Asteroid Mining Will Revolutionize Our Future Economy



this episode is supported by 23andme you ever spent a little too much time on the internet decide you really want to see what living on another planet might be like well I've got some bad news if you thought the San Francisco housing market was out of control you're not gonna believe what a town house goes for on Mars the components of your average one-story house weigh somewhere around 100 tons considering it cost a minimum of ten thousand dollars per pound to shoot something to space a Mars move would cost roughly two billion dollars but maybe the answer to cheap space construction is already out there the most practical way to build stuff in space is to do it with other stuff in space and until they open the first hardware store outside of Earth's gravity well our best bet is asteroids what is an asteroid billions of years ago Earth and the other planets began to condense dust became rocks and rocks became building blocks of planets most of these were knocked into deep space or aggregated to become our solar systems planets and moons but a few hundred million never got big enough asteroids are essentially little chunks of proto planet that never made it millions of these about four percent the mass of the moon altogether are trapped in a belt past Mars where Jupiter's gravity keeps them from condensing but thousands of asteroids cross Earth's orbit so why not catch one and mine it if that sounds like the plot of your thirty second favorite Bruce Willis movie you've got a point but mining asteroids could actually be in our future so why would we want to harvest tiny proto planets because they're full of interesting stuff when large planets like Earth form and cool all their heavy elements like metals move towards the core it's the destiny of their density but asteroids are so small and light they never quite form the layers and those rare heavy elements are more accessible harvesting the riches of asteroids might be essential for establishing future space settlements powering interplanetary travel and building things that are definitely not moons because why spend money to bring stuff from Earth if you're building materials are already up they're different types of asteroids hold different useful ingredients for off Earth's survival carbon-based asteroids contain complex organic molecules that may hold clues to life's origins and water which will need anywhere we want to keep that life going stony asteroids hold elements like silicon and magnesium while metal asteroids in addition to shiny expensive space bling like gold and platinum also have iron and nickel which are great for building stuff and who knows might even make good space coins of course mining an asteroid is a lot harder than it sounds getting there is the biggest challenge because blasting out of Earth's gravity pit requires so much energy and fuel but once you're up there asteroids low escape velocities make it easy to hop between them or even send stuff back to earth or Mars we could even mine our rocket fuel from asteroids to here on earth we use a lot of electronics and many of their components are made from rare earth elements which like the name says they're difficult to find on our planet either because we've mined all we could reach cheaply or they're trapped deeper in the earth where we can't get them easily as we race to always have the newest gadget our supply of these elements may run out in fifteen or twenty years but on asteroids those elements are abundant and easy to get to so space iPhones for everyone or galaxies get it galaxies the only likely way to make space mining profitable is to refine and build things in space there's at least 10 good prospecting targets near Earth but how do you land on a big lumpy space rock asteroids look solid but they're low mass and weak gravity mean they're actually more like floating a rubble heaps one bad hop could eject an object right off the surface and this is where the giant space nets come in in microgravity it would actually be possible to rap and snare an asteroid to land on it or even drag it around surveying asteroids for mining has one more bonus we'll know where all the big ones are and hopefully avoid any extinction level surprises it should come as no surprise that without laws humans tend to act kind of stupid with so much at stake we have to consider what to do if space pirates become a real thing or if asteroid wrangling technology falls into the wrong hands there's only one space law on the books the outer space treaty was signed in 1967 it's meant to prevent any nation from declaring land in space as their own though I seem to remember one country sticking a flag on the moon will definitely need a space Sheriff to keep things shiny this idea isn't too different from how the United States promoted westward expansion a government supports the drawing of maps and early exploration and good old capitalism builds transportation and establishes an economy around new resources but depending on your perspective westward expansion wasn't all that great it makes you wonder if we humans even have the right to permanently damaged land that isn't part of our own planet so sure the idea is a little out there but assuming it's legal and we don't bounce off into the vacuum of space and we figure out how to make fuel water and factories up there there's plenty of stuff in asteroids to build the space house of our dreams stay curious hey guys this video was inspired by a chapter a new book soonish by Kelly and Zack wheeler Smith you might know them from the webcomic Saturday morning breakfast cereal this book is all about emerging technologies that are either going to be awesome for humans or completely awful they look at both scenarios it's really great you should check it out I don't think any asteroids were harmed in the making of it thanks to 23andme for sponsoring this episode and supporting PBS Digital Studios the name 23andme comes from the fact that human DNA is organized into 23 pairs of chromosomes 23andme x' personal genetic service was created to help people understand the DNA they carry think about this your 23andme results may even help you grow closer to your family after learning more about the genetic connections you share imagine you're sitting your Thanksgiving table if you and your family have each done 23andme you can share and compare results debate what side of the family you inherited your Italian ancestry from or why some people think broccoli or Brussels sprouts tastes so gross this year I'm looking forward to comparing who has the most in the and earth all DNA on our holiday table now through turkey day 23andme has a special Thanksgiving family offer go to 23m e-comm slash ok to check it out and get kits for your family today make sure to use our URL and if you give it a try let us know what you find you




Comments
  1. Could mining space rocks be the secret ingredient to humans living off of Earth? You bet your asteroid!

    Let us know what you thought of this week's video, and you can always leave your ideas for future videos here in the comments, or on Twitter at @okaytobesmart 🤓

  2. standard mining equipment such as rock crushers, ball mills, and ore processing equipment will have to be redesigned in order to work in low gravity. mining equipment that is currently being used on earth will not work well in micro gravity, nor the low gravity of the lunar environment.

  3. Right before and after 4:53– wow way to downplay government's role, hype capitalism (workers were treated like sh*t!), and then almost completely ignore the genocide of Native Americans and the destruction of the environment- which should not be shown together as somehow equal, human genocide should not be considered equal to killing animals. Also, the video then ignores the Wild West chaos that reigned- tons of violence, lawlessness, and corruption.

  4. "billions of years" yeah mate theirs no hard evidence of that so shove it up ur ass,its called the THEORY of evolution"THEROY" science points to the earths age being roughly 6000 years old but not millions if weve been here for millions of years i think we would have more cool stuff like actual sifi spaceships,this isnt ment to be mean or anything im just stating the facts

  5. You posit that these ideas "damage" other planets and astroids… but damage is a subjective concept, and if there is no life there, it's hard for me to see how you can define it as damage

  6. I like the idea of expanding to outer space and using the asteroids as a resource, that is a cheaper and more efficient way to do so. However, catching an asteroid with a space net and bringing it down to Earth could cause potential problems. Certain people might believe we could use them in war. Other countries/individuals might get greedy and fight over the asteroids that could then cause the possibility of another world war. We could more likely get destroyed easily by an asteroid out in space than on Earth. The thought of asteroid mining sounds cool but the reality of it has a lot of situations and potential consequences that we do not have the answers or the resources yet to handle if they were to occur.

  7. If no other intelligent life has claimed it then I don't see any reason why we can't claim any space stuff in our solar system or Galaxy or Universe for that matter

    the only time that we shouldn't go hacking up space stuffs if there's life on it
    (and I'm talking about life that you can see with the naked eye)

  8. This sounds like "The Expanse" series! Earth, The Martians, The belters in the future minus the AI with a feud for power and space conquest…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *