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Worth Its Weight In Gold

A list of items that have a higher value density than gold. This is a characteristic of any viable product of space manufacturing, at least one that will have a market on earth, because transportation costs are so high.



David Summers wrote:

Soooooo, the options are drugs, $50 bills, platinum, rhodium, and antimatter...

Hm. I'm not seeing the big market here...


Personally, I think the thing worth manufacturing in orbit is stuff to be used in (and beyond) orbit. Right now, that is satellites, probes, and a tiny bit of food, etc. These are real markets - most of the risk of a satellite launch is in getting to orbit at all. Once there, there is much lower risk in obtaining the correct orbit - this opens up the possibility of having satellite owners send up pieces that you assemble and then send onward. That greatly lowers the risk (a loss of launch would not kill the entire satellite, only a small part). The current launch market, it is said, will pay a lot to lower launch risk...

Power stations can work, especially if most of the mass is found in orbit rather than flown there. For example, the largest parts of a thermal design are the reflector and the heat sink - a small asteroid could perform both functions (especially the heat sink side). Information is also a possible market, where the information is obtained by sending up a researcher to look at stuff - supposedly what NASA does now.

Moving forward, the real markets happen when there are lots of people in space. Food grown in space is cheaper, metals recycling is cheaper, etc.

Eric Weder wrote:

I don't see computer chips on the list, where do you suppose they fit in?

Ilya wrote:

Most computer chips are worth less than gold by weight. Otherwise, your laptop would be a lot more expensive.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on September 4, 2008 11:34 AM.

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