New Asteroid Development Project

Published on January 22, 2013

New Asteroid Development Project

Original author: Paul Rincon
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Space projects have already been mentioned on Habré and today we have translated for you the article “New venture 'to mine asteroids'”

Translation:
Another company decided to develop asteroids. Deep Space Industries announced its plans for the extraction of rare metals from asteroids and thus became the second participant in this race. The first was Planetary Resources, which announced to the public its plans last year.

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Some believe that this could become a trillion-dollar business, but some scholars are very skeptical about this idea.

Deep Space Industries wants to equip a fleet of scouting ships scouring for valuable asteroids throughout the solar system.

These spacecraft, which the company christened “Fireflies,” will be built on the basis of low-cost components from CubeSat and sent to space along with large communication satellites to save.

Fireflies will weigh about 55 pounds (25 kg) and the first will be launched in 2015 from two to six months.

Subsequently, the company will launch a larger spacecraft called "Dragonfly", it will take samples collected by Fireflies and return with them to Earth.

These expeditions will take from two to four years, depending on the distance to the target, and bring from 60 to 150 pounds of metal.

“Mining in space is the only way to maintain the constant development of space programs,” said David Gump, executive director of the company.

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“Every year we discover more than 900 new asteroids passing near the Earth. They can become a source of ore for us, as they once became Iron range(eng.) for the Detroit auto industry in the last century. Valuable resource and located where it was used. In our case, metal and fuel extracted from asteroids will help develop the space industry in this century. ”

The extraction of resources such as gold, platinum and rare earth metals is possible on asteroids. But some can also become sources of water ice, which can be used as raw material for the production of rocket fuel or air.

Another company involved in the race for resources, Planetary Resources, is supported by several billionaire investors such as Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Intentional Software Corporation CEO Charles Simoni and director James Cameron.

This company wants to start by launching orbiting telescopes that will help find suitable asteroids for mining.

Nevertheless, some scientists doubt that it will be a cost-effective enterprise, even in the case of the development of asteroids rich in gold or platinum.

They cite NASA's upcoming mission, which will cost about $ 1 billion to deliver two ounces (60 g) per asteroid.

UPD: Recommended Reading www.space.com/19368-asteroid-mining-deep-space-industries.html (Eng.)