Space Quest for "Gold"

Mining the Skies

Source:  Planetary Resources

Targeting Asteroids

It may sound like Star Trek but some US companies, innovators and dreamers are looking skyward to a future of mining highly valuable minerals in space, along with human colonization of space.  A favorite mining target is asteroids known to be rich in high value metals like platinum.

Planetary Resources

Planetary Resources, based in Redmond, Washington, is an American company that has been advised by Google's Larry Page and film director James Cameron.  It's deeply involved in the world's first commercial deep space exploration mission.  It's targeting asteroid mining because the company believes that is the key first step to establishing the groundwork for human colonization of space.

Satellite Probes Underway

The company has launched satellite probes and has selected the most promising asteroid targets for water resources that they intend to mine. They say the first need is to unlock water resources to sustain human life and also use water's component parts of oxygen and hydrogen to create rocket propellant in space for sustainable space travel.  They estimate extracting water from asteroids by the mid-2020's.

Why Asteroids?

Planetary Resources argues this:

  • There are more than 16,000 asteroids near Earth that are rich in resources
  • They contain 2 trillion tons of water available to support life and supply fuel in space
  • They would reduce space exploration costs by 95% by using asteroid resources
  • Asteroid precious metals will enable in-space manufacturing of advanced electronics, lab equipment and spacecraft components.

It's a fascinating view of the future and the potential further commercialization of space.  Stay tuned!