Archive | Space Mining

[Mining Asteroids] OPINION: Relax: An asteroid will just miss hitting Earth. But our actions could still have a deep impact – by Michael Byers and Aaron Boley (Globe and Mail – March 19, 2019)

Michael Byers holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law. Aaron Boley holds the Canada Research Chair in Planetary Astronomy. Both are at the University of British Columbia, where they co-direct the Outer Space Institute.

On Wednesday evening, depending on where in Canada you are, you might be leaving school or work, having dinner, or already fast asleep in bed.

Meanwhile, an asteroid the size of a seven-storey building – designated 2019 EA2, to reflect the fact that it is the second asteroid to pass close to Earth this year, and spotted just two weeks ago through a telescope in Arizona – will buzz by the planet we call home. The good news? The 24-metre-wide asteroid will miss us by 300,000 kilometres.

The bad news: asteroids do hit the Earth. Most harmlessly break into pieces as they enter Earth’s atmosphere, but even a relatively small asteroid can damage property and injure people. In 2013, a 17-meter-wide asteroid sent 1,500 people to hospital in Chelyabinsk, Russia, most of them injured by flying glass from broken windows. Continue Reading →

[Space Mining] Maple moon rising: a gateway to better Canada-US relations? – by Christopher Sands and Sean Kelly (Policy Options – March 2019)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on February 28 that Canada would join the United States in its Lunar Gateway project, becoming the first international partner to officially sign on. The announcement came with a financial commitment of $2 billion over 24 years.

Then, on March 6, Minister for Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains launched a comprehensive new Canadian space policy. Titled Exploration, Imagination, Innovation: A New Space Policy for Canada, the strategy sets federal research funding priorities for space science in four areas: lunar science, artificial intelligence, robotics and health.

The goal is to highlight areas in which Canada has already developed deep expertise while accelerating cutting-edge research to ensure that Canada can continue to contribute as a partner of choice for the US and other countries engaged in space exploration. Continue Reading →

Russia wants to join Luxembourg in space mining – by Vladimir Soldatkin (Reuters U.S. – March 6, 2019)

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Russia, a leading producer of natural resources, plans to join Luxembourg in mining for minerals in outer space, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said on Wednesday.

Space mining has been the realm of science fiction, but a handful of firms and governments are pursuing the idea of making it a reality. The small Duchy of Luxembourg became the first country to adopt legal regulations relating to mining in space, including from asteroids.

“In January we offered Luxembourg a framework agreement on cooperation in the use of (mining) exploration in space. We expect an answer from Luxembourg,” said Golikova, part of a Russian delegation headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Continue Reading →

European Space Agency has sights set on mining the moon – by Mark R. Whittington (The Hill – February 1, 2019)

The European Space Agency has partnered with ArianeGroup to study a possible mission to the moon in 2025 to test the mining of lunar regolith, according to Popular Mechanics. Part-Time Scientists, a German group and former Google Lunar XPrize contestant, will also be involved in the study.

The goal is to place a lander on the lunar surface to mine and process regolith for useful materials such as water, oxygen, metals and an isotope called helium-3, which may prove useful for fueling future fusion reactors.

Regolith, according to Universe Today, is a dust-like material that covers the lunar surface and is the result of billions of years of meteor and comet impacts. Future lunar settlers could use the regolith to build habitats for a moon base, or as the Europeans call it, a Moon Village using 3D printers and robotic assemblers. Continue Reading →

Green New Deal will only happen if we go back to the moon – by Mark R. Whittington (The Hill – January 11, 2019)

You have to hand it to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez (D-N.Y.). For someone who was, just a year ago, a bartender, she has some ambitious plans now that she is a member of Congress.

Among Ocasio–Cortez’s projects is something called the Green New Deal. The plan would mandate that the United States transform its energy infrastructure from one based on fossil fuels to one based on renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. Thus, the problem of climate change will have been solved and the Earth would be saved. Big-pocketed people like Tom Steyer, an environmentalist billionaire donor, view the idea with favor.

Lots of reasons exist to dismiss the Green New Deal, it being a product born more of delusion than sound analysis. However, if the government were to embark upon making it a reality, the scheme might have an unintended side effect of supporting a return to the moon. Continue Reading →

[Deltion] Sudbury space mining developer signs deal with U.S. company – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – October 10, 2018)

A Sudbury-based space tech company and a Florida space transport company are joining forces for the future of off-Earth mining projects.

Deltion Innovations Ltd and Moon Express, Inc., announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding, Oct. 10, to collaborate on providing drilling equipment and transportation solutions for private companies and government agencies engaged in space exploration.

Deltion CEO Dale Boucher explained they had been working on this partnership for about two years. “We talked with them for quite some time to be able to provide a one-stop shop for lunar science and lunar mining activities,” he said in an interview with Northern Ontario Business. Continue Reading →

Wanted: Canadian moon rover, space mining technology – by Jim Bronskill (CBC News Technology – September 25, 2018)

With an eye on future lunar exploration, Canada’s space agency is calling on companies to present their ideas for everything from moon-rover power systems to innovative mineral prospecting techniques.

The Canadian Space Agency issued the tender this week for projects that will put Canada in position to contribute to future space missions involving human and robotic exploration of the moon.

The idea is to demonstrate technologies at agency headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Que., next year with possible follow-up testing in the Canary Islands in 2020. Canada is already quietly working with space agencies in Europe, Japan and the United States on the next phases of exploring the final frontier. Continue Reading →

Scots space firm’s mission to mine asteroids for platinum moves closer to lift-off – by Jane Cassidy (The National – July 30, 2018)

A SCOTTISH aerospace company has announced plans for the UK’s first space mining mission, with the aim of extracting and processing materials such as platinum from asteroids.

