Blockchains in Space!

As far as I can tell, this is Not From the Onion.

Blockchain venture production studio ConsenSys, Inc. has acquired the pioneering space company Planetary Resources, Inc. through an asset-purchase transaction. Planetary Resources’ President & CEO Chris Lewicki and General Counsel Brian Israel have joined ConsenSys in connection with the acquisition.

…Ethereum Co-founder and ConsenSys Founder Joe Lubin said, “I admire Planetary Resources for its world class talent, its record of innovation, and for inspiring people across our planet in support of its bold vision for the future. Bringing deep space capabilities into the ConsenSys ecosystem reflects our belief in the potential for Ethereum to help humanity craft new societal rule systems through automated trust and guaranteed execution. And it reflects our belief in democratizing and decentralizing space endeavors to unite our species and unlock untapped human potential. We look forward to sharing our plans and how to join us on this journey in the months ahead.”

As Eli Dourado quipped, cryptocurrency mining, asteroid mining, pretty much the same thing, right? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


I guess both asteroid mining and crypto mining involve burning a huge amount of energy in the hope of achieving takeoff.

Bad analogy. You only have to expend enough energy so an asteroid gets captured by the earth's gravitational field and falls to earth, not for it to 'take off', hopefully said asteroid not landing its mineral rich contents on a major city but landing in say Anarctica, where most asteroids are found and which for some reason end up 'bunched' like waves of seashells on a sea shore, close to one another (wind and freezing cycles over thousands of years play a role).

Bonus trivia: the world's earliest rocks are asteroids found in the South Pole and some contain complex carbon amino acids. What does that say about extraterresteral life? is my spell checck working? No.

Thank you, I've been arguing this for years, why would we mine asteroids in space when the obvious answer is to move them from space to the surface of earth where the cost of refining and transporting raw materials is lower.

What could possibly go wrong?

"What could possibly go wrong?"

A: they burn up passing through the atmosphere

"Thank you, I've been arguing this for years, why would we mine asteroids in space when the obvious answer is to move them from space to the surface of earth where the cost of refining and transporting raw materials is lower."

That makes sense for raw materials that are used upon the Earth, but not for anything that's needed off planet. And when a space industry kicks off, the bulk of the building will be in space. And presumably the costs of space manufacturing will rapidly decline as soon as the raw material can be procured in space.

The whole point of asteroid mining is that you don't need to waste a lot of energy to transport anything from Earth surface to space. That's where up to 99% waste in current space construction is (because you need to waste so much mass just to get to space). If the problem is "not enough minerals on Earth", asteroids won't help as much, there is much more metals in Earth crust. There is around 5% Iron by ppm in Earth crust (crust weighs 2.5×10^22kg), that translates to 1,150,000,000 tonnes = 1,1×10^12kg of iron produced annualy. ALL the asteroids in Solar system are approximately half the moon (7.342×10^22kg) in mass , that's 3×10^22 kg in all of the solar system. Iron is the most common metal in asteroids and none of them are that different from Earth's crust by specific element. From this a few things can be seen:
1) We are only using a minuscule fraction of any element present on our planet.
2) All of the Solar System asteroids can provide us with about the same ammount of element, but they they are all very far apart.
3) Any one asteroid is minuscule compared to what is already on Earth.
4) Asteroids will lose a lot of mass on decent.
5) Asteroids are however free from gravitational well of Earth.

The only reason to mine asteroids, as was mentioned time and time before is use them, where they are.

Good comment.

An iron asteroid could be cut into pieces the size of a car and deorbited and could be expected to be intact after impact without burying themselves. Larger pieces could be dropped intact if their surface area to volume ratio was large enough.

But this will be scrap metal worth maybe a few hundred dollars a tonne and not something that will pay for itself at the moment. It's not possible to grab high value stuff off an asteroid. We've examined a lot and they don't have ore deposits like there are on earth. You may have been told there is lots of gold and platinum in an asteroid, but the fact is there is a lot of gold and platinum in the dirt in your backyard but it's economically useless because it's not concentrated. There's a lack of ore bodies on asteroids and the moon.

That "only enough" is still a huge amount. Moving a mountain is not easy.

