Asteroid mining sounds like the realm of science fiction. It certainly has been a popular plot point or setting in fiction ranging from serious thrillers (Alien) to comedy (Red Dwarf). But it has not factored in reality until the past decade or so.
On April 6, 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order which declared that the US did not recognize space as a “common ground” for humanity. According to the US official view, public and private organizations are free to stake their claims on whatever they find.
This is a massive step from the Obama-era Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act 2015 which stopped short of allowing nations to claim ownership of anything.
As you can imagine, this causes problems with international law and relations. Before we explore this, however, it’s worth noting why we would want to do this and how we plan on going about it.
10 – Huge Amount Of Resources
We live in a world of electronic gadgets, mass global transport, and a growing population that desires such things. Gold, platinum, nickel, iron . . . you name it, and it’s probably in your pocket or parked in your driveway right now. These resources are finite on Earth, and we’re going through them faster with every technological advancement.
However, the same resources are almost limitless in space. Let’s take the example of platinum. This metal is used in things such as cardiac pacemakers and as a catalyst for turning crude oil into something we can use in fuel and manufacturing.
Platinum is considered rare on Earth. However, the asteroid belt in our solar system alone contains a billion times more platinum than is found here on Earth, and that’s not even including other resources.