NASA Plans Quadrillion-Dollar Asteroid Mining Mission
Ashley Allen / 3 years ago
NASA has unveiled an ambitious plan to voyage to one of our most intriguing local, metal-rich asteroids. 16 Psyche is located within the Solar system – one of many asteroids in the belt between Mars and Jupiter – and may be the remnants of a long-lost planet, impact-blasted down to its core, which is made of gold, platinum, copper, cobalt, iridium, and rhenium. NASA thinks that the iron within 16 Psyche alone could be worth US$10,000 quadrillion.
“Even we could grab a big metal piece and drag it back here … what would you do? Could you kind of sit on it and hide it and control the global resource — kind of like diamonds are controlled corporately — and protect your market?” Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the lead scientist on the NASA mission and the director of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, said (via GlobalNews). “What if you decided you were going to bring it back and you were just going to solve the metal resource problems of humankind for all time? This is wild speculation obviously.”
Elkins-Tanton and her team plan to launch a reconnaissance mission to 13 Psyche by 2023. That mission alone will take seven years to reach the asteroid, so any mining endeavour is unlikely to occur for several decades.