Imagine it: trillions of dollars worth of precious metals, fossil fuels, and fresh water, just lying around waiting to be claimed by anybody with a little know-how and an adventurer's spirit--any lucky person willing to travel a few million miles into the great black unknown, latch on to a big hunk of funny-shaped rock, and claim 'em!
Asteroid mining may be down the road a piece yet, but that doesn't mean it's too early to start scouting. With that in mind, we give you Asterank 3D, the first visual guide to our solar system's most valuable resources.
Software engineer Ian Webster created Asterank 3D to visualize the data in Asterank, a database with economic and astronomical information on over 580,000 asteroids in our solar system that Webster built using data from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Small Body Database and several other sources. Each object in the database is ranked according to its total value and accessibility from Earth. Webster also gives an estimate of the total profit--taking into account costs of processing and transport--of mining each asteroid.
While Asterank presents all the best, most up-to-date information on our exo-resources, the database comes with one big caveat: "Scientists know shockingly little about the composition of asteroids," Webster writes on the About page. "This information scarcity is exactly why Planetary Resources is going to spend years or even decades investing in LEO-telescopes and data-gathering flybys before they ever touch an asteroid."
So if you really are the prospecting type--and you've got a fair chunk of start-up capital on hand--the folks over at Planetary Resources can help get you set up.
The Gods made humans to serve them. I am very confident we humans with a tweak DNA will eventually find something in space worth economically chasing. It’s in our genes and well we just can't help being curious and picking the fruit from the apple tree.
Of course, whatever we find, ultimately it all belongs to the GODS!
It may be true that "Scientists know shockingly little about the composition of asteroids," but I think we can safely say that the *fossil fuel* content is 0.00%
They're not worth something, they are worth a fortune! Probably...
@mcdan333 - I'm not sure where the author came up with that possiblity. I could envision methane being found on asteroids, but while it is a hyrdocarbon, its not a fossil fuel.
He had a dreams of aliens COWS in space. It has been noted in history of one cow jumping over the moon.
Tell us Emily, where did you get the notion that there are "fossil fuels" in asteroids? Have you seen some secret NASA evidence of life outside of Earth?
The wealth of the solar system isn't just trillions of dollars, it's millions of trillions of dollars. The wealth of the solar system, in asteroids, moons and Kuiper belt objects is enough to sustain a growing human race for the next 10,000 years or more and insure that a single asteroid or comet cannot make life extinct.
Sometimes it is said, they lays only space between human ears, lol.
Then sudden we get a great idea and a new wealth emerges.
So yes, in space they might be much wealth and we need not look to far, but only inside ourselves..... hmmm.
Poor Emily apparently never took a class in basic economics. The market value of any commodity such as precious metals, fossil fuels, or even water is the result of supply and demand. For example, if I could somehow manage to fly into outer space, capture a 100-ton asteroid composed of pure gold, and safely bring it back to earth, the market price of gold would instantly fall 50% or more. It's the scarcity of something that has demand that gives it value. At one time in history around 150 years ago, crude oil was worthless because there was no use for it.
As for fossil fuels in space, forget about asteroids. One of Saturn's moons has oceans of liquid methane.