Asteroid mining will be the most profitable industry in the future if companies that would like to get involved in this activity come up with reliable solutions to pull that off. In a new study on this topic, however, scientists said that asteroid mining, to be achievable, would require us to build space stations inside space rocks targeted for the extraction of precious metals and fuels, among others.
Increasingly more people consider that the future of humanity is outside Earth. Our planet is already changing to due to human-caused global warming, while the resources are diminishing fast. Therefore, asteroid mining might be a reliable solution to cover the need for some supplies. Nonetheless, those who’d like to get involved in this future industry target the profits, but, overall, it might benefits all of us.
The new study, conducted by scientists from the University of Vienna, tried to answer the question of how would humans drill into an asteroid without gravity. In a microgravity environment, the miner would get drifted away with every jackhammer’s drill thrust, so the researcher looked deep into this problem and ran simulations to come up with solutions.
Asteroid Mining Would Need Us To Build Space Stations Inside Space Rocks
“Existing studies focus on creating the necessary artificial gravity by rotating structures that are built inside the asteroid. Here, we assume the entire mined asteroid to rotate at a sufficient rate for artificial gravity and investigate its use for housing a habitat inside,” the researchers wrote in their study’s report, issued on arXiv.
“If we find an asteroid that’s stable enough, we might not need these aluminum walls or anything, you might just be able to use the entire asteroid as a space station,” added Thomas Maindl, the study’s co-author, for the New Scientist.
“The border between science and science fiction here is sort of blurry. My gut feeling is that it will be at least 20 years before any asteroid mining happens, let alone something like this,” Mandl concluded.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.