Asteroid Affirmative

Asteroid Mining = Profitable

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Asteroid Mining = Profitable

Asteroids have huge economic benefits

Ross 2001 (Shane D. Ross is an assistant professor of dynamical studies at Virginia Tech, “Near-Earth

Asteroid Mining.Cal Tech: Space Industry Report, December 14 2001, Pg 6. TDA)

Kargel [1997] estimated that one metallic asteroid of modest size (1 km) and fair enrichment in platinum group metals would contain twice the tonnage of PGMs already harvested on Earth combined with economically viable PGM resources still in the ground. At recent prices, this asteroid’s iron, nickel, PGMs, and other metals would have a value exceeding that of the world’s proven economic reserves of nonmetallic and metallic mineral resources. The availability of asteroid metals would lower market prices. Even then, the value of the asteroid derived materials would be enormous.

Asteroid Mining = Good Idea

Asteroids that have been diverted from Earth can then be mined for their resources.

Lewis 97 (John S. Lewis is a professor of planetary science at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, former professor of space sciences at MIT. “Escaping the ultimate disaster--a cosmic collision.”  Futurist, Jan/Feb97, Vol. 31, Issue 1. EBSCOhost. TDA)

Why not blow it up? Bad idea. If we split an approaching one-gigaton object into 10 equal pieces of 100 megatons of energy each, they'd strike Earth like a giant shotgun pattern. The main effect of breaking up the threatening impactor would be to increase the damage done. The disruption of a threatening impactor is clearly not a sensible option unless we are certain that almost all of its fragments can be diverted so as to miss Earth. But if we have the ability to divert dozens of pieces, why not elect the simpler option of gently diverting the whole thing? The idea of diverting the course of an asteroid that is several hundred meters in diameter seems breathtakingly ambitious. Yet, human mining activities routinely crush, excavate, and move comparable volumes of rock. There is an important factor that makes this scenario much less daunting: We are merely trying to avoid a single predicted impact with Earth. Suppose our asteroid-search team finds a 250-meter body that is due to hit Earth dead center a few hundred years from now. This same body has probably been crossing Earth's orbit for 10 million to 100 million years without an impact. If we can just ease it by Earth without an impact on this one occasion, we may well buy ourselves another 30 million years to figure out what to do the next time it threatens us. So the real problem is not to devise a permanent fix; it is to avoid a specific near-term event. We might give the asteroid a small sideways nudge so that, when it reaches Earth, it will skim by to one side of the planet rather than strike it directly. Or we could accelerate or decelerate the asteroid along its direction of orbital motion so as to change its orbital period slightly. This would cause the asteroid to cross Earth's orbit a little ahead of or behind the impact schedule it was following, and hence cross Earth's orbit at a point ahead of or behind Earth. There are many methods available for making such small changes in the velocity of an asteroid. One of the favorite techniques proposed by military experts is to explode a small nuclear warhead well clear of the surface of the asteroid. But simply launching an existing intercontinental ballistic missile at the asteroid would not work: Such vehicles cannot achieve escape velocity to reach an asteroid on its orbit around the Sun. Further, missile guidance systems are designed to operate for the half-hour of an intercontinental trip--not the weeks or months required for the trip to an asteroid. The mission would have to be accomplished by a military warhead combined with a NASA planetary spacecraft bus that provides guidance and power Readers concerned about the environmental impact of such an explosion should realize that the asteroid would not be contaminated to any significant degree by radioactive bomb debris, since the surface layer would be boiled off by the blast. The bomb vapor would be swept out of the solar system by the solar wind at a speed of about 600 kilometers per second. The net result of the asteroid deflection is really a twofold benefit to Earth: A devastating impact would be avoided, and there would be one less nuclear warhead on Earth.

Asteroid Mining = Economically Feasible

Improvements made with each mining trip operation decreases costs and boost efficiency

Gerlach 2005 (Charles Gerlach is the CEO Gerlach Space Systems, “Profitability Exploiting Near-Earth Object Resources.” Given at the International Space Development Conference in Washington DC, May 192005,, pg 1-2. TDA)

When viewed in the context of traditional mining practices, the NEO Miner platform represents a classic example of a disruptive technology. Disruptive technologies bring to the market very different value propositions than have been available previously. Generally, disruptive technologies initially underperform established products in mainstream markets, but they have other features that a few fringe (and generally new) customer value. Products based on disruptive technologies are typically cheaper, simpler,smaller, and frequently more convenient to use. Neo Miner does not represent an incremental improvement to traditional resource production processes. It is a radical departure that is smaller and cheaper than a traditional mining operation and many, in some ways, be considered inferior. However, it has the potential to be highly disruptive of traditional mining methods. As a disruptive technology, initial success is likely to fuel rapid improvements in performance and reductions in cost. The use of multiple landers with modular components is a powerful tool for risk reduction that enables the capture of economies of scale that can dramatically drive down the cost of this equipment over time. Once successful operation of the platform is demonstrated, it will become viable to build landers using assembly-line production processes and deploy multiple missions to one or more asteroids simultaneously, producing significant marketable quantities of resources for sale in terrestrial markets and for use on orbit. In addition, it will be possible to update the NEO Miner platform in each successive generation based on data and experiences gathered through each deployment. This could enable dramatic improvements in the functionality of the landers as well as drive down their cost to a point that dozens of missions with hundreds of landers can be launched. This approach has the potential to dramatically drive down the cost of utilizing asteroid resources on Earth and beyond.

Asteroid mining is the only feasible way to colonize space - trucking resources Earth is costly and inefficient whereas getting them from asteroids is cheap and has a stellar economic benefit.

Bonsor 2k (Kevin, Bachelors degree in Journalism from Georgia Southern University writer for How Stuff Works and, “How Asteroid Mining Will Work”, accessed from, November 10th 2000, NB

If you enjoy science fiction, then you know that the thought of colonizing the moon makes for some incredibly imaginative stories. But there is a good possibility that lunar cities will become a reality during the 21st century! Colonizing Mars is another option as well. Right now, one of the biggest problems with the idea of a moon colony is the question of building supplies. There is no Home Depot on the moon, so the building supplies have to come from somewhere. The only place to get the supplies right now is the Earth, with the space shuttle acting as a truck. Using the space shuttle in this way is something like using FedEx to get all of the materials for building a house to a construction site -- It's incredibly expensive and not very efficient! Asteroids may be a much better place to get the supplies. Early evidence suggests that there are trillions of dollars' worth of minerals and metals buried in asteroids that come close to the Earth. Asteroids are so close that many scientists think an asteroid mining mission is easily feasible.

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