|Library Data Index|
Nickel-iron asteroids are reasonably dense, high-grade sources of metal of most value to the manufacturing industry; large asteroids can be sold to local shipbuilding concerns as planetoid starship hulls.
Carbonaceous asteroids are the most common planetoids and have the lowest value of all asteroids in most marketplaces. These stony chunks have the most value in systems where space colonies and large stations can make use of the variety of the useful elements - carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and so on - that can be extracted from them.
Ice chunks are made up of various frozen volatiles, including methane, water, and the like. These "dirty snowballs" are a source of hydrogen fuel and hence support an entire specialty of "ice miners" who seek them out. In systems where gas giants cannot be used for one reason or another, a starport or space station may pay reasonably good money for ice chunks, though they will never make a belter rich.
None of these three categories of asteroid is particularly
valuable, and few belters ever made a fortune strictly from discovering
and mining any of these. In point of fact, there are other things to be
found. Many asteroids. most particularly nickel-iron rocks, contain varying
amounts of the valuable minerals, platinum, iridium, and so forth, and
sometimes radioactives. Occasionally an asteroid will be discovered with
an unusual configuration that makes it valuable for scientific or even
aesthetic purposes. And, finally, there are artifacts, which take in the
entire gamut from the flotsam of a week-old wreck to a trove left by the
Ancients, and which vary in value accordingly.