Unlimited Resources From Space – Asteroid Mining
What’s Mean Asteroid Mining ?
Asteroid mining is the hypothetical exploitation of materials from asteroids and other minor planets, including near-Earth objects.
Difficulties include the high cost of spaceflight, unreliable identification of asteroids which are suitable for mining, and ore extraction challenges. Thus, terrestrial mining remains the only means of raw mineral acquisition used today.
The research done by asteroid sample return research missions, such as the completed Hayabusa and Hayabusa2 and in-progress OSIRIS-REx, provides data that could possibly enable a study of future asteroid mining, although this was not the primary focus of these missions. These missions are complex endeavors and return a small amount of material (<1 mg Hayabusa, 0.1 g Hayabusa2, 60 g planned OSIRIS-REx) for the size and expense of the project ($300 million Hayabusa2, $800 million-$1.16 billion OSIRIS-REx), though these small samples are enough for researchers to study and analyze. There are major technical hurdles in the way of potential asteroid mining. Asteroid mining shifted to a more distant long-term goal and some ‘asteroid mining‘ companies have pivoted to more general-purpose propulsion technology.
Getting rare materials from the ground into your phone is ugly. The mining industry is responsible for air and water pollution and the destruction of entire landscapes. But what if we could replace the mining industry on Earth with a clean process that can’t harm anyone? Well, we can. All we need to do is look up.
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