With the rush to colonize Mars, the asteroid missions might have been forgotten by mainstream media. However, space exploration programs such as Planetary Resources, Deep Space Industries (DSI), and NASA have not forgotten about asteroids. Asteroids might actually even be profitable, if the total revenue from extracting asteroid metals and gases exceed the cost of sending rockets to extract these elements.
While these space programs are exploring mining physical properties out of asteroids, people on Earth are exploring mining techniques with Bitcoin. Fancy that.
NASA and Asteroids
This won’t be the first time that NASA has publically displayed an interest in mining space objects. NASA wanted to nudge an asteroid into lunar orbit as part of its Asteroid Redirect Mission, but this was canceled in 2017 due to lack of Congressional Support. This does not mean that the agency has forgotten about its plans. Whoever manages to mine asteroids profitably can potentially shore up trillions of dollars for themselves.
Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries
Planetary Resources and DSI both have significant funding from the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. These programs have lain low in the mainstream media for a period of time, while amassing loads of funding. Their missions are to mine asteroids in space for valuable elements.
Proposals to mine asteroids have previously included scraping asteroid dust from the objects and trying to break smaller asteroids apart for valuable metals. For larger asteroids, you can tunnel into their interiors. The easiest to extract, of course, will be liquids such as water.
Asteroids can be full of water. Potentially, asteroid mining equipment can evaporate liquids from the asteroid surface and collect it as vapor. We can use different types of vapor particles and use them for rocket fuel and other space needs.
The first asteroid mining missions are slated for the 2020s, but the timetables are very loose. If the enterprise is profitable, the real Gold Rush will begin. Or, shall we say, Water Rush?
Gold, if too much is harvested, will lose its value. But we can still dissolve asteroid water into gas for hydrogen components for rocket fuel, which the rocket will need to get back to Earth.
People Are Still Mining Bitcoin
While space exploration programs are trying to figure out how to mine physical asteroids profitably, people on Earth are still mining Bitcoin, a virtual currency. Bitcoin is not a physical commodity, but you can trade it for real-world currencies such as the dollar at the moment. This has led some to believe that Bitcoin is hocus-pocus and that there is no real value to BTC. Even so, the Earthlings continue in the desperate, and hopefully not a dead-end, BTC pursuit.