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From: "Andy Robertson" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: The irrigation of Lune
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 10:48:40 -0000

----- Original Message -----
> >
> >In addition, this sort of sweeping up and piling of asteroids would
> >relieve the metal scarcity problem supposedly caused by all the ships
> >and ordnance leaving Urth, never or seldom to return.
> Out of curiosity does anyone have near to hand an estimate of the mass of
> the solar system, what proportion of that would be in the small bodies and
> what proportion of those metals?

The total mass in the asteroid belt is less than that of the Moon.    Of the
order of 10% is metal mostly iron/nickel  IIRC, the rest is silica slag.

In the Oort Cloud (beyind Neptune) there could be almost any amount

"Shortage of metal" is not in fact very probable.

Metal is not used up except in tiny quantities by atomic reactions and
stuff, and the very small amounts that leave in spaceships.

So it is really a matter of the energy to gather it together and refine it.

But I remember some interviews with Wolfe where he says that copper and even
iron are "running out" . . . .    either he has the wrong idea or he is
taking large artistic license.



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