OUR MOVE TO SPACEMany people believe the next big gold rush is not on earth but on asteroids. Everyone is racing to claim it from Google co-founder Larry Page to Amazon Jeff Bezos. Asteroids are potato-shaped boulders hurtling through the solar system at sixty thousand miles per hour. They are rich in water, iron, and metals that can be used for building space structures, fueling passing spaceships and simply blinding out your suit with platinum trim. Chris Lewicki is the CEO of Planetary Resources, which is an American company that was formerly named Arkyd Astronautics that was formed on January 1, 2009, and then later in 2012 it was reorganized and renamed to Planetary Resources.
Its goal is to expand Earth’s natural resource base by developing and deploying the technologies for asteroid mining. Lewicki wants to transport a remote-controlled robot three hundred million miles away and gets it to do to science on space. Lewicki is aware that it’s going to extremely hard to send a robot into space but he believes it can be done. Planetary Resources hopes to be mining asteroids within fifteen years and wants to learn and profit through every step of the way.They hope to create a constellation of small satellites that are a little bit bigger than a “family size cereal box” and will eventually be used to look for the right kind of asteroids to mine. To begin they need their sensors to be trained on earth, where they can process infrared and hyperspectral data that can be beamed to whoever wants it. Think of a personalized constantly updated Google Earth. Lewicki says ‘We set out to put a man on the moon but in the process, we created so many valuable things.
” Such as Land managers can spot forest fires, oil companies could inspect pipelines and discover leaks and even get them to check up on your grow operation while you’re on vacation. In 2013 Planetary Resources bought Asteroid.com which is a ranking database for asteroids.Dr. John Lewis was an early advocate who wrote the book on asteroid mining. Lewis argued that life support systems and whole cities could be built in space. He states that “Mars and Jupiter have enough resources to suppose several tens of quadrillions of people.
” Lewis was trying to aim the book towards teenagers who have open minds and have not settled on a groove.One of Lewis former student was Chris Lewicki at the University of Arizona. Lewis then was courted by Lewicki to get him to work at Planetary resources but negotiations failed. Lewis said they would pay him a small amount of money, use his name and would please shut up and not bother them about details. He is now chief of science at Deep Space Industries.
Planetary resources state that they do respect Dr. Lewis and his body of work. NASA is not interested in making money but they are interested in exploring the galaxy and expand their knowledge.Elon Musk is the CEO of NewSpace a rocket company. He had laid the foundation of NewSpace with SpaceX, his rocket company. NASA agreement with SpaceX for them to give cargo resupply missions to International Space Station and the company has an estimate of fifteen billion dollars. In 2016 Musk announced that he wanted to send a million people to Mars to establish a self-sustaining city. He stated that he doesn’t have an immediate doomsday prophecy and noted that history suggests there will be soon doomsday event.
The annual worldwide revenue of NewSpace ventures betweenfive billion dollars and ten billion dollars. next ten year. Musk believes that there will be ten thousand NewSpace companies created within the next ten years. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and the owner of the Washington Post has similar plans. For NewSpace visions to become reality, asteroid mining has to be a success. It’s the only way of physically and economically sustaining any prolonged exploration or occupation of space. The cost of carrying fuel, water, and building materials into space from earth would cost about $5,000 a pound on SpaceX rocket.
Once the asteroids are mined, they could be turned into the equivalent of gas stations and lumber yards for outbound spacecraft.An international treaty signed at the height of the Space Race prohibits nations from claiming ownership of “celestial bodies” but made no mention of private corporations. A bill name U.
S Space Act of 2015 makes it lawful for any American citizen to keep whatever they dug out of an asteroid. For the first time in history, a government was officially allowing its citizens to steal good from the heavens. An early version contained language drafted by asteroid miners, who lobbied heavily for the final bill, suggesting that a company could call dibs on an asteroid just by showing “reasonable” activity. This means that a company with satellites like the ones Planetary Resources is developing could point them at any asteroid they like and claim legal rights to it. This language was eventually removed and Planetary Resources strongly denies that this is what it plans to do. However, some space lawyers are working out loopholes to argue that if an asteroid is small enough to be moved by spacecraft as NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission is set to do it should no longer be classed a celestial body and therefore could be appropriated in its entirety.
