Gold rush in space?
The most detailed study of an asteroid shows that it contains precious metals worth at least $20,000bn.
It occurred to me that if we can get to Mars then it should not be too difficult to go one step further in a few years time and make it to the Asteroid belt. The cost of the first mission would be impressive, but then it could pay for itself immediately and fund all future missions.
The biggest problem would be a potentially massive lump of rock smashing into the Earth and causing a ‘deep impact’. But then we don’t need the whole thing, just the elements within it.
If any suitable asteroid were identified and could be persuaded to plummet into Mars it could be mined there, the appropriate metals extracted, and then taken to the Moon in large quantities; appropriate amounts could then be transported to Earth under controlled conditions via shuttle-style space craft.
Such a rush of new material may disrupt the global economy, but then so what? Most of us have no control over it anyway, and from recent experience it appears that those that do probably don’t deserve it.
Read the full article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/401227.stm