According to the plans already announced, in 2022 the US Space Agency will send a mission to the “golden” asteroid of the Main Belt, also known as (16) Psyche. The flight to its orbit will last until 2026-2027, and the stay on (16) will take more than 20 months for Psyche. Scientists intend to explore the rock of the asteroid with the help of special equipment: an ultra-spectral tomograph, gamma-ray and neutron spectrometer and magnetometer.
An asteroid formed as a result of a collision between two celestial bodies weighs less than one percent of the mass of the moon. At the same time, its rock contains platinum, iron, nickel and gold. According to the portal Oil Price, experts have calculated the total value of all metals for (16) Psyche: 700 quintillion dollars. This money would be enough to make all people billionaires.
While NASA’s mission to the asteroid is perceived as purely scientific and intend to study the formation of the solar system in this way, some companies are convinced that the extraction of mineral resources on asteroids is a promising industry.
“As soon as we prepare everything, the possibilities will be almost limitless,” said Mitch Hunter-Scuillion, founder of the British Asteroid Mining Company, in a conversation with the BBC. “Those who have the courage can earn astronomical money.” Asteroid Mining plans to begin mining in space by 2030.
However, experts believe that the drilling of asteroids and the new gold rush could lead to the collapse of the global economy. According to Scott Moore, general director of EuroSun Mining, annually companies bring about 141.75 tons of gold to the market, but these volumes pale in comparison with what we can mine in space.
According to analysts from Allied Maket Research, by 2025, the budget for mining programs on asteroids will reach $ 3.8 billion through public and private investment.
“You can’t think of space mining as something that happens in 25 or 50 years,” says Moore. – This is already happening. And the Asteroid Belt is only one aspect of this market. The entire space market is already worth hundreds of billions. ”
Mining companies and space agencies are not only interested in asteroids: for example, in January, ESA signed a contract with Airbus subsidiary Ariane Group for preparing the mission to the Moon in 2025. On the satellite of our planet they plan to mine regolith in order to use it as a fuel for spacecraft in the future.
Meanwhile, the Japanese company iSpace stated that its first vehicles would go to the moon as early as 2020 and 2021, and by 2030 active exploitation of satellite resources would begin.