However, these visions have been exactly that: visions. After a CubeSat was destroyed in launch explosion, Planetary Resources has put one test cubesat into earth’s orbit. There has been nothing close to a private asteroid landing yet but there has been a lot of hype. Jim Logan, a twenty-two-year NASA veteran and co-founder of the Space Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit analyst firm, warns against space cadets in the industry who look too far ahead. “It’s not that they’re hyping the possibility,” he says. “They’re guilty of simplifying the of the solutions. No one wants to be liked by the New York Times, which published a 1920 editorial stating that it was a physical impossibility for a rocket to function in space. But has any business in the history of the world started with such faraway objectives? Everyone involved believes so passionately in what hasn’t happened yet that it can drive you a little crazy.
Finding a doubter in the NewSpace community is like trying to find a tell on a poker pro’s face. Admittedly they do have some reason for optimism, largely thanks to the efforts of those working in Old Space. NASA landed the near Shoemaker probe on an asteroid, in 2001 while the Japanese space agency managed to bring less than a milligram of asteroid material back to earth in 2010 aboard the Hayabusa. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta landed in 2014 on a comet an icy variation on an asteroid but it bounced on the surface, fell into a fissure, and failed to do any drilling. Late last year NASA launched a spacecraft named after the Egyptian god of the dead -Osiris-Rex to visit an asteroid and return up to two kilograms of material to earth by 2023. An even more ambitious billion-dollar proposal is its aforementioned Asteroid Redirect Mission, which seeks to grab a multi-ton boulder off an asteroid and place it in orbit around the moon.
However, funding is proving more elusive for that one. Of course, these missions were all bankrolled by governments but this has not stopped the asteroids miners from attracting capital from some unusual quarters. The only country in the world that has the letter X in it beside Mexico is Luxembourg. Luxembourg is a landlocked silver of Europe slightly smaller than Rhode Island that has a reputation of being the most boring country. Luxembourg announced that it has a major investor for asteroid mining.
The man behind this unexpected bid for intergalactic glory is Étienne Schneider, the deputy prime minister of Luxembourg as well as its minister of the economy, minister of internal security, and minister of defense. (Like I said: It’s a small country.) Sitting in his office aerie atop an unprepossessing block in Luxembourg City, Schneider explains the decision with all the flair you would expect of a Mitteleuropean bureaucrat.
Originally one of Europe’s largest providers of steel, Luxembourg rebranded itself as a financial hub when the mining economy collapsed in the 1970s. “At the time, people thought a financial center in Luxembourg makes no sense,” Schneider says. “But we did it, and now we’re quite successful.” This is an understatement: Luxembourg has the highest per capita GDP in the world.
(The U.âeuroper thousandS. is eighth.)Etienne Schneider is the deputy prime minister of Luxembourg and is also a minister of the economy, minister of internal security and minister of defense. Luxembourg is a landlocked silver of Europe slightly smaller than Rhode Island and it has a well-earned reputation for being the most boring country in the world. Schneider has no interest in space but believes that asteroid mining will attract other NewSpacce to Luxembourg and eventually become a sit industry in its own way.
Scheider forthright that for the time being his investment serves another purpose. For Schneider, asteroid mining is a terrific networking opportunity. He gets on a flight to Luxembourg and got to the Jurby transport Museum, tucked out of the view between a Leyland double-decker bus and an old Velocette racing bike is a pristine cone-shaped space capsule in racing green, festooned with the flag of the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and the Isle g of Man. This capsule and a giant module from a Soviet space station sits under a tarp at the other end of the island are the property of a man named Art Dula. Dula is larger than life character in annals of NewSpace. Dula wants to leverage his contacts in the Russian space programs to set up asteroid mining and space tourism businesses.
