NASA\'s Deep Impact

From Cincinnatti.com:

"We're back on (the timeline) and look forward to our encounter with comet Tempel 1 this summer," said Rick Grammier, the Deep Impact project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The spacecraft will release an "impactor" that is designed to collide with the comet and produce a crater the size of a football stadium. That should allow instruments aboard the spacecraft to study material beneath the comet's surface. The mission cost $330 million.

Apparently the going rate for smashing large holes into flying rocks these days is $330 million. Actually I find it kind of strange to see a description of a NASA mission without the word "billion" attached somewhere. So to keep this in proportion I have decided to contemplate the following question: How far could a private spacetech firm go with 330 million dollars?

Let's presume they already had the fancy shuttles/craft that could get them up there. What kind of mission do you think that amount of money could fund for a non-governmental space enterprise?

And before the speculations become too wild, what I am particularly curious about is how far off the illusory dream of asteroid mining is.

330 million dollars and a space craft utilizing current technology. What would you do with it?

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And before the speculations

And before the speculations become too wild, what I am particularly curious about is how far off the illusory dream of asteroid mining is.

Before the mining of any asteroid material makes any ecomnomic sense, it must have a meaningful non-terrestrial application, or it must be something novel that does not exist on the planetary surface. All applications of scarce materials on Earth already are priced to reflect that scarcity and their marginal value product for the products whose production they enable. Their use has already been economized. New supply from space will largely result in a lower price, limiting potential profits from any asteroid mining. This is especially true for gold, whose demand and value is largely a monetary, or exchange-value.

Regards, Don

Fill it full of gold and

Fill it full of gold and jewels, launch it, and hold a contest to see who can be the 1st to grab all that stuff out of the ship while in space. But really the loading of the gold and jewels would all be a magic trick so that when the first people are able to open the ship up to win the contest they won't find gold but a simple message of love, peace and hope -- our greatest treasures.

...or you could make the ship available for patients with terminal illnesses, for a fee, and when they get into space they can be launched into the cold blackness.

I'm pretty sure the world's

I'm pretty sure the world's first Interstellar Porn Series would more than recoup the mission cost, and it wouldn't suck down a third of a billion bucks. You get some acrobatic and flexible bodies up there, enough handholds, and let the cameras roll.

Somehow I don't see owning a

Somehow I don't see owning a gigantic rock of nickel, iron, or some other commodity to ultimately be an unprofitable venture. Sure an increase in supply would make the price go down but so what? Having a low price (or rather lower than current price) doesn't mean you can't make a profit selling something. Every time gold was discovered it caused the value of gold to drop, but that didn't keep people from making fortunes directly from the new found gold.

The fact that the lower price might limit potential profits from any asteroid mining, given the abundance of certain elements in asteroids, is not relevant when compared to the fact that it would also limit potential profits from any continued terrestrial mining of that element. Once the operation was in place an asteroid mine could render similar terrestrial mines obsolete.

I'm all for the porn in space though. I bet you could do that for just a couple hundred thousand... maybe less. :smitten:

One thing that I think is

One thing that I think is interesting about the qhole question is the fact that, since a private company can't simply collect more congressional revenue every time they need it, whatever they did in space would be far more economically productive then the silly nonsense that Nasa often flubs about with.

$330 million dollars? I

$330 million dollars? I would invest half of it in glorious mutual funds, and take the other half to my friend Asadulah who works in securities...

I bet you could pull off a

I bet you could pull off a moon colony for that price. Possibly just a station but I'm sure you could put up some kind of permanent outpost on the moon for 330 million. The question is what would you do with it. Mining, refueling, a maintenance station for longer trips into space, a tourist spot, a hotel...

Four words: KEGGER ON THE

Four words: KEGGER ON THE MOON!!!111 :idea: :gossip: :beatnik: :juggle: :lol: :sweat: :dead:

Who needs Ethics when we've

Who needs Ethics when we've got "Journalism"!
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