Our universe is one that is rich in resources. Astronomers have discovered that the asteroids in our solar system are full of minerals and metals that are very useful to humans. There are some asteroids which contain a trillion dollars worth of resources. These celestial bodies, which have been floating around for billions of years, can now be mined with the use of spacecraft. This process could lead to the trillionaire society of the future. Space resources are a big topic today. Whether you are for or against the mining of asteroids, the progress of space resources is something that we will be talking about for quite some time.
Private space exploration and exploitation has already begun and only requires technology advancements. Companies are already involved, and it could be incredibly lucrative on a spatial level.
- Race Towards the Asteroids
Many companies are interested in asteroids, including Deep Space Industries, Orbital Sciences Corporation, Mars One, Bigelow Aerospace, etc. The Blue Origin company, belonging to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is building a rocket called New Glenn. SpaceX is led by Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and PayPal, and is currently conducting cargo missions to the International Space Station with its recyclable Falcon 9 Dragon rocket. The company also has plans for the future beyond orbit. A group led by Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, James Cameron, Richard Branson, owner of Virgin, and other Silicon Valley shareholders is also in the running.
It has been estimated that some asteroids could contain all the platinum from landmines in history and have a market value of hundreds of billions of dollars. According to current estimates, some of them contain iron, nickel, and cobalt in such quantities that they could supply the Earth’s needs for 3,000 years. The Wall Street firm Bernstein says a large asteroid called 16 Psyche with a diameter of 200 kilometers could contain enough nickel ore to feed humankind for hundreds of millions of years. If we consider the fact that many of these critical raw materials for modern industry, such as zinc, tin, silver, copper, lead, etc., may be exhausted on Earth by the end of this century, the endeavor becomes even more heated.
2. Space Fuel
As well as the extraction of minerals and precious metals, it is believed that rock fragments whose resistance is similar to that of concrete, has allowed them to exist for billions of years, can serve as logistical support for future human settlements on Mars. Asteroids could also provide water, oxygen, and other elements, which could be used to produce fuel and backup systems in space at a much lower cost than carrying them from Earth. Asteroids may also help us reach the red planet.
Asteroids and the Moon will be critical to colonizing Mars as a preliminary test of human presence, which may be affordable as long as fuel can be obtained along the way. The red planet has always captured the imagination of humans who have viewed it with eyes full of conquest.
3. Moon and Asteroids
There are great reserves of raw materials on the Moon, which are rapidly disappearing due to the high demand of world industry and the exponential growth of the human population. For instance, the Moon presents an abundance of Helium-3 isotopes. As a rare gas on the planet, this could be an excellent non-polluting fuel for a new generation of controlled fusion reactors, not to mention the abundance of titanium, iron, and aluminum in the lunar soil. Therefore, Europe set its sights on reaching the Moon and Japan, as well as Mexico, planned to launch their first missions to the satellite in 2018.
NASA has suggested that it is willing to share its knowledge, engineers, and access to facilities and equipment with American companies to assist them in concocting and building robotic devices capable of landing loads ranging from 30 to 500 kilos. NASA has suggested that it is willing to share its knowledge, engineers, and access to facilities and equipment with American companies to assist them in concocting and building robotic devices capable of landing loads ranging from 30 to 500 kilos.
4. Space Mining and The Economy
In the interplanetary space there are millions of celestial bodies of a multitude of forms and sizes, without traffic guards to order their orbits. The solar system is not a textbook diagram in which planets evolve around the sun.
Therefore, the economic implications of space mining are immense and undeniable if all the possibilities are explored to the fullest. It may disrupt the economy of the earth to a large extent, but it is needed to maintain life on earth for centuries to come. It will take decades to determine whether those who invest in space mining today are visionaries or just crazy.