This Week's Earth-Buzzing Asteroid Could Be Worth $195 Billion

The idea of mining nearby asteroids for resources we could use on Earth is fast becoming a possibility — and the asteroid set to buzz Earth on February 15 could be worth up to $US195 billion. If we can catch it.

According to scientists at Deep Space Industries — one of the companies intent on mining asteroids — the passing rock, 2012 DA14, contains enough metals and propellants to make it worth a cool $US195 billion. Micahel Cooney writes:

[A]ccording to DSI experts, if 2012 DA14 contains 5 per cent recoverable water, that alone — in space as rocket fuel — might be worth as much as $US65 billion. If 10 per cent of its mass It could mass which could range from as little as 16,000 tons or as much as one million tons — is easily recovered iron, nickel and other metals, that could be worth — in space as building material — an additional $US130 billion.

Sadly, current space mining technology isn't up to catching 2012 DA14 just yet. But that won't be the case for long, and with any luck space miners should be bringing trillion-dollar hauls back to Earth in the coming years. [Network World]

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    To sell things for a certain price, you need customers. Who are the customers lining up to spend $65billion for water in space? Is Apple saying "If only we ould get our hands on a few thousand tons of extra-planetary nickel, we could finally build that orbiting iPhone factory!"?

    The metals are a future market, but there is an existing market for propellant - NASA and every other launch company would love access on-orbit to accessible fuel.

    Once that is in place, putting structures in orbit to process raw minerals into something worth the cost of reentry isn't that hard to imagine.

    Hmm, billions of dollars in materials, it's already in space, i'm thinking maybe that Death Star isn't so far off ...

    I think the answer to that at least initially would be other space miners, looking to fuel their equipment so they can send more rare metals back to earth.

      Oops, that was in answer to Sean's question above regarding who would buy space water.

    would give new meaning to the term FIFO Miners

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