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Claim SMine - 1000 T/yr space mine by 2040

Category: Science & Technology:Space bid 51, ask 52, last 51
Owner:119, David Blenkinsop
Judge:73, Karl Hallowell
due date:2040/01/31

The Claim

A long term goal of many researchers and space frontier advocates is to develop the mining and use of space materials (to make rocket propellants, spacecraft, satellites, and human settlements, etc.), avoiding having to launch the needed materials out of earth's gravity field; this is particularly important for large scale applications such as very large satellites or human habitats.

YES coupons pay FX$1.00 if the "outer space derived" mass of commercial, industrial or military products for any 365 day period ending before 2040/01/01 GMT exceeds 1000 metric tonnes, $0.00 otherwise. For the purposes of this claim, "outer space derived mass" refers to that portion of the mass of products that comes from off-earth sources, and that *stays* in outer space for the 365 day period being considered, whether in orbit, or in an orbital structure such as a geostationary cable, or on the moon, or on another planetary object besides the earth. Capital production, i.e. the production of more factories using space derived resources, should be counted as products contributing to the fulfillment of the claim target. Also, mine tailings (such as lunar soil after O2 extraction), should not be included, even if used "as is" for radiation shielding or other purposes.

To properly fulfill the 1000 tonne production requirement, the mass of any materials taken from planet Earth should not be counted, although such materials may form a portion of particular products or constructions. Further, if exact production figures are not available for any reason, the "SMine" claim judge should follow the most reasonably conservative estimates available, delaying any judging of the claim "as satisfied" until reasonably sure that the 1000 tonne target has been reached. In addition, it should be understood that the space-derived product mass being estimated should involve more than just raw materials or tailings being scooped or moved around or packaged - the fine-grained structure of such materials should be specifically altered for some final use, on the millimeter scale or smaller, before being counted for this claim.

BACKGROUND: The Space Studies Institute (SSI), is devoted to developing the technologies for bringing about a large scale use of space resources. The basic idea here is that a system of mines and factories, based on more-or-less ordinary factory robots or other devices, could replicate itself quite rapidly, doubling production on the order of every two months, so that a really large scale output could be reached in as little as 2 years. See, for example, SSI founder Gerard K. O'Neill's "Alternative Plan for U.S. National Space Program" at http://www.ralentz.com/old/space/ssi/alt-plan.html - outlining a plan that would require *100 times* the 1000 tonne "SMine" production level! Molecular nanotechnology may help greatly with the success of this or similar plans - for a discussion of this, particularly in relation to space settlements, see http://science.nas.nasa.gov/Services/Education/SpaceSettlement, and follow the link named "unless".

Judge's Statement


The Market

Price Plot for life of SMine
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