Asteroid mining – in reality!

Victor Habbick Visions/Space Science Library

I get the email update from New Scientist daily, but irritatingly, some articles, like this one, require you to pay for premium content. Sigh.  Until I make as much from the books as subscribing for premium content costs, I’ll just stick with the snippets.  Like this one…

Victor Habbick Visions/Space Science Library

Asteroid space station

A new analysis suggests we could place a space station inside a rotating asteroid to provide artificial gravity for mining equipment, digging from the inside out. If you want to remove chunks of precious rock from an asteroid, you can’t just land and jackhammer it: most of them have such weak gravity that a hammer or digger is likely to just bounce off into space. But if the asteroid is spinning, that would create artificial gravity, a force that acts from the inside of the rock outwards. Working in a cavity below ground would also protect the mining rig from dangers on the asteroid’s surface, particularly radiation.

Click the heading to go to the New Scientist page online.

My writing

I recently wrote somewhere that I do write what I know, and I know as much about life on the other side of a wormhole as anyone.  I think that still stands.  But as this article indicates, some people know more than me about mining asteroids.

I like the ideas in this snippet.  That may indeed be what I imagine for Excelsior, without having actually specified a space-station in the middle, and I think the tunnels there have a breathable atmosphere.

Fortunately, I have always had Lars and Pete hammering away inside tunnels in the VS asteroids.  I’ve blipped how they make the tunnels, though.  The colour in that graphic would fit the Viridian System, although the surface suggest the asteroid might be an iron one.

I eventually cut a mining accident from Curved Space to Corsair.  I must let you have it as a short story some time.

Picture of the asteroid from Victor Habbick Visions/Science Photo Library and sourced from the New Scientist website article.

Comment on my stinginess.  I used to subscribe to New Scientist.  It’s a weekly magazine full of astounding and wonderful science that I’m interested in.  It’s also authoritative. And the copies mounted up, unread. I had two years worth of unread magazines when I moved here. I kept them for ten years. The same is now happening to the bird and wildlife magazines that come monthly with my memberships.

There is only so much reading a person can do a week.

Wormhole travel – by an expert


As usual, have come up with a superb article, this time on how it might really be possible to travel through a black hole (aka wormhole in scifi parlance)

Check out the full article by Professor Gaurav Khanna here!


Moons of Exoplanets – real science

Could moons of exoplanets harbour life?  That is a question currently engaging scientists involved in exoplanet identification., a wonderful news feed in need of annual funding, featured a post last month on 121 giant planets identified outside our solar system, whose moons might be habitable.  It’s a big ‘might’.

researchers at the University of California, Riverside and the University of Southern Queensland announced they’ve identified 121 giant exoplanets with orbits within the habitable zone – the zone within which liquid water can exist – of their stars. []

Giant planets of the Solar System – Jupiter and Saturn – have given us the idea that life could exist under the ice of Titan and Europa.  The exoplanets these scientists have identified are themselves within the habitable zone of their star, so the possibility for any (so far unidentified) moons is fascinating.

What would life on these moons be like?

I’ve already started wondering that, since I’ve set Lars’s birthplace on a moon (called Ulric) of a giant planet.  It’s not necessary to the Viridian System series to know more detail about the effect of a giant ball of planet in the sky as well as a sun of unspecified size and luminosity (although I was thinking dimmer/more distant than ours.  It’s hard enough working out the moon configurations for Sunset Strip (it has two moons) without adding in the complication of a huge neighbour.

When I did a back-story for Lars, I assumed the red reflecting planet was pretty much always in the sky and provided most of their light.  As a result I gave Lars excellent night vision, which is something that I use int he story occasionally.  That he needs contacts for Pleasant Valley and Sunset Strip is a minor detail I haven’t bothered with.  Or maybe he has an eyelid adaptation so he can see in the bright sunshine of his native sun when it comes out from behind the red planet.

I did a brief introduction to the planet Ulric for and A to Z challenge one year. One day I’ll do some more work on this, but I’ll need my planetary science text books to hand when I do!

A part of Lars’ backstory set on Ulric is told in The Inspector Calls.