With Earth’s resources running short, asteroid mining seems on first examination to be a great idea. But is it science fiction or an actual possibility?
The book A Brief History of the Future suggests asteroid mining as a reality, but that is only supposition. There are enormous challenges to overcome and vast amounts of money required before we can tap into this vast store of resources. But maybe it is the only way forward, since experts estimate the Earth’s resources with run out in 50-60 years.
|Artist's impression of asteroid mining (NASA)|
- 75% of them are C-Type (carboniferous). These have a large amount of water, which could be converted to oxygen for breathing in spacecraft and hydrogen for rocket fuel. The water also contains components of fertilisers for growing crops.
- 17% are S-Type (silicaceous). They contain numerous metals including: nickel, cobalt and more valuable metals such as gold, platinum and rhodium. A small 10-meter S-type asteroid contains about 650,000 kg (1,433,000 lb) of metal with 50 kg (110 lb) in the form of rare metals like platinum and gold.
- Many of the rest are M-Type (metallic). They contain up to 10 times as much metal as the S-Type asteroids but are rare.
There is also some good stuff on YouTube. Here’s a sample:
- How close are we to mining in space?
- How asteroid mining will save the earth
- What if we started mining asteroids?
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz