It’s fairly common in science fiction for space mining operations to exist, but the reality is that just getting anything into space is pretty expensive — and there isn’t all that much stuff in space that needs to get re-supplied with materials. However, the legal basis for claiming ownership of space resources may be clearing up, and a few companies might actually be driving down the costs of getting a spacecraft into space. The concept of striking a literal gold mine in space might not happen, but the technology to collect resources in space might still be valuable for future space exploration.
- The House has passed a bill containing rules for space mining rights — allowing private companies to actually own whatever they manage to mine on any asteroids they find. The Space Act appears to only cover resources from asteroids, so private companies can’t claim ownership of moons, planets or planetoids or… anything else yet. [url]
- Another asteroid mining company has ambitious plans to release a fleet of cubesats to look for precious metals in asteroids in near-earth space. Even if this company succeeds in finding asteroids that contain more metal than others, it could end up being a very expensive way to get nickel and iron back to earth. [url]
- Planetary Resources Inc might not be so optimistic about extracting platinum from mining asteroids — as the company pivots to collecting water from space objects to serve as a re-fueling station to help extend the lifespans of aging satellites already in orbit. However, it’s not clear if the owners of existing satellites would ever want to pay for such a risky service. [url]
After you’ve finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.