Can We Really Mine Asteroids For Natural Resources?
Asteroid mining is a new concept for some people.
It is natural to wonder things like what is asteroid mining?
Is asteroid mining is actually possible?
Is asteroid mining even economically feasible?
According to Wikipedia:
Asteroid mining is the exploitation of raw materials from asteroids and other minor planets, including near-Earth objects. Minerals can be mined from an asteroid or spent comet, then used in space for construction materials or taken back to Earth.
Deposits of iron, cobalt, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, aluminum, and titanium are useful in construction.
Gold, iridium, silver, osmium, palladium, platinum, rhenium, rhodium, ruthenium and tungsten can be transported back to Earth for use on planet.
Is Asteroid mining actually possible or economically feasible? Space.com reports as follows
Is asteroid mining really possible today? Study Says Yes!
NASA has conducted studies with private and academic partners and determined that asteroid mining is technologically and economically possible. According to space.com:
The in-depth study of the feasibility of asteroid mining was prepared for the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. It was released April 2, three weeks before today’s unveiling by Planetary Resources of its billionaire-backed plan to tap into the riches locked inside near-Earth asteroids.
While Planetary Resources is still years away from actually snatching up an asteroid and staking a cosmic claim, the KISS asteroid retrieval study details in extreme detail exactly how such a project could work.
The Asteroid Capture and Return mission — the central focus of the KISS study — blueprints the technological know-how to moving an asteroid weighing about 1.1 million-pound (500,000 kilograms) to a high lunar orbit by the year 2025. The mission’s cost is expected to be $2.6 billion.
The top conclusions from the KISS study are that it appears feasible to identify, capture and return close to Earth an entire asteroid that is roughly 23 feet (7 meters) wide. This so-called near-Earth asteroid (NEA) would weigh in the neighborhood of 500 tons, according to the study.
“What the study did was show that, for the first time in history, this was now feasible using technology available in this decade,” said study co-leader John Brophy of the JPL. Source: https://www.space.com/15405-asteroid-mining-feasibility-study.html
Nasa Artist Concept: – http://www.thespacereview.com/archive/90a.jpg another version existion on the nasa.gov web, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19340210