The total cost of all the "jewels" of the asteroid, to which NASA will soon send an expedition, was estimated at 700 quintillion dollars.
According to the already announced plans, in 2022 the US Space Agency will send a mission to the "golden" asteroid of the Main Belt, also known as (16) Psyche. The flight to its orbit will last until 2026-2027, and the very stay on (16) Psyche will take more than 20 months. Scientists intend to investigate the rock of the asteroid using special equipment: ultraspectral tomograph, gamma ray and neutron spectrometer and magnetometer.
The asteroid, formed as a result of the collision of two celestial bodies, weighs less than one percent of the mass of the Moon. Moreover, its rock contains platinum, iron, nickel and gold. According to the Oil Price portal, experts have calculated the total cost of all metals at (16) Psyche: 700 quintillion dollars. This money would be enough to make all people billionaires.
While NASA perceives the asteroid mission as purely scientific and thus intends to study the formation of the solar system, some companies are convinced that mining on asteroids is a promising industry.
“Once we have everything set up, the possibilities are almost limitless,” Mitch Hunter-Scullion, founder of the UK-based Asteroid Mining Company, told the BBC. "Those who have the courage will be able to earn astronomical money." Asteroid Mining plans to start mining in space by 2030.
However, experts believe that asteroid drilling and a new gold rush could lead to the collapse of the global economy. According to Scott Moore, CEO of EuroSun Mining, companies bring about 141.75 tons of gold to the market annually, but these volumes pale in comparison to what we can mine in space.
Analysts at Allied Maket Research estimate that by 2025 the budget for asteroid mining programs will reach $ 3.8 billion through public and private investment.
“You can't think of space mining as something that will happen in 25 or 50 years,” says Moore. - This is already happening. And the Asteroid Belt is just one aspect of this market. The entire space market is already worth hundreds of billions."
Extractive industry companies and space agencies are not only interested in asteroids: for example, in January ESA signed a contract with Airbus subsidiary Ariane Group to prepare a mission to the moon in 2025. It is planned to extract regolith on the satellite of our planet in order to use it as fuel for spacecraft in the future.
Meanwhile, the Japanese company iSpace announced that its first devices will go to the moon in 2020 and 2021, and by 2030 the active exploitation of satellite resources will begin.