NASA discovers rare metal worth $10,000 quadrillion!

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by wegs, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    https://observer.com/2020/10/nasa-discover-asteroid-pysche-metal-10-quadrillion/

    Wow, this is truly amazing. Just think, the US could pay off its debt, many times over.

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    From the article: The asteroid is believed to be the dead core left by a planet that failed during its formation early in the Solar System’s life or the result of many violent collisions in its distant past.

    So, how does a planet ''fail'' during formation?
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    There was a phase during the creation of the Solar System where a lot of small planetary bodies coalesced and started smashing into each other. The successful ones got larger quickly and likely got early atmospheres of water vapor. This meant their gravity was high, so that a large impact would not blow the pieces apart back into space. And the thin atmosphere tended to slow down impactors and also slow down debris that was trying to escape. The bigger they got, the more atmosphere they retained and the more successful they were at remaining in one piece.

    Some smaller bodies started coalescing then were smashed to bits by large impactors with such energy that they did not re-coalesce.
     
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  5. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    That's a very cool discovery. I wonder how many governments across the globe are licking their chops to get ahold of that score. Asteroid Wars is just around the corner.
     
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  7. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

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    Except that the cost of just the fuel required to even alter its orbit enough to bring it close to the Earth is more than that by several magnitudes.
     
  8. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Don’t ruin our dreams, Janus lol
     
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    But there are so many other ways to do it. You could refine there and send refined metals back using solar sails. You could use a large-array ion engine fueled by the metals from the asteroid to move the asteroid itself. If there are volatiles there, you could use a bunch of nuclear thermal rocket engines and get it back in a few decades. Heck you could even use an Orion-type drive! You'd be able to see that in action from Earth.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Worth is based on supply and demand. How valuable do you think gold would be if we suddenly found that all sand on the world's beaches was actually gold?
     
  11. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    So, you’re saying that “16 Psyche” is only super expensive because it will be difficult to gain access to it?
     
  12. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    The answer is simple - zero. What it is "worth" was computed based on the assumption of it being "totally made of iron and nickel".

    Iron is \$ 123 per ton, nickel \$ 15,000 per ton. Transporting whatever from that place "just around the corner" to Earth will be how much per ton?

    It is not super-expensive but simply worthless. The computation of the price is simply an example of economic stupidity of the writer of the article.
     
  13. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    It isn't really valued at 10 quadrillion. They are just taking the current spot price of nickel and iron and multiplying it by however many pounds they are determining the asteroid to be.

    Yes, in addition to that it would be ridiculously expensive to get it here to Earth but even if it just appeared on Earth it wouldn't be worth that much. Things are expensive when they are not commonly available.

    If air wasn't commonly available, one liter of it would be very, very expensive. As it is, it's worth very little. There's only so much need for more iron and nickel than is presently available. If a few thousand tons of it showed up that would be valuable (not in the quadrillion range) but if market were flooded with it, it would be worth little. The total world economy of everything and not just iron and nickel is worth $80 trillion or so. What does $10 quadrillion even mean?
     
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    It's worth a lot because people pay a lot for certain metals. But if there's a lot of metal on the market the price goes down.

    It would still certainly pay the US debt many times over because 1) when metals get cheaper people find more uses for them/use more of them; the demand is flexible in other words. And 2) if you could get it into orbit it's already worth more because you don't have to lift the metal to orbit for anything done in orbit. Imagine, for example, putting a 10 meter thick shell around the leading edge of the ISS. You could stop worrying about collisions with space debris and the increased radiation you see in orbit.
     
  15. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

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    So this asteroid is essentially a giant chunk of stainless steel and as such is worth a lot of money. It is much cheaper to manufacture the stainless steel on earth than to get it from the asteroid.
     
  16. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    That depends on the cost of a mining ship large enough to go there and back with an ample cargo.
     
  17. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    By this logic, Mercury would be worth even more. Let's go and get Mercury and we'll all be rich.
     
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  18. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Why stop there? What about all that hydrogen in the Sun?
     
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  19. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Arguing over the cost of an asteroid. Only on sci-forums.

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  20. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe the author was going for that shock and awe effect. It clearly didn’t work on you. lol
     
  21. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    How cool would it be to have your kitchen sink made out of an asteroid, though? lol
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    And helium! We're actually running out of that stuff.
     
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