Recent reports have indicated that the US space agency NASA could be getting involved in asteroid mining, which is the process of finding and extracting valuable minerals from space debris like asteroids.
Earlier this year, various global media sources reported that the space agency was currently tracking a nearby asteroid that contained enough gold to make everyone on earth a billionaire.
The asteroid is called psyche 16, and it is located between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, and is reportedly made of solid metal.
The asteroid contains a variety of different valuable metals in addition to Gold, including large volumes of platinum, iron, and nickel.
Photo Credit: Captain Planet
If all of the valuable minerals on the asteroid were to be mined an added up, experts estimate the total value of psych 16 would be around $10,000 quadrillion.
Experts suggest that if all of these minerals were brought back to earth it would cause a massive crash in commodity prices and wreak havoc on the world’s economy, which is worth considerably less than the value of the asteroid at roughly $75.5 trillion.
However, NASA insists that the trip planned for the asteroid is only a scientific expedition and that no mining will take place on their missions. Still, asteroid ownership and mining were made legal in 2015, and many companies are already rushing to cash in on the new source of minerals.
Photo Credit: Bloomberg
There are many interesting aspects to asteroid mining, especially the potential environmental benefits. Mining for minerals on earth can be very problematic because it forces many native people off of their ancestral lands and then pollutes the environment and disrupts the local ecosystem.
Also, an additional source of minerals could lead to more wealth for everyone here on earth, although it is, unfortunately, more likely that these companies will monopolize the industry and keep that wealth for themselves.