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$5 trillion asteroid to pass us by on Sunday


Posted on Friday, 17 July, 2015 | Comment icon 24 comments

Near-Earth asteroids could offer an almost limitless supply of precious metals. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
A nearby asteroid loaded with a platinum core is thought to be worth an unfathomable amount of money.
Despite there being no chance of a collision with the Earth, Asteroid UW-158 has been of particular interest to scientists thanks to its status as a prime target for future asteroid mining.

The otherwise unremarkable space rock is thought to contain a 90 million tonne core of platinum - an incredibly rare precious metal - which if mined would be worth a staggering five trillion dollars.

To put this in to perspective - only 130 tons of platinum are mined each year and the entire amount mined throughout the whole of history would fit in to a box measuring just 25 cubic feet.

Its value has reignited the debate over the profitability of developing the technologies needed to send automated probes to nearby asteroids as part of commercial space mining operations.

Prospecting company Planetary Resources has already been making progress in this area by successfully launching its first demonstration vehicle from the International Space Station.

"The successful deploymentof the A3R is a significant milestone for Planetary Resources as we forge a path toward prospecting resource-rich asteroids," said co-founder Peter H. Diamandis.

"Our team is developing the technology that will enable humanity to create an off-planet economy that will fundamentally change the way we live on Earth."


Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (24)

Tags: Asteroid Mining

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #15 Posted by fred_mc on 18 July, 2015, 6:13
Both gold and platinum is used extensively in integrated circuits and opto-electronics. Just today we were looking at gold wire bond threads. Cheers, Badeskov Yes, platinum is also used in catalytic converters in cars. There are people getting out platinum from catalytic converters in scrapped cars.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 18 July, 2015, 7:55
Just haul 4 of these babies in with tractor beams at $5 trillion apiece and the U.S. national debt is more than eliminated!! Excellent idea. I can see just one problem with that idea: We don't have tractor beams !
Comment icon #17 Posted by Erowin on 18 July, 2015, 17:30
I want to be the one to mine it and get $5 trillion. I'd love to be rich, because then I would fund lots of science and help lots of causes/charities. Need $40 million for your research? No problem!
Comment icon #18 Posted by Zalmoxis on 18 July, 2015, 23:47
It'll be a race to mine this asteroid UW-158. I'm sure some wealthy entrepreneurs are eyeing that rock with plans to take it first.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Whisperer on 19 July, 2015, 1:23
I hope they put more thought into this venture and others like it... Space is a finely balanced environment, our Solar System is part and parcel of the balanced system so if greedy folks go trapping asteroids and mining them a question that is on my mind is "What would that do to the balance of each object on our Solar System that is accustomed to the present gravity well and enfluence of said asteroids"? It could mean the end of the world quite literally......
Comment icon #20 Posted by DieChecker on 19 July, 2015, 19:46
Yes, platinum is also used in catalytic converters in cars. There are people getting out platinum from catalytic converters in scrapped cars. With all that platinum we could build a catalytic converter to end Global Warming...........
Comment icon #21 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 20 July, 2015, 10:08
With all that platinum we could build a catalytic converter to end Global Warming........... Oh dear! You don't actually know what a catalytic converter does do you? They convert unburnt, toxic, hydrocarbons in to water and carbon dioxide. They reduce the levels of toxic pollutants at the cost of producing MORE greenhouse gases.
Comment icon #22 Posted by DieChecker on 22 July, 2015, 22:23
Oh dear! You don't actually know what a catalytic converter does do you? They convert unburnt, toxic, hydrocarbons in to water and carbon dioxide. They reduce the levels of toxic pollutants at the cost of producing MORE greenhouse gases. Yeah, I looked it up later and had a DOH! moment.... I was thinking Carbon Monoxide anyway, which is still wrong...
Comment icon #23 Posted by brogster31 on 23 July, 2015, 23:45
1 going hit us 1 day we wont know because government would never tell us we know with last min then boob while there all safe all the vip we be ****ed
Comment icon #24 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 July, 2015, 9:11
1 going hit us 1 day Possibly. we wont know because government would never tell us we know with last min then boob while there all safe all the vip we be ****ed Paranoid nonsense. "The government" (which one, there are an awful lot in the world) does not control what is observed in the sky. Around the world there are thousands of professional astronomers working at hundreds of observatories in many different nations. When a new asteroid is discovered it's position is immediately passed to the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) Minor Planet Center (MPC) based at the Smithsonian Astrophysi... [More]


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