An artist's impression of asteroid mining
Chief commander and designer of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, Ye Peijian, said that the east Asian country will mine asteroids for the likes of palladium and platinum.
Many asteroids are rich in the mineral platinum, which is growing more and more scarce here on Earth.
Platinum is extremely valuable and costs around $1million (£686,982) per one thousand cubic centimetres.
To put that into perspective, an asteroid passed Earth last year that had £3.7trillion worth of platinum.
"In the near future, we will study ways to send robots or astronauts to mine suitable asteroids"
Mr Peijian told China Daily: "In the near future, we will study ways to send robots or astronauts to mine suitable asteroids and transport the resources back to Earth.”
He added that asteroids can also be used a literal stepping stone for future space exploration.
Amazing facts about Asteroids
Tue, April 4, 2017
The first asteroid was Ceres, discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi in 1801. There are currently over 600,000 known asteroids in our solar system. Most asteroids are found orbiting in the Asteroid Belt, a series of rings located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
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There are Millions of Asteroids in the solar system, usually found in the Asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, however those in that pass the Earth are called Near-Earth objects
Mr Peijian explained: "In addition, some asteroids can be used as bases for interstellar exploration.
“We can land an unmanned probe on it, and the probe will travel with the asteroid to deep space.
“When it reaches a certain point, we will activate the probe, which will leave the asteroid to execute its scientific mission.
Many asteroids are rich in the mineral platinum
"This will tremendously reduce the amount of fuel a probe needs to carry and extend its life span as well as its flight range.”
China is not the only country that wants to mine asteroids.
A recent report from American finance firm Goldman Sachs outlines the global investment firm’s intention to send a probe to an asteroid.
The report read: “While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower.
“Prospecting probes can likely be built for tens of millions of dollars each and Caltech (University) has suggested an asteroid-grabbing spacecraft could cost $2.6 billion [£2.1 billion].
“Space mining could be more realistic than perceived.”