Luxembourg and Google's Larry Burke team up for asteroid mining mission.
It has been reported by the newspaper Luxembourger Wott that the Prime minister of Luxembourg, Etienne Schneider who is also the current minister of economy, stated that the Government was planning on taking mining to a whole new level by working on the asteroid mining project together with SES and two US companies. The two US companies that are accomplices to Luxembourg's mission are Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries.
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Asteroids appear to be ordinary lumps of rock but they happen to be packed with base metals like iron, cobalt and nickel as well as precious materials such as gold and platinum.
Astronomers can measure the amount of valuable materials offered by any given asteroid by the help of instruments called spectrometers that measure the intensity of light reflected by the object.
The ex-director general of the European Space Agency told the Financial Times that "I am convinced there is great scientific and economic potential in Luxembourg's vision"
Platinum is viewed as a precious material since it is hard to obtain on our planet, Earth. Some asteroids are estimated to be composed of as much as 1000 cubic centimeters of platinum which roughly estimates up to $1 million. Similarly the asteroid that passed by the earth on the 19th of July is estimated to contain platinum worth of $300 billion- $5.4 trillion.
Asteroid mining can prove to be a profitable business for private investors especially after the passing of the US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015, which liberates private investors to extract resources from asteroids and to make profit from trading these resources after bringing them back to the earth.
Although asteroid mining seems quite alluring, there happens to be strings attached. Despite the availability of required technology it is not entirely easy to bring the Luxembourg plan in to action since asteroid mining is an expensive procedure. According to an estimate it would cost NASA approximately $1 billion just to extract and then retrieve only 60 grams of asteroid minerals from the OSIRIS-Rex.
It is due to this reason that Luxembourg is seeking private investors to implement the Asteroid mining program.
Chairman of DSI Rick Tumlinson had the following to say about the Luxembourg program: "There are moments when the world changes. By joining the U.S., private citizens and companies who are moving outwards into space, Luxembourg is making this time in history one of those moments."
NASA stated that the minerals stored in asteroids could "be used in developing the space structures and in generating the rocket fuel that will be required to explore and colonize our solar system in the twenty-first century."