Friday, January 13, 2017

A Hunk of Money, Just Out of Reach

I usually think that space exploration — though cool and something I value for its own sake — seems like a money hole. But today, while listening to a Science Friday segment on two upcoming probes to the asteroids near Jupiter, I learned a startling fact.

Background: There's an asteroid that travels in tandem with Jupiter, called Psyche, which is unique because it has lost the rock layers that usually surround the metallic core, leaving it as a big hunk of metal hurtling through space.

Which was interesting enough, but when a caller asked whether there were plans to mine the asteroids, I began to see why businesses (like Elon Musk's Space X) are interested in space.

While there is no way to bring back mined materials at this point (which is a big caveat), the NASA scientist on the show said she had crunched the numbers and the value of the metals on Psyche alone are worth 100,000 times the GDP of the entire Earth economy.

That's a lot of impetus.

1 comment:

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Wow. Could we stop mining Earth, do you think?