Indiana News

Purdue Geologist Says Asteroid Mining Still Several Years Away

3/28/2013


An asteroid passed closely by Earth earlier this year.  (photo courtesy NASA)

Plans to mine asteroids have been announced, but any real mining operation is still several years away according to a planetary geology expert at Purdue. 

Jay Milosh says mining an asteroid is a possibility, but very difficult for several reasons.  Milosh says getting to an asteroid requires a lot of mathematical calculation with lots of variables, but if actually arriving on the right asteroid becomes a reality, there are other hang-ups. 

Water is huge part of any mining operation, and because it isn't readily available in space, that's at least one logistical hang up even once the trip is made.  However, Milosh says the trip could be worth the headache, even though it includes some very inconvenient space travel.   Asteroids contain gold, irridium, platinum, and other precious metals, making an average asteroid worth billions of dollars, which could offset the high cost of the mining mission.

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