The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Friday, 18 January 2019 01:00

Space Mining: Potential for unlimited resources

Space Mining Space Mining.

Evidence show that the time to exploit areas outside of Earth has arrived.

Despite the fact that countries cannot claim possession on a celestial body, according to the International Treaty of Outer Space signed in 1967, the "Space Law," approved by the US Congress and signed by President Obama in 2015, allows firms to conduct space mining by private initiatives given that they have the knowledge and the technology to accomplish such attempts.

For the past years, companies are investing in developing the technology that is required to exploit asteroids. Evidence show that the resources are countless, therefore, the potential profits are huge. The most appropriate exploitation zones are the asteroids that orbit the Earth (12,000 asteroids pass close to the Earth annually) or those that gather in the belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Some asteroids could contain enough iron, nickel and cobalt to satisfy Earth's needs for about 3 millenniums. Moreover, the reserves of some raw materials (e.g. zinc, tin, silver, copper, lead) could be depleted on Earth soon and thus the success of space mining in asteroids is crucial.

As regards Moon's potential, experts state that it could also provide materials that are running out in Earth (titanium, iron and aluminum). Additionally, the Moon has large quantities of the Helium-3 isotope, a gas that could become a non-polluting fuel for fusion nuclear plants.

Today, large companies including Orbital Sciences Corporation, Deep Space Industries, Mars One, Bigelow Aerospace, Planetary Resources, The Blue Origin owned by the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, The SpaceX, owned and founded by Elon Musk, have initiated a race to investigate the potentiality and the sustainability of space mining.


Read 267 times Last modified on Friday, 18 January 2019 15:17

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