Luxembourg, a small country in Europe which borders with Belgium, Germany, and France recently joined the California-based company, Deep Space Industries (DSI), that established with aims to finding, mining, and providing of the asteroid resources.
|The race is on to mine asteroids and planets for valuable minerals. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1aGDRP)|
The cooperation is intended to produce a spacecraft with a size of 30 centimeters, dubbed the Prospector-X. An advanced object technology was designed to test the mining of asteroids. The plan, the Luxembourg send a probe or drone toward low Earth orbit in the future. If the mission is successful, then the probe will be deployed to asteroids mining that aims to find water and rare minerals in space after 2020.
|An illustration of Asteroid mining activity. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1aGDJ0)|
Last year, US President Barack Obama signed the controversial bill. He allowed the American companies have ownership of the asteroid material extraction legally. The bill estimated will be triggered the asteroid mining fever.
Meanwhile, Luxembourg for the first time announced their intention to mine the asteroids in February.
|Space mining has governments and companies looking skyward. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1aGDJ0)|
"Directly, circulated myth that mining asteroids just the imagination of a conspiracy of the rich Silicon Valley bosses or the plot made by American imperialism to take over the solar system," said DSI chief, Rick Tumlinson as told to National Geographic.
As quoted from News.com.au on Tuesday, May 10. 2016, another US company, Planetary Resources, has become one of the forces to pushing the asteroid mining technology. The company has several shareholders with the famous profile in Silicon Valley, including the Alphabet executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, as well as the founder of Virgin, Richard Branson.
|A concept of Asteroid mining by DSI(Deep Space Industries), a California-based company that established with aims to finding, mining, and providing of the asteroid resources. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1aGCae)|
Last year, Planetary Resources launched its first satellite from the International Space Station or ISS to test the asteroid mining technology. But until now, the legal position of the asteroid mining activities is uncertain. Claiming a planet is forbidden since 1967 by the International Space Treaty, but the law on extraction of space resources is still unformed.
|Sightings of comets and asteroids that do orbit close to Earth's orbit. The blue circumference is the track the orbit of Mercury, Venus, and Mars. The bright green color track is the trajectory of the Earth's orbit and the green spots are NEO. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1aGCae)|
A website created by the Luxembourg government, specifically discusses the topics about the asteroid mining. They acknowledged that the legality of the practice of the futuristic mining activity yet to be established.
"Luxembourg is very conscious that the law is not a trivial matter. Therefore the country to be careful in exploring appropriate ways to support and promote the outer space mining is done in a balanced and economically," as writen by the website.
One of space mining companies, Planetary Resources is eyeing two things: platinum and water. Platinum is a metal group consisting of ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum, which are only found in low concentrations in the Earth. It's hard to get it, it's why the price is extraordinarily expensive.
These metals were not formed by chance in the Earth's crust, but there was due to the impact of an asteroid collision. Its reserves was outstanding. One space rock rich in platinum with a width of 500 meters, for example, contain platinum metals equivalent to ever mined in human history.
Some asteroids known rich in water, which is also one of the company targets. After extraction, the water from the asteroid was not sold on Earth, but traded in the space to cut the cost of bringing water from Earth.
Water from asteroids will help the astronauts stay hydrated, it also helps to grow crops in space. Furthermore, the water will be used as a radiation shield on the space shuttle. Also can be seperated into two elements, ie oxygen and hydrogen as the main component of rocket fuel. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICS | NEWS.COM.AU]
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