"The Space Shuttle main engine could just deflect a 1 km asteroid, given 30 years advance warning. A Delta 2 first stage, with a several-minute burn, could deflect a 100 m object given 6 months warning."

They are talking about deflecting it enough to miss the earth, so a tiny fraction of a degree.


'pretty much the same thing, right'

Well, apart from one actually is beyond our current abilities to master the physical requirements, while the other is merely a shared fantasy.

Of course, a modern version of the Mississippi Company is certainly not impossible when combining the idea of a new form of currency and the promises of vast riches in a very sparsely settled environment. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I'm surprised that the connection is not obvious -- regardless of the end results.

Not having looked and the press release from Planetary Resources not sure if this was part of it or not. PR does a lot of "open source" type collaboration with the interested public. Finding good asteroids for mining and then funding and earning both a return of investment and possibly a share in ownership would be well suited to a block-chain system.

With every blockchain idea you have to ask "what is the requirement for a decentralized system that is not based on trust?" because that's the only benefit of blockchain.

I don't see it here. The problem with mining (or any physical business) is that ultimately somebody has to do the mining, and you have to trust that they will actually do it, rather than just stealing the money, and then return the profits to you when they have done it. A cryptocurrency or other blockchain system does nothing to ensure this. Why not just give them normal currency?

Given them normal currency and what? They issue share certificates that you then have to store in a fire-safe? The block chain solves many problems, one of which is proof of purchase. L

I think you make a false assumption: block-chain == crypto currency. Block-chains can certainly be used for many other purposed and it was more in the ownership or rights perspective I was considering (consider some of the supply chain uses in place). The funding can certainly be easily accomplished using standard/traditional monetary mechanisms.

"Block-chains can certainly be used for many other purposed"


A technology bereft of a Use Case.

Blockchain is just a decentralized method of storing some data and validating one version of the truth. If you don't need the decentralization, you can just use...a database. Or countless other simple, proven technologies.

Glenn W. Turner's company was called Koscot Interplanetary. He was a visionary. There are hucksters for every generation.

Ugh, I'm never going to be able to afford a gaming rig if they start mining asteroids with gpus too!

"cryptocurrency mining, asteroid mining, pretty much the same thing, right?"


Pay tens of billions of dollars to Elon Musk to pay workers to build solar plus batteries, and to build rockets in quantities conservatives say can't be produced because excess capital manufacture destroys the profits that create wealth by capital scarcity.

Cryptocurrency wealth has been destroyed by too much capital producing cryptocurrency faster than workers can save to buy and build up the currency.

And the problem with mineral mining is deregulation and too much demand driving up mineral prices has resulted in too much capital being built which results in no scarcity, no profits, and wealth destruction.

For example, China policy against the US and Japan led to US government subsidies for building rare earth mining and refining capital that came on line just when China ceased to limit supply, eliminating scarcity, destroying profits, destroying capital as the US rare earth mining and refining capital were liquidated.

China has built more rare earth mining and refining based on China embracing Keynes.

In the US, Elon Musk is pursuing Keynes national policy as a private capitalist in a land of rent seekers who try to make capital scarce.

Why hasn't Donald Trump built resorts in coal country, in West Texas, the rust belt, and created jobs and wealth by slashing the costs to play on a Trump gollf course? Answer: he's a rent seeker who needs scarcity of capital in his industry so he can charge absurdly high costs to his customers. Cost cutting destroys wealth.

Reassuring to see that such visionary visionaries still use the same old PR blather I used to rewrite in my sleep

I still believe that blockchains can be put to good use by usin it to administer student grades from different universities in different countries. A distributed ledger of the results of a student at different universities.

I was told robots could be sent to the moon to mine gold and if the gold was left on the moon it would be just as valuable as gold in a vault on earth on account of how no one could touch the gold in the vault and no one could touch gold on the moon either. (This ignores the fact that as far as we know there are no gold deposits on the moon, but this detail didn't seem important.)

I tried to explain that lunar gold that wasn't mined and left in the lunar crust should be just as valuable since no one could touch that gold either, but I'm afraid the promoter had trouble grasping my point.

But if we add blockchains I'm sure it will all make sense.

See also:

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