Governments, scientists and entrepreneurs hope to use asteroids as a new source of raw materials.
In 2017, humanity needed only seven months to use up all the resources it produces in one year. No wonder people are beginning to dream about the riches available beyond our planet. Asteroids contain enormous quantities of platinum and other rare metals, and water on the moon could be used to produce hydrogen to power spaceships for long-distance journeys. The US has authorized the exploitation of resources in space since 2015, and Luxembourg since July 2017. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will bring at least 60 g of asteroid matter back to Earth in 2023. Meanwhile, private companies like Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources are already looking into extraction on an industrial scale.