What is Asteroid Mining?

James Cameron and Google’s Eric Schmidt and Larry Page establish the first Asteroid Mining company.

Eric Schmidt Asteroid Mining

It might sound and look like something out of a sci-fi film, but asteroid mining is very much a reality. This one that could greatly benefit humanity.For decades it has been nothing but a pipe dream and, until recently, nobody had been able to devise a clear plan for long-term mining of an asteroid.

Asteroid Mining

All changed when a new company called Planetary Resources outlined a clear goal in early 2012 to mine near-Earth asteroids for valuable minerals. Set up by some familiar and rich names, including James Cameron and Google’s Eric Schmidt and Larry Page, the company aims to supplement the Earth’s natural resources by developing and deploying robotic asteroid-mining vehicles.

Asteroid Mining

The aim is to survey asteroids for mineral and water content before dispatching automated miners.

Right now, Planetary Resources is still in its very early planning stages. Attempts are being made to identify the key technologies that will allow it to produce the necessary machinery to forge these large mining droids.

However, the ultimate aim and one in which its backers readily accept is still a number of decades away. It is to survey numerous asteroids for their mineral and water content.

Asteroid Mining

Indeed, the existence of Planetary Resources is fascinating because it is in it for the long haul, creating a completely conceivable road map to asset extraction. If successful, the endeavour could prove very profitable for the company. Asteroids are rich in minerals such as iron, nickel and titanium which are in restrictive supply on earth.

If these elements could be extracted and processed it would prove invaluable for future industry.

Planetary Resources could actually provide a viable base from which humans could expand in the solar system during this mission to mine asteroids. If water, oxygen and construction materials can be acquired from off planet sources then the speed and quantity of any planned colonisation project could dramatically increase.

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