product's value must equal, at a minimum, the cost it took to generate such product. Well, if it costs $1b in immediate and amortized long-term expenses to generate $1.01b in refined product, the profitability is just not there for investors. They would rather invest in an other african platinum mine or canadian gold mine or PA fracking field.

Second, how would such a product be financed to the end user? At least in the commodities market today, that would be commodities traders, right? They would carry cost and risk up to the point of final delivery, at which time the final end user would pick up the final market cost. But where would final delivery be? There would coincidentally have to be "shovel ready" projects of sufficient magnitude and near enough to their start date for commodities traders to even begin trading such minerals at near cost prices.

Third, what end user would have the economic wherewithal to buy a refined mineral for billions of dollars, when it costs only millions on earth? For instance, wouldn't a construction company rather generate a few million for costs of steel I-beams on a terrestrial project rather than paying a few BILLION for steel i-beams in LEO or on the lunar surface?

So, I think Planetary Resources and other companies have a lot to explain as far as their business plan before the capital markets will really get into the game.

What's your take?
Michael D. M.
Mikeumus
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 3
If there are any asteroids with gold deposits, you could fill up Fort Knox again and take Mohamed Ali butterfly jabs at the USA's national debt. But that's not linked to profit and is a little overkill if the goal is to buy some government influence, but it'd be a nice thing to do, lol wink

One of the engineers in the video I think said exactly what you said a few messages back, that the resources harvested would mostly be used to fuel/build things existing in space already. Maybe in a larger vision having such active mines (and then factories) in space would be great steps towards building a dyson shell (and of course reaching out into space), which would be profitable along with lower the cost of energy if natural economic nature(supply and demand) has it's way.

It seems going into space is going to simply lower the cost of most things, lol. Raw resources and energy. It's a step towards a evolution in humanity and how we do business. I can see a future way of doing business that is more open and towards the goal that business is really around for, the betterment of our lives (or the lives involved, but nothing happens in a vacuum so everyone benefits). My web company has a philosophy, tis the following:

Two units exchanging in commerce are interacting to trade value.
This value is bought to increase the betterment of their life’s.
Therein MDM is attempting to make this world a better place.

( http://massdistributi...­ )

It could also read: Therein MDM sees/acknowledges it's attempting to make this world a better place.

Businesses are here to serve us, all legal organizations are. The problem is some businesses don't see this and their vision if a false one of them being in a vacuum.
A former member
Post #: 11
Agreed. Building nothing so large as a dyson sphere, but large-scale orbital and lunar structures that can support large numbers of people.

I wouldn't mind a little of that gold myself!

However, if you work backwards towards now, what is that "first step" towards the eventual large-scale orbital structure? That's the trick. It has to be something greater and more worthwhile than our rickety old ISS, but 1,000% more cost effective than the same.
A former member
Post #: 1
Just an example and a naive thought..If we find abundant gold on asteroids, it will no longer be a precious metal and will be as abundant and cheap as aluminium. Perhaps then gold can be used to built wires and computer chips for which it might be excellent.
If we find plenty of Uranium or perhaps some other element, it could take us closer to solving the energy crisis. Space exploration has infinite possibilities.
A former member
Post #: 19
Just an example and a naive thought..If we find abundant gold on asteroids, it will no longer be a precious metal and will be as abundant and cheap as aluminium. Perhaps then gold can be used to built wires and computer chips for which it might be excellent.
If we find plenty of Uranium or perhaps some other element, it could take us closer to solving the energy crisis. Space exploration has infinite possibilities.

It does indeed! However, we have to think about the financial aspect of any such endeavors. That's the purpose of this club, in fact, is to bring people to think about these thoughts. As of today, what you describe is already the case-- there is a tremendous supply of water ice, precious metals, potential fuel sources, etc., located on the billions of asteroids in our solar system, but with high energy costs to get there, no one wants to proceed in gathering such... The reason why not, I think, is two fold:

1. No one yet can supply the tools necessary to actually do the job-- we all love the thoughts of asteroids or robot miners working through regolith on some distant asteroid, maybe mining for water, say, but WHAT actually happens in the process? How do the miners actually extract unprocessed material from an asteroid? How do they actually transport it back to their smelting/refining apparatus? How does the smelting/refining apparatus acutally work? Chemicals/heat/physical processes, and how does that work in a closed environment of a space craft? And then how do our erstwhile miners actually store and transport these items? And these thoughts, of course, not covering the basics of keeping robots or humans safe and fully functioning on a day to day basis.

NO one has actually thought through these processes in sufficient detail, as far as I am aware, to make companies like Planetary Resources actually viable.

2. What does the financing look like for such a mission? Where do start-up funds come from? Stocks, bonds, securitization, loans, government money.... or something else entirely? All avenues to finance seem fraught with difficulties. And once you have refined ore, who are your end users? How are they paying for your minerals/chemicals/refined products, and why are they paying for them? Again, Planetary Resources has no answer to this... I don't think any financial institution or company has actually thought through these issues....
J.G. Bowman I.
user 6847341
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 47
How is The 100 Year Starship even remotely commercial? I ask because in a club called the New York Club for Commercial Space Ventures one might expect the busiest discussion to be around a commercial space venture rather than one that will always be supported by the taxpayers (via DARPA and NASA).

I know of people involved in interstellar R&D but in efforts separate from 100YSS. I could put interstellar travel on a commercial basis if anyone is interested.

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