Asteroid Mining Corporation, (AMC) founded by Mitch Hunter-Scullion, is working alongside academic partners to develop the Asteroid Prospecting Satellite One (APS1) in an attempt to identify platinum group metals deposits on Near-Earth asteroids.

The company has received support from the publicly funded Business Gateway and plans to build the APS1, above, in Glasgow at a cost of £2.3 million, creating seven new jobs in the city’s thriving Space industry. Hunter-Scullion, pictured, and his team have calculated that a single metallic asteroid of 25 metres in diameter contains approximately 29 tonnes of platinum worth around £725m. Continue Reading →

Single ‘space rock’ could be worth $800 billion – by Ian Madsen (Troy Media/Sudbury Star – March 13, 2018)

While not literally pie in the sky, asteroid mining used to be science fiction. It’s getting closer to reality. Various private space companies have focused on launching satellites, with hazy side-bets on future colonization ventures. And now, technological advances make mining asteroids a legitimate prospect.

There are millions of asteroids in space, many orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. Those closer to Earth tend to be carbon- or silica-based, like Earth’s crust, with only a few containing more valuable minerals.

Some asteroids are iron-based, with other elements. Some scientists speculate that many asteroids contain lucratively high proportions of gold, platinum, rhodium, cobalt and even rarer metals. These are used in electronics, metal alloys, permanent magnets, batteries and electric motors (importantly, the motors of electric vehicles). Continue Reading →

SpaceX Stuns the World: Even without customers, the Falcon Heavy is a milestone in American spacefaring – by Editors (Bloomberg News – February 7, 2018)

“It seems surreal to me,” said Elon Musk, proprietor of SpaceX, and for once he was understating things.

On Tuesday, his company blasted a 230-foot rocket into orbit, returned its two side boosters to Earth for a flawlessly synchronized landing, and — with exquisite nerd flair — propelled Musk’s own Tesla Roadster toward deep space, where it’s expected to orbit the sun for hundreds of millions of years.

Surreal, yes. But it was also a triumph of private enterprise and a milestone in American spacefaring. Its true significance, in fact, may not be apparent for decades. Known as the Falcon Heavy, the new projectile has 27 engines generating 5 million pounds of thrust, making it the most powerful rocket ever built by a private company. Continue Reading →

Space mining is getting close to reality – by Rebecca Campbell ( – December 15, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – Space mining – the mining of bodies and other worlds in outer space for minerals and other natural resources – remains within the realm of science fiction. For now.

But, during the younger years of most of the world’s current senior mining executives, personal communication devices (cellphones) were science fiction, as were a whole plethora of compact electronic and domestic devices that are today widely available, affordable and, indeed, nearly ubiquitous.

It is very likely that, within the remaining life spans of those self-same senior mining executives, space mining will become a scientific, technological, engineering and financial fact. Continue Reading →

Interplanetary players: a who’s who of space mining – by Chloe Cornish (Financial Times – October 19, 2017)

Companies plotting to put robots into space need funding anchored here on Earth

Mineral extraction is going to be crucial for the survival of colonies on Mars or the moon, dreamt up and financed by the likes of entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

But such is the prohibitive fuel economy of space travel that it is unclear when, if ever, bringing resources such as iron and platinum back to Earth will be commercially viable.

Angel Abbud-Madrid, director of the Centre for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines, says it would make sense only when things on Earth “become economically not affordable”. “Now it’s a race to the funding,” says Meagan Crawford, who runs Brand Delta-V, a space marketing consultancy. Continue Reading →

Secret of gold finally found: precious metals are forged in cataclysmic collision of neutron stars – by Sarah Knapton (The Telegraph – October 16, 2017)

The secret of creating gold has fascinated alchemists for thousands of years, but now scientists have finally solved the mystery. Precious metals are forged in the cataclysmic collision of neutron stars and then flung out into the universe where they eventually aggregate with other stardust into larger bodies, like planets or comets.

Previously scientists had theorised that such cosmic smashes could create the vast amount of energy needed to create gold, platinum and silver, but for the first time, they have actually recorded it happening.

On August 17, astronomers in the US picked up a signal from two neutron stars crashing together 130 million years ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. Continue Reading →

Space mining in 10,9,8… – by Kate Smith (ECU Daily – October 2, 2017)

Space experts, academics and government officials attended the third Off-Earth Mining Forum at the University of New South Wales in Sydney last week. Head researchers on space mining from around the world gathered to discuss the future of mining and colonisation Off-Earth.

According to Associate Professor Serkan Saydam who is the Research Director at UNSW’s School of Mining Engineering, living in space is closer than we imagine.

“According to some commercial space mining companies this operation (mining) can happen in the next 10 years. This achievement will definitely trigger the colonisation on the Moon and Mars. Although estimating the time frame is directly dependent on the research conducted in the related areas, we can also say that colonisation on the Moon and Mars can happen in the next 50 years.” Continue Reading →

The trillion dollar outer space land grab: Experts warn of massive conflicts looming over space mining rights (Daily Mail/Reuters – August 21, 2017)

Can anyone claim the red planet or natural resources on asteroids? Business leaders and legal experts say the question has become more than philosophical as a growing number of firms, often backed by capital and technology from Silicon Valley, have set their sights on the resources of outer space asteroids and Mars.

In order to avoid conflicts between competing companies and countries over outer space resources, more work needs to be done on Earth to determine who owns commodities taken from celestial bodies, analysts said.

‘There is a huge debate on whether companies can simply travel to space and extract its resources,’ said Barry Kellman, a law professor who studies space governance at DePaul University in Chicago. ‘There is no way to answer the question until someone does it,’ Kellman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Continue Reading →