Asteroid holds many different kinds of elements with them. Depending on their type, asteroids can contain everything from water (useful for long-term space exploration missions) to nickel and cobalt or even valuable metals like gold or platinum. These are often in much higher concentrations than we would find on Earth. It has been estimated that a one-kilometre diameter asteroid may contain up to 7,500 tons of platinum, with a value of upwards of $150 billion. And there are around 9,000 known asteroids are currently travelling in orbit close to the Earth, and some 1,000 new ones are discovered each year. That’s a pretty good reason to get excited about Space Mining.
We already know there is Quadrillion worth of resources out there in Space. So why we are not in Gold Rush to mine Space Resources. Actually, the gold rush has already been started there are plenty of big names ranging from Elon Musk to Jeff Bezos who are very, very interested and already started working. SpaceX, Blue Origin, NASA, ESA, Roscosmos & CNSA are already working to make The Moon a warehouse in space to store and refine metal before sending it to Earth.
It might seem like a very costly way. If I put it simply, the pricey part of this isn’t the R&D that goes into working out how to do asteroid mining. Nor is it the launches that take place to actually the achieve the goal. Instead, the really expensive bit is getting the materials back to Earth once we’ve mined them. Transporting mined product to earth is a time efficient way. It might take more than a decade to bring them back to Earth. It is a very Time-consuming process with current technology. Asteroid mining technology is not yet fully ready there are some prototypes but their efficiency is also not known yet.
Alphabet’s Larry Page has his eyes on this Space Mining project. He is talking and working with Deep space industry as well as investing money in Asteroid Mining technology. Deep Space Industries is another leader, with plans to develop technologies which will make it easier for governments and other private companies to gain access to orbit. Deep Space Industries has said that much of what it plans to mine would be used in space, rather than brought back to Earth.
Then there are the likes of TransAstra Corporation, the U.K.’s Asteroid Mining Corporation, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket system, and more. Some days it seems you can throw a space rock without hitting one of these companies!
Right now, companies are coming up with ways to gather information about the asteroids in our orbit so as to determine their composition. After this, they will need to establish the most cost-effective way to launch a craft capable of carrying out the mining extraction itself.