Asteroid Mining Will Begin Soon

Asteroid mining

Image Credit: Flickr User Alex Hopkinson, via CC

If you thought that asteroid mining is far away in the future, you are wrong. It can happen much sooner than you think. We have been mining the Earth for ages now and using the natural resources for our purposes.

Now it is time to go and extract raw materials from asteroids and other minor planets.NASA has contracted two Space companies to explore the asteroids and start mining. They are looking for anything that supplements space travel. Spaceship fuel, water or air. Later they plan to look for any known metals or maybe new and unknown materials that might help us on Earth.

The two space companies are Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources Inc. to start work in asteroid mining. Deep Space would be specifically sending satellites to collect data and information about the asteroid and assign a spacecraft named Dragonfly to bring back the resources to Earth. Planetary Resources would work on tracking satellites and building new telescope that would make asteroid tracking easier.

How did this mission spring into action?

Well, the success of Rosetta spacecraft has opened doors to multiple opportunities and brought the asteroid mining to the forefront.

How is asteroid mining done?

It is very expensive to send an object from Earth to Space. However, asteroid have no gravity, and they are easier to move. So the plan is to bring them nearer to Earth to start the extraction.

When does the mission start?

NASA would launch an OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft in September of 2016 to a near earth object called “Bennu.” The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft reach in 2019, examine it for 505-days and then return at least 60 grams (~1.9 ounces) of it to Earth in 2023.

The future certainly looks very interesting.

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