The American space agency, NASA, is working on a project which has the potential of becoming a source of revenue for the cash strapped agency. It has already signed contracts with two companies namely Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries for carrying the project further. The new proposed project will involve asteroid mining. Together with the two of them, NASA has already started chalking out a strategy for gathering resources in space.
According to experts, bringing resources from the space to earth will cost about $5,000 to $25,000, which means, taking resources in space will be the only alternative the two associated companies will the focusing on. In order to bring down the operational cost, they will also need to find out asteroids that are located closest to our planet and are rich sources of minerals, silicates, carbonaceous minerals and metals.
“Communicating about any future asteroid threat will not be easy,” said Michael Simpson, SWF’s Executive Director, according to Discovery.com. “People will need messages they can act on, and they will deserve to know the limitations on what modern science can predict.”
Report from Planetary Resources plan said that NASA aims to use a lot of mid-sized space telescopes in order to find asteroids which can yield maximum profits. Report also shows that they are aiming to create good revenue by commercializing its Arkyd 200 or 300 and, hopefully, creating a depot which will help in mining operations.
“Deep Space Industries is looking to use “FireFlies”, a compact spacecraft, in missions that will gather the same information that Planetary Resources wants, through telescopes. Eventually, the company wants to use its “Dragonfly” spacecraft to capture asteroids. Their “Harvestors” will be the spacecraft that helps bring resources back to Earth’s orbit,” reported the State Chronicle.
In the past also, NASA has conducted several studies to know more about the viability of mining for minerals on asteroids close to our planet. Platinum metals and water resources will hold the key to the financial sustainability of the proposed project. The space agency now plans to study Bennu, an asteroid close to the Earth, by landing the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft in 2016. NASA hopes to gather more information about the possibility of mining on asteroids from this project.