An artist's illustration of asteroid mining
Mega bank Goldman Sachs says that it hopes to mine asteroids for their trillions of pounds worth of 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.
Platinum costs around $1million (£686,982) per one thousand cubic centimetres
A report from Goldman Sachs which outlines its ambitions reads: “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].”
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
“Space mining could be more realistic than perceived.”
However, the firm warns that mining an asteroid could destroy the platinum market, dramatically plundering the value due to the sheer abundance.
Goldman Sachs says that it hopes to mine asteroids
It says: “According to a 2012 Reuters interview with Planetary Resources, a single asteroid the size of a football field could contain $25bn- $50bn worth of platinum.
"Successful asteroid mining would likely crater the global price of platinum, with a single 500-meter-wide asteroid containing nearly 175X the global output, according to MIT's Mission 2016.”
Mining asteroids could make platinum's value plummet
However, Goldman Sachs remains undeterred: "We expect that systems could be built for less than that given trends in the cost of manufacturing spacecraft and improvements in technology.
“Given the capex of mining operations on Earth, we think that financing a space mission is not outside the realm of possibility."