The Other Side of Asteroids
When we think of asteroids, scenarios of species-ending impacts typically come to mind. The impact from a large enough rock would, frankly, be deadly. Yet, these space rocks contain elements that are extremely valuable to us, including gold, iridium, silver, platinum, iron, cobalt, manganese, nickel, aluminum and titanium. Now, an asteroid mining company has taken a huge step to being able to mine these space objects.
Arkyd 3 Reflight
Planetary Resources, an asteroid mining company started in 2010, just deployed its spacecraft from the ISS, commencing the preliminary mission to test its technologies. For the next 90 days, Arkyd 3 Reflight spacecraft will be testing functionalities that will be needed to mine materials from near-Earth asteroids.
“Our team is developing the technology that will enable humanity to create an off-planet economy that will fundamentally change the way we live on Earth,” says Peter Diamandis, cofounder of Planetary Resources. The company says asteroid mining will come to be a multi-trillion dollar industry. Being able to harvest materials from asteroids would dramatically change space travel. Astronauts could propel their crafts by taking oxygen, ammonia, hydrogen and other materials from an asteroid.
Sources: GeekWire, Planetary Resources
Images: Popular Science