Space is full of valuable resources. Let’s say, we are able to extract the resources from the rocks in the asteroid belt alone, we could give $100 billion to every person on Earth.
What would happen if we start mining for space resources? Is it possible to restore all of Earth’s resources we have used till now? Will it change our focus from space travel? Why are we not trying to do it yet? Let’s see what would happen if we start mining asteroids.
There are more than 800k asteroids in our solar system alone. The majority of them make up for the asteroid belt between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter. Don’t worry, we don’t have to go that far to mine the asteroids. There are over 16k asteroids near our Earth full of resources like water and gold. What if we are able to overcome all the challenges to mine asteroids for gold in space, will we be able to bring those resources back to Earth?
We could be able to bring back important resources to Earth. But bringing back precious resources like gold from space to earth in large quantities may significantly decrease their market value on Earth.
But what if instead of bringing those resources to Earth, we use those to explore the space further. This would make much more sense. We could be able to make all future space travels completely reliable on space resources.
With access to infinite amount of space resources, we would have no problem exploring and colonizing other planets and satellites. We would also be able to travel beyond our solar system and visit other star systems.
You might have heard of the theory that the asteroids made life on Earth possible. Once upon a time, Earth was also lifeless like other planets, when asteroids filled with various resources like water were constantly hitting the young Earth supporting the life for complex organic molecules.
If asteroids made life on Earth possible, then they can also help make life in space possible. Right now, Earth’s gravity makes it very difficult to travel in space as we can’t take all the fuel needed to explore or go beyond Mars or Moon. Gravity is so strong that it takes us more energy to escape the first 300 km from Earth than the next 300 million km. So it does not makes sense for us to burn all that fuel for reaching asteroids.
Once we escape the Earth’s gravity, traveling in space is almost effortless. So if we started mining asteroids for resources, we would not have to carry so much fuel. We would be able to reach Mars very easily.
Mining the asteroids with water in them will help us get more water in space. Water would be useful in growing food and producing breathable air. We would also be able to get fuel if we are able to convert water molecules into high-efficiency propellant. You would be able to call asteroids as our flying petrol pumps.
Mining the asteroid with metal like iron will allow us to construct low-cost structure of any size we want. It is only a matter of time when we start extracting resources from asteroids. But first, we will have to learn more about asteroids, how their gravitational pull works, what kind of equipment would be required and deciding which asteroid to mine first to get more output.