I think the major flaw most people make in this area is assuming that the current situation is the optimal and any disruption is inherently bad -- e.g. gold has always been scarce so it must always be scarce. Bastiat talks about this phenomenon with his "that which is seen and that which is unseen" theory one could argue.
Bastiat link -- http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basEss1.html
The first thing keep in mind when radical improvements arrive is that spectacular new things have been dropped at our feet before, and killed a massive shitload of people. Not everybody wins when things get generally better. Some people lose, and when the individual tales of losers are closely examined, sometimes they have lost through incredibly bitter narratives no less.
Some cavemen were probably left crippled only to die a miserable caveman death by trying to mount horses, some people were gored by non-collapsible steering columns in early car accidents, some people were smeared across mountain tops by early planes without hazard avoidance instrumentation.
Things get better, but indivuals still pay for it.
but We''l adapt around it, our lives will change and we'll move on.
Citation: Paikowsky, Deganit. Tzezana, Roey. Acta Astronautica Volume 142, January 2018, 10-17.
Abstract: Celestial bodies like the Moon and asteroids contain materials and precious metals, which are valuable for human activity on Earth and beyond. Space mining has been mainly relegated to the realm of science fiction, and was not treated seriously by the international community. The private industry is starting to assemble towards space mining, and success on this front would have major impact on all nations. We present in this paper a review of current space mining ventures, and the international legislation, which could stand in their way - or aid them in their mission. Following that, we present the results of a role-playing simulation in which the role of several important nations was played by students of international relations. The results of the simulation are used as a basis for forecasting the potential initial responses of the nations of the world to a successful space mining operation in the future.
• The realization of space exploitation will disrupt world politics.
• The simulation highlighted the political tensions and different interests.
• Inclusive international process is needed to reach fast adaptation.
• Creative mechanisms are needed to allow sharing of new global wealth.
Though, Moon rocks are a bit of an outlier. They don't have much value outside of science and as a curiosity. You might want to focus on something with more predictable demand. In which case, it may get more complicated than "shovel stuff into a bin".
That seems a little unrealistic to me, because the goal of Apollo was not "bring 382 kilograms of moon rocks back at the lowest possible cost", or anything close to it.
Obviously there are some big hurdles to overcome, but I don't think they're as enormous as "reduce cost by a factor of well over 1,000".
I was reading about WWII shipwrecks mysteriously disappearing (they think) for the un-irradiated steel and that's worth a lot less than than a bunch of gold bullion that just has to be scooped up.
Like, the total worldwide value of gold is $7.5 trillion (at about 187,000 tonnes). If mining thousands of tons of gold becomes super cheap, the price of gold would crash even without actually doing the space mining, as people try to exit their gold positions in advance of space miners flooding the market.
And what's the total value of worldwide assets? If I look at , I see that Blackrock by itself has $4.7 trillion under management, and the total "under management" is $139 trillion. Estimates from  give guesses of at least $1-2 quadrillion.
So even if you manage to find so much gold that the existing value goes to zero, the impact seems limited to me. And I severely doubt you'd easily get that to zero.
> (at about 187,000 tonnes)
That's a lot of weight to (a) mine and (b) get to earth, and gold is certainly among the highest value-density you're going to get. Just theoretical availability does very little to prices, see Gold in Seawater: "Ocean waters do hold gold – nearly 20 million tons of it."
Currently, returning things to earth is sufficiently expensive that it is uneconomical to return satellites (costing on the order of $300m) to earth, for example for repair.
(and in the "nothing wrong with it" assessment, the same cannot be said of the landing site, but there are plenty of places where that wouldn't be a great issue, e.g. one of the huge deserts like the Sahara, Inner Russia/China or Australia). Note that to an extent you can control the blast. So a 100 ton "mining ball" would not nearly have the same impact energy as a 100 ton asteroid, and even compared to the average meteorite it would be on the extreme slow end. There's a "minimum" blast that's essentially unavoidable, but it's not that huge, only a few square kilometers, and slowing things down to that speed is not hard if you take your time. Only if you want to return things intact do you need to go through the expensive process. Obviously doing the above method with an astronaut would be frowned upon.
It's also been studied what happens if you want to go further. If you're willing to wait ~10 years, returning near-earth things to earth by crashing into it is incredibly cheap. If you're willing to wait ~100 years, from almost any point in the inner solar system.
In the longer term I would argue that the economy will move to space. For most production processes weightlessness, and vacuum environment (not to mention infinite expansion space and infinite energy) would help a lot.
If the current mining industries could be replaced with those that do not pollute our living space, there are significant gains to be head in the form of more usable land and better ecological environments.
Additionally, a number of much cleaner technologies are currently very expensive because of the scarcity of resources and pollution involving mining. Lithium for batteries is one example. Disposition of used batteries would remain a problem, but perhaps similar off-world approach could be used there.
In January 2035, a US company becomes the first to successfully mine minerals from space and transport the cargo back to Earth. The haul contains huge quantities of gold and platinum, although it is only a fraction of the resources from the asteroid. The price of gold falls by 50 per cent.
That's anticlimactic. If you were to make a list of "dwindling natural resources needed to keep the global economy functioning" I don't believe that gold would make the top 20. Neither doubling its supply nor halving it would have much impact on the aggregate provision of goods and services within the terrestrial economy.
Platinum group metals are more interesting from an industrial standpoint. Though automobile exhaust system catalysts currently account for the lion's share of industrial palladium demand, and I expect that demand driver to already be past its peak by 2035. There are no doubt other things we could and would use PGMs for if they were significantly less expensive and more abundant. Fuel cells, though they will always have certain disadvantages compared to batteries, would probably be significantly more widespread by now if the cost of platinum were comparable to e.g. silver.
Once upon a time, asteroid mining would have been highly disruptive to monetary policy, but today currency values are not tied to metals.
To me the space-mining industry has always seemed better suited to constructing habitats and vehicles outside of gravity wells like Earth and Mars; part of why it's so expensive to have the ISS is that everything needs to be lifted up from Earth, but if the raw building materials and water (for producing oxygen and hydrogen fuel) were mined from asteroids, then there's less need to go back down to earth for your bulk materials. This would make the second and subsequent generations of mining infrastructure much cheaper to build, and once you've got manufacturing going in space, suddenly the mining becomes a lot easier.
I don't recall whether the thethers need to be affixed to the space-elevators to keep them in place.
If you have a space elevator scaffolding already, just use descending payloads as counterweights to ascending ones.
Quite. I not an expert at all, but the question "how do we bring it down" is better put "how do we bring it down safely and so that we can easily recover the material".
Throwing rocks down the gravity well is easy, keeping the velocity low at bottom end, or low enough plus aiming accurately at an empty spot, is hard.
launching a 5kg satelite costs 295 thousands USD (please note a fine print under the table, saying "pricing in thousands" )
Also, this is a price for low orbit, for geostationary orbit it's almost $1M.
 Yes, we now have online pricing list for space flights :)
But if it were up to me, I'd love to see mining in space. More stuff in space is cool!