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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

“The researchers assessed the initiative on extraction of minerals on asteroids”

Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg Etienne Schneider invited the Russian colleague Dmitry Rogozin to consider a joint exploration of asteroids. We are talking about mining in space, in which Luxembourg could invest money, and Russia the technology. Experts told, what can be found on asteroids and how they might be used.

During the meeting Vice Prime Ministers of Russia and Luxembourg, which ended yesterday, in addition to the EU sanctions against Moscow and other pressing issues were raised and a rather unusual theme. The luxembourger Etienne Schneider suggested considering joint development of asteroids. According to “Kommersant”, Schneider “is counting” on Russia – both in terms of attracting Russian technologies of space exploration, and in terms of partnership with Russian companies, primarily by Russian Federal space Agency, in developing the legal framework for the enterprises that interested in the “cosmic perspectives”.

“I don’t think mining metals on asteroids is a thing of the near future”

“Once the precious metals is over even in Russia, and they will have to look somewhere else”, – quotes the words of Schneider newspaper.

We will add that in early February, the Luxembourg authorities have announced ambitious plans for the extraction of rare metals on asteroids. Before the law on the commercial use of mineral resources on asteroids and on the moon was only adopted in the US, but now the Ministry of economy of Luxembourg plans to prepare a European legal framework for similar work.

And Luxembourg are the really serious potential participant of such projects, despite their tiny size. According to Schneider, his country is the third largest direct investment partner of Russia (though, mainly due to the repatriation of the money of Russian entrepreneurs).

“I already told my friend that the Chelyabinsk metallurgists – tough guys and already get the iron for their factories directly from the asteroids,” he joked, responding Luxembourg colleague Rogozin.

Vzglyad decided to find out how real could be for mining asteroids for minerals.

Can be used as a transport

On this topic

Dmitry Rogozin, space, Russia in space, asteroids

According to senior researcher Pulkovo Observatory Sergei Smirnov, in principle, the asteroids may be of great interest not only for scientists but also for the industry. This issue is discussed any more the first year.

However, the most realistic scenario for the use of these heavenly bodies at the moment seems to be different. “First of all, it is possible to about vehicle use, he said the newspaper VIEW. Because asteroids cross in its path the orbit of many different planets. And, in principle, they could arrange shipment of certain goods from one part of galaxy to another, and it can be enough large amounts. You can use the asteroids when carrying out any construction works directly in the space or to take with them the minerals closer to the area of the Earth. But I must say, this process is very, very expensive, and in the short term, such is unlikely to be implemented.”

A statement by the representative of Luxembourg seems to be a specialist rather an attempt of PR, additional fundraising for some of the researchers.

Estimating the stocks of useful metals on asteroids, Smirnov noted that substances that are not included in the periodic table, there is likely no “unity of the chemical composition of the Universe is obvious,” however, the distribution of specific elements on different planets are very different. “Although I do not think that someday we will find a fully Golden or platinum asteroid you believe hard enough”, – he concluded.

In turn, senior researcher of the Institute of applied astronomy Russian Academy of Sciences Nikolai Zheleznov said the newspaper VIEW that the asteroid, first of all, it makes sense to look for rare earth metals, such as iridium or Zirconia. They really need to Earth, used in electronics industries and represent great value.

And learn about the presence of metals in the asteroids managed including through the dinosaurs, “Take a global catastrophe, when the Earth became extinct dinosaurs… Why did you decide that it is then the asteroid hit? But because on the whole planet just found rare earth metals, – said the expert. – And when it recently fell in the Chelyabinsk meteorite, there was also a lot of different metals”.

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Three levels of terrorist ugrozoy projects for the extraction of minerals on asteroids Zheleznov fantastic calls and the statements made by the Luxembourg Vice Prime Minister also sees a PR, but in the future not very distant future all things are possible.

To make it easier and cheaper to mine metals in space, you could even use traditional tools now used of capture and movement with the help of different engines that “fit” for the asteroid closer to Earth, make it a satellite of our planet, and then install it on the analogues of drilling rigs.

“There are two issues – lists Zheleznov. – First – pay off all this cost? In this there is doubt. Second. If you set the asteroid into orbit, there is a risk that it will crumble, will fall into a tailspin, and even if it is a 100-meter object, its output is out of control can turn into big trouble”.

Finally, the scientist noted that the presence of those or other useful metals on asteroids most can only guess. Through the telescope can only approximately estimate their chemical composition. This may be judged, for example, reflectivity of the asteroids. It is known that bright asteroids are composed of stone and zheltokamenka basis. And the dark, mostly, from coal, of which “on Earth and so many.”

“I don’t think mining metals on asteroids is a thing of the near future, but in the more distant future – why not,” said Zheleznov.

Hazardous asteroids

The theme of the asteroids have long stirred the minds of many researchers. And, mostly, they talked about what they can be dangerous.

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On 11 February, Russian scientists have proposed to destroy asteroids with a diameter of 20-50 meters ballistic missiles. And test the weapons on the asteroid Apophis, which in 2036 will approach too close to the Ground, said a leading researcher in the design Bureau named after Makeyev Sabit of Saidgareev.

According to him, the Intercontinental missile has become a terrible weapon against hazardous space objects, it is necessary to install an additional upper stage, which would allow to increase the flight range.

In January it was reported that Russia abandoned plans to develop technologies allowing to detect Earth-threatening asteroids. This was done because of the savings.

Prior to this the Central research Institute of machine building (TsNIIMash, the head research Institute of Roscosmos) reported that the international scientific community has asked the Russian scientists to develop a system for diverting asteroids that could threaten Earth, with nuclear explosions in space.

On 6 January the Ministry of emergency situations of Russia gave a forecast that in 2016 is not expected threat approaches Earth with asteroids larger than 100 meters.

And in 2013, one of the leading engineering companies in the world showed interest in drilling asteroids.


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