The existence of Gold in space
Based on facts, there is a humongous amount of gold in space, one study of an asteroid in particular reveals that within its core lies precious metals worth a minimum of $20 trillion dollars. The NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) spacecraft that passed the Eros asteroid revealed that the 33 X 13 KM banana shaped mountain of rock was actually more metal than rock and it was not just any metal, they were precious metals.
According to their observations, Eros contains no less than 20,000 million tonnes of aluminium, gold, platinum, silver and other rare metals on its nearly 3,000 km cubic mass. This simply reveals that there is more gold on that space object than all the gold ever excavated or could ever be excavated from Earth’s upper layers. This is based on the observations from only one asteroid and the truth is, there are thousands of such asteroids scattered among the stars. Eros as it is would be worth about 9 million dollars for every tonne of its mass.
So could space be the next mining frontier? Highly unlikely due to a number of reasons which include the crash of the markets due to the dramatic influx of precious metals to Earth which would make rare metals, common, another reason why this would not be a feasible venture is due to the fact that these huge bodies of matter are flying around in space faster than bullets and landing on them to mine them is virtually impossible.
What if we can drive these asteroids towards earth? If these asteroids were to impact earth, life as we know it would cease to exist in almost an instant.
Although asteroid mining has been considered as an option for decades, but the ROI or returns on investments based on the ‘guesstimates’ are negative as the costs are indeed astronomical. However, as science advances, we may never know as new information and data are seemingly brining humans closer to this objective of exploiting raw materials from asteroids as the resources on planet Earth become scarcer by the second and added to the fact that mining activities are not actually good for the environment, it does look like the ‘space mining cowboys’ are not giving up on this idea any time soon.
One of the most important factors that these gold mining cowboys have to take into consideration is the target selection of orbital asteroids, not to mention economics which include issues pertaining to changes in velocity, travel time to the target and from the target as well as the value trade off with the payload.
All these factors make Near-Earth asteroids undoubtedly the most attractive candidates for mining activity due to their low velocity and distance which makes them perfect for extracting materials for near Earth space based facilities that can be built either on the moon or an orbital facility which would have a significant impact on reducing the economic cost of such a venture.