Asteroid mining, here we go!
Rosetta put the Philae Lander on a comet in November 2014.
We will remember April 2015 as a great moment that made space mining real.
While Broken Hill, Australia, is a long way from the rocket launching pad at Cape Canaveral, USA, there is now a mining connection.
Both of these “pads” are locations for pioneering mining efforts!
More than 800 men died on the job in the Broken Hill mining industry, pioneering terrestrial mining techniques, many still in use today all over the world in different mines and industries.
These men were the life source at the roots of the great mining giant BHP Billiton that helped build the city of Broken Hill and contributed to the wealth of the Australian nation.
Within recent days, an entrepreneurial company called Planetary Resources successfully launched a demo spacecraft. It's on the way to dock with the International Space Station and will later be released into orbit in space and will trial its technology and capabilities. See more on this here:
Two great pioneering giants - BHP and Planetary Resources - are connected with us in Broken Hill on the continuum of the evolution of mining history.
It doesn’t stop there.
NASA and mining equipment supplier Caterpillar Inc are also researching space mining.
They are investigating how to best extract resources from alien worlds like Mars, the moon and asteroids, to reduce the cost of space exploration.
Robotics, a great career direction for young people these days, is the type of technology enabling this progress.
The mining output may include water, trapped in soil and polar caps, which can be extracted and converted to water, oxygen and rocket fuel.
Rare earth elements like lithium may be targeted in mining on asteroids.
Outback Astronomy consumes this element to power laser pointers in sky shows.
Watch mining history unfold for real in the next few decades. Terrestrial mining still has a place perhaps, but for how long?
Gosh it would be nice to have an asteroid mining base or "pad" here in Broken Hill.
That would complete a stellar loop of achievement for this city.
Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Chris Meaney – artist’s impression of NASA craft planning to take a sample from an asteroid.