1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Asteroid belt total economic value math question

  1. Oct 27, 2009 #1
    I'm working on a potential posting about the total economic value of all possible mined ores in the asteroid belt. This is something of an experimental draft to follow below.

    The total mass of the asteroid belt has a minimum and maximum estimate.

    What is 3.0Kg to the 1021st power Minimum guess. Then convert to metric tons.

    What is 3.6Kg to the 1021st power Maximum guess. Then convert to metric tons

    Just for your curiosity the source of the potential economic value comes from these links.

    There's almost 80 elements of value in this chart


    Excerpt from second link above.

    In a nut shell.........
    A one kilometer diameter stereotyped asteroid is worth over one trillion dollars, just based on 7 elements. This so called 1Km diameter asteroid is about 716,000,000 metric tons.

    Following is a short list from this chart, based on the above mentioned elements, expressed in parts per billion (PPB) by mass (weight)*, with the equivalent in total metric tons for our 1 km. dia. asteroid.

    * Iron - 220,000,000 PPB = 440,000,000 M.T. @ $410/M.T. = $180.4 Billion
    * Magnesium - 120,000,000 PPB = 240,000,000 M.T. @ $3,460/M.T. = $830.4 Billion
    * Nickel - 13,000,000 PPB = 26,000,000 M.T. @ $4,630/M.T. = $120.38 Billion
    * Aluminum - 9,300,000 PPB = 18,600,000 M.T. @ $1,440/M.T. = $26.784 Billion
    * Cobalt - 600,000 PPB = 1,200,000 M.T. @ $47,245/M.T. = $56.694 Billion
    * Titanium - 550,000 PPB = 1,100,000 M.T. @ $9,650/M.T. = $10.615 Billion
    * Platinum - 1,000 PPB = 2,000 M.T. @ $25,000,000/M.T. = $50 Billion

    Of course, there are many other strategic metals (and non-metals) in equally staggering quantities on our asteroid, such as germanium, chromium, copper, zinc, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, tellurium, and many more (78 quantified elements in our chart). But the seven elements listed above will do nicely for our illustration. Based on 1998 spot prices (except Platinum - $779./troy oz. or $25/gm.) for the above metals**, the total value of the above would be over $1.275 trillion! Breaking it down another way, these 7 elements would yield $637.64 in refined metals for each metric ton of ore. When all elements (excluding most alkaline metals and some non-metals - see Chart) are considered, the average value of refined elements per metric ton of ore is about $1,125.

    I believe my goal is to multiply/ figure out the mass of the entire asteroid belt and it's total gross economic value. I'm not going to get into the mining aspect, that's another story.

    Well maybe not.......If I'm on the right track.... I'm supporting the development of the Constellation program combined with private sector commercial interests. Basically NASA will take us to the Moon again but private commercial investments wants to learn how to mine the Moon for technological development and then take that expertise to the asteroid belt.

    Delta and Atlas can develop there own interplanetary heavy lift boosters in concert to eventually go to the asteroid belt but they seem to be 1 or 2 decades behind NASA.

    Save NASAs Constellation program so the commercial market will eventually start making a profit in the decades to follow.

    In conclusion, a nice number to come up with is the total gross net worth of the entire asteroid belt. And yes there's gold and Platinum...and it's worth a fortune.

    America must take the lead in economic development of the asteroid belt and canceling the Constellation could set us behind 10 or 20 years. The nation that leads or effectively controls economic policy of the asteroid belt and beyond will be the one that gets rich.
    And that means jobs. And it can start today. America must take the cooperative lead in space resources development and the world economy will be better for it.

    Am I on the right track? Can you guess mistakes in this perception of data evaluation estimate?

    Any pro or cons are welcome. If this pulls together I could post the question or issue in the forum for planets but I'm having trouble with the math. That's why this post is here in this forum.

    Please respond to this forum and also copy and past replies to my home email address please.

    It's kschopp@insightbb.com

    Thank you kindly.

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 28, 2009 #2
    >>> 3**1021

    Seems you have more kg then there are atoms in the universe.

    I suspect your calculation is a tad off. No point in converting this to metric tons.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook