Mines On Asteroids: Science Fiction Or New Frontier?
Some claim that the colonization and exploration of the Solar System will begin for real only when humanity will begin to exploit economically the minerals rich in asteroids. Although the concept has been proposed for decades by science fiction, it is only in recent years that it has been seen as a serious possibility. This has even led to the creation of numerous mining companies for the exploitation of asteroids. But how close are we really to the realization of this dream?
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For many years now, experts, environmental scientists but also geopolitical scholars and economists, have been telling us that the Earth’s natural resources are not infinite, and that sooner or later (sooner than later, considering the continuous growth of the world’s population and consumption), they will run out.
These are not only energy resources such as fossil fuels, which in addition to being increasingly scarce are also harmful to the environment, but also and above all the metals and other minerals used for the countless industrial processes necessary for contemporary society. We are talking about phosphorus, antimony, zinc, tin, lead, indium, silver, gold and copper, platinum, cobalt … All minerals that the earth’s crust now struggles to provide us in the right amount and at affordable costs.
Asteroid mining may seem like a classic science fiction scenario, with large space stations extracting resources from distant moons, and colonies of miners on other planets in the Solar System.
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