20 October 2009

Another Good Reason for Going Into Space

Gold, platinum, iron, uranium, and other metals so valuable to modern life may not be native to this planet. In fact, the highly valued goodies so painstakingly mined from Earth's crust may only be a small sample packet of what celestial bodies hold in store for whoever wants to go out and get it.
"The extreme temperature at which the Earth's core formed more than four billion years ago would have completely stripped any precious metals from the rocky crust and deposited them in the core," says James Brenan of the Department of Geology at the University of Toronto and co-author of the study published in Nature Geoscience on October 18.

"So, the next question is why are there detectable, even mineable, concentrations of precious metals such as platinum and rhodium in the rock portion of the Earth today? Our results indicate that they could not have ended up there by any known internal process, and instead must have been added back, likely by a 'rain' of extraterrestrial debris, such as comets and meteorites." _SD
We know that there are single asteroids likely to be valued well over $1 trillion for their mineral content. _ Even a relatively small asteroid with a diameter of 1 km can contain more than $20 trillion US dollars worth of industrial metals (e.g., iron and nickel), precious metals (e.g., cobalt, gold and platinum) and rare earth elements. Wikipedia

As off-Earth infrastructures build, the value of concentrated mineral resources in space is apt to increase in a boot-strap fashion, in an unprecedented economic boom and expansion of human activity.

We have been trained by our politicians, our media, our professors, to expect increasing limits on economic growth and activity. But what if such arbitrary limits are unnecessary -- are in fact lethally dangerous to the future of humans?

It is time to transcend arbitrary authority and arbitrary limits at the same time. Petty dictators need to be put in their proper place -- in museums and zoos.


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Blogger LeighG said...

As long as the Outer Space Treaty clouds ownership of extraterrestrial resources - we won't see any significant progress on commercialization.

It's raining soup out there - but we've got a rule against putting the soup in our mouths.


Tuesday, 20 October, 2009  
Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

abiotic oil formation theory addresses how heavy metals got into the upper crust. Very simplified explanation:

Metals can be dissolved in hydrocarbons (which is one reason petroleum coke often has a high content of metals such as vanadium). As the hydrocarbons flowed through the crust, the metals precipitated out.

Tuesday, 20 October, 2009  
Blogger neil craig said...

Meteor gold etc should normally be found in circular fields, ie within the crater. I don't know anything about goldfields so can't say if there is such a trend.

Either way your main point is absolutely corect. Once we have a commercial access to Earth orbit we are half way to anywhere including half way to these $trillion lodes.

Wednesday, 21 October, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

Leigh: Yes, those castrating international treaties have to go.

HILN: Interesting idea. There could well be multiple explanations. Certainly the Earth has had its share of bombardments in the past, and those heavenly bodies appear to be rich in resources.

Neil: Yes. As rich as the skies are, it's a wonder we haven't tried harder to get there.

I wouldn't even try to predict the subsequent geological distribution of asteroidal-sourced minerals after a devastating collision. There are many factors that could influence the final mineral distribution.

Wednesday, 21 October, 2009  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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