It is true that curiosity is the nourishment and spirit of human existence and space exploration is one of its results. But the universe has many things well hidden within itself, beyond the reach of man.
With the increasing human footprint on earth, their resources are already dwindling. We deplete the earth for all of our insatiable needs because we may need 1.68 times the earth we have available to feed it.
But is this the same case in our entire universe? Just no.
With this scenario, space has become our new frontier. Not only a few people from physics, science or mathematics and astronauts have an interest in the cosmos. It is becoming everyone’s business to learn more about space.
However, although the interest groups are growing day by day with business people, enthusiasts, etc., the space remains largely unexplored.
We know it can offer us resources for millions of years to come, but we cannot access them.
But many scientists are preparing for a trip to the asteroids with determined goals: not for research purposes, but with the mere intention of exploiting the resources they contain.
There are companies with domains like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries that claim the need for asteroid mining.
What is asteroid mining?
While astronomers track millions of asteroids near Earth, the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is home to over 1 million asteroids.
Many of them with a diameter of over 100 kilometers are the heavy nuggets full of minerals and great fortune. This can be used for humans through only hypothetical explorations of such celestial objects.
Asteroids and mineral wealth:
Achondrites are rich in platinum group metals such as ruthenium, palladium, rhodium, osmium, iridium, and platinum.
While chondrite asteroids can help protect us from radiation, they provide moisture on the way into space (it costs $ 9,000 to $ 43,000 just to send a water bottle into space).
According to NASA alone That belt is worth $ 700 trillion. If this amount is exceeded, approximately $ 100 billion can be made for every single person on earth.
NASA has asked Elon Musk to mine a gold asteroid called 16 Psyche to serve the earth, but for now he hesitates and relies on cryptocurrencies.
Andrew Glester said, “I’m going to make a prediction now. The first billionaire will be made in space. “
While we have not yet deciphered the technology required to mine an asteroid, we hope to exploit this resource in space in the near future with an increase in robots, spacecraft, etc. in space.
The development of the most powerful rockets from SpaceX such as Falcon 9 or New Glen from Blue Origin has raised the hopes of asteroid miners, because with more power we can travel further into space.
Even the high cost of spaceflight to such far-fetched objects, identifying asteroids suitable for mining, and extracting ore are few other challenges.
Economists have begun to speculate that once these “rare metals on earth” hit the market, abrupt supply could outweigh demand and prices on earth could fall.
Gold, platinum and other valuable metals will no longer be “noble” because they will no longer be in short supply. Potential asteroid mining can therefore rob gold of its status as a store of wealth.
Even if the cost of returning the mineral compositions to the earth far exceeds their market value on earth, private investment is unlikely to flow.
How can such an exploration help us better? Is it legal at all?
Minerals from any significant asteroid could fund existing industries on the planet and fuel funds from minerals.
Asteroid mining cannot be called illegal as there is no international space law or treaty prohibiting the commercial use, prospecting, and exploration of space resources, although there are some provisions in the space treaty.
Nobody can own an asteroid while nobody owns its components. The water made from ice can also help with refueling.
“You mine the water, you own the rocket filling stations in near-earth orbit, on the moon and on the way to space. But whether it makes someone a billionaire is another question, ”explains an astrophysicist.
Ceres, the largest body in the asteroid belt, is reviewing its feasibility in terms of means and methods and has emerged as the main base and transit hub for future asteroid mining infrastructures.
This “human expansion into the solar system” can help provide scientific data that must be analyzed and collected in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Both Blue Origin and SpaceX aim to bring down the price of taking their gear into space and so could prove crucial to asteroid mining to facilitate their motives.
Lower cost of orbit orbit can aid the goal of asteroid mining in two ways:
Cheaper costs mean industrial equipment gets into space more easily and more practically. Lower investment in launching a spacecraft into orbit means that the money can be used for higher interest rates and resulting investments in space.
NASA’s award-winning concept for asteroid mining
Previously failed attempt on this mining rush:
The planetary resource project announced in 2012, which was founded by aerospace entrepreneurs Eric Anderson and Peter Diamandis and supporters James Cameroon or Larry Page, has not achieved its 2020 goals.
It wanted to take the water from asteroids and split it into liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen for use as rocket fuel. Some wealthy investors even used crowdfunding to prospect an asteroid.
Can asteroid mining also be dangerous?
As a cosmochemist says: “When we start mining, the most likely thing that could happen is that it will be dragged out of its orbit and into a new one. This shift could cause problems. “
“However, if we want to mine it, we want to put it into orbit where we can control it. This space should be a safe orbit. “
“This room could probably be near the moon, where basically things can be dumped without harming anyone. This is the place in space where everything just lingers until we are ready to sort it out. “
According to a report by investment bank Goldman Sachs: “The psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower”.
All humanity needs to do for asteroid mining is save a few billion and probably prepare for the effects, if at all. Because it is worth taking this risk in order to feed and invest on earth.