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BioMining:

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https://phys.org/news/2019-07-space-kits-blast-orbit.html

Space mining kits blast off for tests in orbit:

Astronauts are to test the world's first space mining devices, in an advance that could open up a new frontier in exploring the universe.

Prototype kits are being sent to the International Space Station to study how microscopic organisms could be used to recover minerals and metals from space rocks.

The groundbreaking study could aid efforts to establish manned settlements on distant worlds by helping develop ways to source minerals essential for survival in space.

Tests will reveal how low gravity affects bacteria's natural ability to extract useful materials—such as iron, calcium and magnesium—from rocks, researchers say.

Their findings could also help improve the process—known as biomining—which has numerous applications on Earth, including in the recovery of metals from ores.

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Harnessing the power of microbes for mining in space

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Interesting article, thanks. Not heard of biomining before. I would have thought the lack of atmosphere, thermal extremes and solar radiation would have been bigger barriers to biomining on asteroids than the microgravity environment, but there is no mention of these in the article. I wonder why...

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13 minutes ago, Prometheus said:

Interesting article, thanks. Not heard of biomining before. I would have thought the lack of atmosphere, thermal extremes and solar radiation would have been bigger barriers to biomining on asteroids than the microgravity environment, but there is no mention of these in the article. I wonder why...

Neither had I. 

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26 minutes ago, Prometheus said:

Interesting article, thanks. Not heard of biomining before. 

Mostly, I assume because it already has a well-established name (bioleaching) which is currently in industrial use. But apparently we need a new name if we do it in microgravity...

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