As Earth works through its finite supply of industrial and precious metals, some companies are looking to space for the newest mining endeavor. Many of the asteroids that orbit relatively close to our planet contain large reserves of metals. In fact, a single asteroid could contain enough nickel-iron to meet global needs for millions of years! Asteroid mining could even facilitate interstellar travel, as the water found on some asteroids could be split into its hydrogen and oxygen components to make rocket fuel. Asteroids could therefore function as gas stations in space, allowing spacecraft to travel greater distances than ever before.
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Key Facts In This Video
One 30-meter asteroid can have 20 trillion dollars' worth of metal inside it. 00:45
Traveling to a nearby asteroid would require less energy than traveling to the moon. 02:24
Companies are currently planning scouting missions to determine the best asteroids for mining. 02:56