Asteroid mining is the next big thing

Asteroid mining is a lucrative venture
By Karen Saltos | Jul 02, 2018
Earth had one of the most significant encounters with an asteroid in recent history on June 30, 1908. The space rock exploded in the atmosphere above a river in Siberia, decimating almost 800 square miles of forest area.

Now on this day every year we observe World Asteroid Day. Recent developments in technology allow scientists to look at asteroids as valuable resources for extracting minerals.

Planetary Resources in Washington, D.C. and Deep Space Industries in California are two of the best contenders in the asteroid mining industry. Luxembourg, a tiny European country, is also a strong contender.

Asteroid mining is a lucrative venture. For example, NASA aims to probe the asteroid 16 Psyche. It is in the asteroid belt region between Mars and Jupiter.

The extractable iron from 16 Psyche would be worth $10,000 quadrillion. In comparison, all the currency in circulation on earth is worth $60 - $75 trillion.

"Many of the scarce metals and minerals on Earth are in near-infinite quantities in space. As access to these material increases, not only will the cost of everything from microelectronics to energy storage be reduced, but new applications for these abundant elements will result in important and novel applications," said Peter Diamandis, co-founder of Planetary Resources, Inc.

Do mining products belong to private companies or individuals? A major challenge facing this industry at this stage is the creation of a legal framework of property ownership for resources beyond our planet so we can answer this question.

 

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