'Deep Space Industries' Will Harvest Minerals and Metals from Asteroids

By: Joey Haar - Aug 11, 2016
References: deepspaceindustries & arstechnica
Deep Space Industries, an asteroid mining company, has announced official plans to send a commercial mining machine to an interplanetary asteroid. The concept of asteroid mining, which involves landing a harvesting machine on an asteroid and mining the valuable minerals and metals on it, is not a new one. However, it had only existed in theory until recently, and Deep Space Industries' "Prospector-1" mission will be the first effort at such an endeavor.

Though sending a spacecraft to near-Earth asteroids may seem resource intensive, the benefits are huge. Firstly, since the asteroids have no inhabitants, they can be decimated by mining with no repercussions. Secondly, releasing harmful greenhouse gas emissions into space is also a benign byproduct, since GHGs are only harmful to Earth's atmosphere.

Ultimately, the price of the space mission is offset by the benefits for Deep Space Industries and for the mining industry as a whole.