Originally Posted By DzlBenz:
I was just commenting that water, in and of itself, isn't really worth going out into deep space for. I was thinking more in terms of commercial value of minerals or other things that are scarce on Earth, and worth bringing back. Of course, as I alluded to in my initial post, water is essential for any prolonged presence away from Earth. I'm still trying to figure out if there's anything in those rings worth going after, or if this is another "because it's there" venture. I suppose even if it does turn out to be a "because it's there" venture, the presence of water and and atmosphere (perhaps containing gases suitable for combustion processes if not breatable) do alleviate the need to haul everthing we'll need all the way out there. Well, in the long term, anyway.
Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:
Yeah, but water, we got. There must be some gravity to hold the rings in place. While the fragments of the rings themselves have negligible mass to greate a significant gravitational effect, I should think that there would be some effect still from the close proximity to Saturn itself. Maybe not, or the rings would have crashed into the planet long ago, huh
Ummm.. that was NOT the gravity he was talking about. He was talking about is there anything there with gravity enough to hold YOU on IT. Actually there are a couple moons that might suffice, but it would be easier just to do your own "gravity" with a rotating habitat.
And no water is NOT something that is common in space. And its needed for both living and for rocket fuel. Its not practical to haul substantial quantities of the stuff from Earth.
Saturn really is not as valuable to us, except in the very long term, as the Moon itself is frankly.
The Moon has Aluminum, Iron, and a unbelievable amount (at least compared to here on Earth) of Titanium. And no worries about enviromental side effects- since the Moon doesn't have a enviroment.
Although some more work needs to be done, what we know the Moon has in the way of minerals is limited to what the Apollo missions brought back from surface collectons and from satellite scans. No one has sent a drill rig to find what is buried in the Moons solid portions.
But finding water out there makes Saturn a much more attractive fuel stop, on the way to more attractive places like the Oort Coud where their could be stuff to send back.
Sending back stuff to Earth is itself only a short term way to pay for what is really needed, which is to export people...