Tesla / SpaceX Plans To Snare Solid Gold Asteroid in 2026

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Elon Musk Stuns Scientists as He Buys RemoveDEBRIS Project, Beginning New Gold Rush

Alison MacdonaldPrecious Metals News April 1, 2020
By Alison Macdonald
Commercial Editor at Bullion.Directory

SpaceX / Tesla boss Elon Musk made an unusual purchase in early January – the failing RemoveDEBRIS satellite. Originally intended to demonstrate the feasability of catching space debris using satellite-deployed nets, RemoveDEBRIS was decommissioned in November last year after a series of successful missions and was set to burn up in our atmosphere mid-July.
 

The RemoveDEBRIS Satellite

The RemoveDEBRIS Satellite

Musk originally became interested in the RemoveDEBRIS project when the ISS-bound satellite was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9, but his recent buyout came as a complete surprise to the Airbus / Surrey Space Centre consortium.

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Ingo Retat, project head of Airbus RemoveDEBRIS confirmed Monday “what began as an offer to launch at no cost, became an offer to buy the project, data, intellectual property and associated technology outright.

While I cannot disclose the purchase price, it was a considerable sum and will fully fund Surrey Space Centre’s important mission for at least the next decade.

It is thought Musk made a similar payment to the European Union Seventh Framework Program [FP7/2007-2013] under grant agreement n°607099.

Dr Avril Uno, head of celestial acquisitions at SpaceX said that all project finances were confidential in these early stages.

Initially tight-lipped on his reasoning, Musk announced by a video-link conference Tuesday he was planning a mission to capture asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2, a celestial body set to pass near Earth on April 29, 2020.

 

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Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 will be the focus of SpaceX’s 2026 mission

 

Although SpaceX wouldn’t be in a position to catch the “potentially hazardous” asteroid this month, Musk’s ambition is to snare the rock on its next near-earth pass, August 12 2026.

When asked why SpaceX and Tesla were so interested in this asteroid and if it posed any danger to life, Musk announced,
 

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Asteroid 52768 1998 OR2 has been shown to consist of 82.7% pure gold and other platinum group metals.

Preliminary indications would suggest the rock consists of approximately 83% gold and if it were on Earth, would have a current market value of $169 Trillion.

It is our intention to capture the asteroid from its wider elliptical orbit and bring it closer to home, permanently.

There will be no added danger to Earth and placing the asteroid into a more stable orbit should in fact make our home a safer place.

 
Musk intends to deploy a larger version of the RemoveDEBRIS netting and harpoon system to his armada of Starlink satellites.

 

 

With an adjustment in their orbit and some minor hull strengthening they will be capable of catapulting a single connected net towards the asteroid when it’s at it’s closest point to the Earth.

He continued,

Catching the asteroid will be the easy part – slowing it down will be far harder. If all Starlink craft fire their engines in unison, they will provide enough of a reactive thrust combined with centripetal forces to bring the rock to a halt.

The asteroid will then be held in a geostationary orbit, while a manned Falcon Heavy craft will shuttle between the new “moon” and Earth with a team of space-trained assay officers from the Birmingham Assay Office. Their work detail will entail taking samples, checking their purity and returning pieces to London and New York for vaulting.

 
Musk has no intention of returning the whole asteroid to Earth, but instead use the “cold dead vault of space” as a secure storage solution. Leaving nothing to chance, it was hinted that the new United States Space Force will provide custodial services, although they have not responded to requests for comment.

Although the cost of re-equipping the Starlink satellites, operational costs and Falcon Heavy launches will be in excess of $950 Billion, Musk still sees this as a cash-positive operation with plans to fully fund major ecological and cultural initiatives for the next 25 years.
 

Our cars, batteries and other electronic items use a lot of gold to help them run at optimal efficiency. We can borrow terrestrial gold against our gold in orbit which will in turn make our operational costs lower, bringing a Tesla automobile, or light truck to more affordable levels even for the most cash-strapped home.”

Ending his statement, Mr Musk said,

With over $100 trillion in capital assets, Tesla should eventually be able to provide free zero-emission transportation for all of North America, Europe and Asia.

I have also had long discussions with Claire [Musk’s partner, the musician and artist known as Grimes] who hopes to set up a free music-for-all initiative and interpretative song-landscape embedded into all Tesla models and Tesla Powerwalls from 2026 onwards.

This will be a welcome update to the much-admired “Tesla Party Mode” and will involve laser displays, an eco-friendly smoke machine and a holographic Grimes dancing on the hood.”

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2 Comments
  1. “space-trained assay officers”…

  2. I was questioning the science and thinking that’s not how momentum works until it got to the hologram Grimes.

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