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Article title

Skład chondrytów zwyczajnych a potencjalne surowce pasa planetoid

Title variants
Composition of Ordinary Chondrites and Potential Natural Resources of Asteroid Belt
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In this article the authors present a simple method of determining the content of selected metal raw materials (Fe, Ni, Co) on the parent bodies of ordinary chondrites. Thanks to the use of planimeter for measuring, under microscope, polished slices of meteorites, it is possible to estimate quite accurately the proportion of these metals in the parent bodies of meteorites, i.e. on asteroids. When it comes to analysing a large number of polished slices, these results will be most likely comparable to much more expensive results of chemical tests conducted on meteorites. Based on the analysis of 16 thin polished sections and polished slices of 11 ordinary chondrites, the authors found out that the highest content of Fe, Ni and Co ore minerals, reaching 10,06% of the total volume, can be found in ordinary chondrites from group H. For ordinary chondrites from groups L and LL, it makes 3,86% and 3,93% of the volume respectively.
Employing the results of chemical analyses available in literature sources, the authors also estimated the size of Fe, Ni and Co resources for several selected asteroids. These bodies contain higher concentrations of iron, nickel and cobalt than terrestrial deposits (those found in the earth’s crust). The total content of Fe on parent bodies of even the most deficient in metals group LL of ordinary chondrites is about twice as high as that in the earth’s crust. Cobalt occurs on parent asteroids of ordinary chondrites in concentrations 15–24 times as high as those in the earth’s crust, and the concentrations of Ni are 100–180 times as high as those in the earth’s crust. The contents of these metals on parent asteroids of ordinary chondrites are also several times as high as those in currently extracted deposits in the earth’s crust.
Taking into account the mean annual terrestrial production of these metals, the authors have estimated that a parent asteroid of ordinary chondrites with the size between 433 Eros and 6 Hebe could satisfy our need for Fe, Ni and Co for the nearest several million to dozens of billion years. Considering the fact that asteroid belt contains plenty of such objects, and as many asteroids built chiefly of Fe-Ni alloy, one should regard this section of the Solar System as a practically inexhaustible source of metal raw materials. The prospect of their exploitation is probably much nearer than we can currently imagine.

Physical description
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