Wall St firm says mining platinum from asteroids is ‘realistic’ way for bankers to earn billions. It's one small step for man, one giant opportunity for a new resource grab.
THE global investment bank Goldman Sachs has claimed mining asteroids for precious metals is a “realistic” goal. It has released a report exploring the possibility of using an “asteroid-grabbing spacecraft” to extract platinum from space rocks. “While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower,” the report said. With some of the Earth's most valuable resources dwindling, space mining is looming large as the next frontier for prospectors. Asteroids promise a rich source of precious metals such as gold and platinum and diamonds while the Moon has plentiful reserves of ''rare earth minerals'' used in smartphones, tablets, flat-screen TVs, pharmaceuticals, wind turbines and a range of other technological and military applications.
“Prospecting probes can likely be built for tens of millions of dollars each and Caltech (University) has suggested an asteroid-grabbing spacecraft could cost $2.6 billion,” the report said. The Wall St bank added: “Space mining could be more realistic than perceived.” It is believed an asteroid the size of a football field could be worth up to $66 billion. However, bringing that much platinum back to Earth is likely to crash the precious metal market — and probably the rest of the economy with it.
Earlier this year, NASA said it was planning a mission to an asteroid so valuable it could cause the world’s economy to collapse. It is called 16 Psyche and is a massive hunk of the precious metals iron and nickel. The mysterious “metal world” was formed during the turbulent birth of our solar system. It is valued at $US10,000 quadrillion, according to Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the lead scientist on the NASA mission. With some of the Earth's most valuable resources dwindling, space mining is looming large as the next frontier precious natural resources.
Article originally appeared on the Sun.