What Is Space Mining? Mining Exploration In Asteroids
After the Industrial Revolution, the need for metal-based mines began to increase much more than ever. Because, during the production phase, these metals were often used. But today, due to the increase in the world’s population, industrialization and the disadvantages of being a consumer society, these mines cannot adequately meet our needs. Is there a solution to that? Yeah, asteroid and space mining.
Earth’s resources are almost exhausted, and our old planet is on alert. Experts warn that many of the elements that are important in the next 50 years will no longer be found. For these reasons, many of the countries that have developed space studies have their eyes set on the sky.
Is space mining possible?
In short, yes, it is possible.
According to the “Outer Space Agreement” adopted in Washington in 1967 with the signatures of 104 different countries, in fact, no country or private institution could operate resources located in space. According to the Lunar Convention, adopted in 1979 and signed by different countries, the Natural Resources owned by the Moon and all celestial bodies were recognized as the common heritage of humanity.
However, with the various legal changes that followed, the way for space and asteroid mining was opened to use the resources of celestial bodies in space for the benefit of humanity. A law called The Space Act, enacted in America in 2015, gave American citizens the right to conduct commercial mining exploration in space and to mine mines if they find them.
Of course, this was not very welcome, as it did not comply with the terms of the” Outer Space agreement”. Private companies and NASA are said to have taken advantage of the law and started space exploration, or rather mining in space.
Apart from the legal evaluation of the issue, there is another very important factor to consider; vehicles and equipment.
A famous Turkish astrophysicist who worked at NASA, Dr. In a euronews interview on the subject, published in January 2020, hope Yildiz says that space mining is not yet very possible. Emphasizing that reusable rockets are outnumbered today, The Star also notes that there is no competitive environment for large-scale space mining studies.
The scientist, who thinks that most people living today cannot witness space mining, says that these ideas have been formed, but concrete steps are not very common at the moment.
In summary, space and asteroid mining are possible, but it is not expected to turn into a business line anytime soon.
What Mines Are In Space?
Asteroids contain most valuable and useful metals found on our planet. The main mines that we can count among these elements are:
As can be seen, we can also find valuable elements used by humans in various sectors in space. For this reason, space mining is seen as a very important development for humanity. Also, let us remind you again that these mines are extremely valuable.
Our resources on earth are becoming more limited every day. One thing we’re sure of is that these resources on our planet will run out one day. In addition, it takes hundreds or even thousands of years for these resources to form again. For this reason, the work to be done in the field of space mining is of great importance.
The issue of processing these mines in space is also extremely important. There are different alternatives for this. One of them is the establishment of mine processing plants directly into space. Thus, mines can be processed quickly.
In addition, the introduction of extracted raw elements to our planet is also in question. Under this option, mines can be processed on earth. Another proposal is to move the asteroid where the mines are located. The asteroid, which will be moved to Earth, The Moon or the International Space Station orbit, could become more favorable for mining.
How Will Space Mining Be Done?
There are some techniques for space or asteroid mining. These techniques can be applied for the extraction of different metals, metals or elements. One of them is the capture of elements with a high metal content by a magnet.
Another important technique requires some engineering work on the asteroid to be mined. A working area similar to mines on earth can be excavated on the asteroid surface and access to resources can be provided. In addition, mines and elements located on the surface can be removed with scoops or similar tools.
Scientists believe that due to the high heat, some asteroids can also be mined. Asteroids containing certain substances, such as minerals and water, are known to be conducive to mining with high-grade heat.
Apart from mining with traditional tools, there are also different methods. One of them is the Mond process. In short, the Mond process, which is a highly functional method of extracting nickel and iron, includes a number of chemical processes. Elements exposed to high pressures provide mineral formation. It also leaves some precious metals, such as platinum and gold, as remains.
In addition to all these methods, we also think that space mining with technology and robots will not be an exaggeration. Robots with high mobility are already being launched. It is also possible to encounter robots in every part of the production process. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that advanced robots will also take part in space mining.