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Tha_Pig
2004-Nov-19, 03:57 AM
I'm doing some research for one of my science fiction stories. I wanted to know some things about Asteroids.

One: Do all asteroids have a similar composition or there can be some made of different elements, like all made of a specific metal.

Two: Is it possible than an asteroid contains great quantities of elements necessary to built computer? Like silicon and copper.

My idea is if one asteroid containing those elements can be mined and turn the raw materials into electronic components...

xbck1
2004-Nov-19, 06:12 AM
Well, Wikipedia's entry on asteroids (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid) contains some good info for you. I'm pretty sure that if you did a thorough enough search of the board you could get the compositions for certain asteroids. I do know that meteorites can be rocky, or made of such things as iron, but I'm not sure what all they can contain.

Kesh
2004-Nov-19, 06:47 AM
Asteroids come in all kinds of varieties. I doubt you'd find an asteroid that's 100% made of a specific element/material that's any bigger than what you find on Earth, though. (i.e. the size of a boulder)

That said, mining asteroids is a staple of SF. The trouble is that, in order for it to be worthwhile, your refining and construction facilities have to be very close to the source. To borrow from Douglas Adams, space is big. Really big. Wow, is it big! ;)

Given the amount of fuel necessary to get your mining ship to the asteroid, grapple it, and tow it to your refining facilities, it would have to be incredibly valuable for its size. Alternately, you would pick a big asteroid and build an (expendable) facility directly on the asteroid itself. Then you've still got to ship the raw material or constructed item to wherever it's got to be used...

It's a really, really monumental task. Possible, but not terribly efficient or cost-effective in most scenarios.

Donnie B.
2004-Nov-19, 06:23 PM
This former reader of Superman comics assures you that asteroids are made of Asteroidite.

Of course, some are blue asteroidite, others purple asteroidite, and so on... :wink:

Tha_Pig
2004-Nov-21, 02:16 AM
Asteroids come in all kinds of varieties. I doubt you'd find an asteroid that's 100% made of a specific element/material that's any bigger than what you find on Earth, though. (i.e. the size of a boulder)

That said, mining asteroids is a staple of SF. The trouble is that, in order for it to be worthwhile, your refining and construction facilities have to be very close to the source. To borrow from Douglas Adams, space is big. Really big. Wow, is it big! ;)

Given the amount of fuel necessary to get your mining ship to the asteroid, grapple it, and tow it to your refining facilities, it would have to be incredibly valuable for its size. Alternately, you would pick a big asteroid and build an (expendable) facility directly on the asteroid itself. Then you've still got to ship the raw material or constructed item to wherever it's got to be used...

It's a really, really monumental task. Possible, but not terribly efficient or cost-effective in most scenarios.

Thanks for your explanation. In the case of the story I'm writing, the materials mined from the asteroid would remain there. A self-replicating machine would attach to the asteroid and extract raw materials to build copies of itself. Kind of like a mechanical parasite infection.

I wanted to know if an asteroid could provide a wide range of materials needed for such machines to use in their "reproduction" process.

Tha_Pig
2004-Nov-21, 02:26 AM
Talking about asteroids...

A very common scene from science fiction movies is a field of asteroids floating very close together, while a spaceship flies between them.

Something makes me thing this can't be. Arenít asteroids actually separated by enormous distances? I guess if they were all that close together the smaller ones would be attracted and fall into the big ones and finally all the big ones would crash onto each other.

Am I right?

How far apart should asteroids be from each other? If you stand on one asteroid, could you see other neighboring asteroids without a telescope?