Space Mining is a surprisingly frequently discussed topic within the space industry. NASA itself is looking into space mining and has signed contracts with 2 space companies – Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries (DSI).
Planetary Resources has already planned to launch 2 spacecrafts (the Arkyd 3 Reflight (A3R) spacecraft and the Arkyd 6U ScienceCraft) this year, as their goal to mine near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) for raw materials such as platinum-group metals.
Possible Pros of Asteroid Mining: Jobs
Apart from the benefit of “out of this world” beauty (excuse the pun) there are some other benefits that could possibly come out of mining in space.
Not only will Asteroid mining provide new sources of gold, titanium, platinum and other raw metals; as well as hydrogen and ammonia, it will also be a source of job creation.
Possible Cons of Asteroid Mining
Companies that aim to participate in space mining will do so by relocating an asteroid closer to earth. Given that asteroids have weak gravity, large amounts of debris could be created in the process of “transportation” and mining, which could end up polluting the geosynchronous orbit. The geosynchronous orbit is where most of our telecom and defense satellites are stationed.
What the Future holds for Mining in Space
The prospect of Space Mining is very interesting. It actually makes one realise the truth to the old saying “it’s a small world”. Just think – in a world where we travel to the moon to mine raw materials, for consumption on earth – this opens up so many avenues of new technologies, new legislation, new jurisdictions, new job industries, and the list goes on. I mean, I read an article about space mining eventually bringing about space tourism. Whaat?
The prospects look good, don’t you think?
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