December 27, 2016

"Contemporary spaceflight is impractical by virtue of being unsustainable; it's a pursuit for governmental agencies and rich visionaries."

NBC: Now an industry with its roots in prehistory is changing that tune, summoning up a modern set of incentives for people to get more intimate with outer space. by Dylan Love

'Space mining presents itself as a killer technology for interstellar travel and exploration — the miners are due to inherit the stars as we set their sights beyond our planet to harvest geological resources from the universe itself.

'The minerals we pull out of the the ground — whether they're worth money or are useful for some process — have the same composition as the minerals that comprise planets and asteroids. So what good are those minerals doing us out there? A website called Asterank charts the economic feasibility of mining some 600,000 different asteroids for their resources — one 90-foot-wide platinum asteroid is worth a respectable $50 billion on Earth. The incentive is undeniable.

'More than turning asteroids into money, however, today's space mining entrepreneurs are intent on turning asteroids into figurative gas stations. The ubiquitous space rocks are commonly home to water ice — or hydrogen and oxygen, the building blocks of rocket fuel.'

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