Dula planned to buy two massive spare Soviet Space station, modules and four reusable space capsules. He hoped to fly wealthy earthlings around the moon and to use these Russian cast-off to launch the first private commercial prospecting missions to an asteroid. It was a promising time to be seeking financial backers. Thanks to Ansari X Prize competition, space tourism was on the world’s front pages. It awarded Space Ship One ten million dollars for building the first privately developed reusable manned spacecraft and the 2008 financial crisis was still a few years off.A wealthy Japanese Internet entrepreneur, Takafumi Horie agreed to buy 75% of Excalibur Almaz for $49 million. When Dula was on a cruise ship he found a minority investor.
When the spacecraft was shipped to the Isle of Man and Dula’s plans announced. The island was besieged by the press and soon ranked by Flight Ascend, a space industry analyst as the fourth most likely nation to land on the moon. Unfortunately, things went wrong immediately and Dula blames the grounding of the Space shuttle in 2011 for destroying his business model.For any New Space missions to become reality, asteroid mining has to be a success. The practitioners have to believe that the asteroids are one rich and reachable and that they can be mined cost-effectively and no legal obstructions crop up before they blast off. They also have to believe in Bezos and Musk. Traveling to space can be done but with enough time, money and some who is willing to subject astronauts to risks like radiation during the long journey. The plan to send humans to Mars is not new.
The president Obama laid out the same goal during a speech at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2010. In the president’s speech, he quotes John Noble Wilford who is the New York Times reporter who covered the Apollo moon landing in the 1960s and 1970s. Mars tugs at the imagination ‘with a force mightier than gravity.” Mr. Wilford wrote.The mastermind of Apollo, Wernher von Braun had sketched out plans for sending humans into space too.
People back then thought that the move from the moon to Mars would take a decade or two. However, President Richard Nixon pared back NASA’s grand ambitions, leaving just the space shuttle. When the Apollo 17 crew returned home after a 12 day trip to the moon, astronauts have not dared to travel beyond low Earth orbit since 1972. President George Bush announced in 1989 to send astronauts back to the moon and then to Mars, on the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
When NASA came up with a plan that was going to cost half a trillion dollars, the planning initiative faded. The main challenge is political and financial. NASA could have finished the task to send humans back to the moon and mars if Congress was to provide steady funding for the next twenty years. Changes in presidential administrations have led to re-examination and changes in NASA’s marching orders. NASA’s budget today is steady and comparatively small, The $19.3 billion for the space agency this year amounts to about 0.
5 percent of federal spending. NASA operating the International Space Station cost three to four billion dollars but they plan to ditch the station in 2024 to free up money so they can use it to build other next twenty pieces of human Mars mission.NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory offer a proposal on how they can get to Mars in 2030 with the budget they have now but it would not be enough money for the astronauts to land on Mars. Lockheed Martin engineers offered a proposal this year to send a spacecraft into orbit around Mars by 2028. NASA officials are not yet convinced.
William H. Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said at the International Astronautical Congress meeting; that he expected NASA astronauts in orbit around Mars in the 2030s but a landing will not occur until the 2040’s.I think sending a robot into space is a good idea because it can hopefully pick out the right asteroids to mine. The benefits of these little “cereal box sized” go well beyond their intended purposes in space. They have the ability to help our everyday lives. They can help avoid and prevent disasters before they impact our lives.
Some of the opportunities that these potential and quite literal “gold mines” that may be present on these asteroids can be worth the risk. According to Asterank.com, some asteroids “are thought to be worth more than one hundred trillion dollars.” That is the potential value of just one of these big pieces of rock that are floating through space. Asterank.
com has estimated that “the potential value of more than six hundred thousand of them.” Now not every one of these asteroids will be as much as one hundred trillion dollars, but a few that have that kind valve can fund space exploration to new worlds and help our economy here on Earth.These asteroids that are being targeted are full of “water, iron, and precious metal planning These are resources that were depleted from our planet faster than we can find them. Soon, all the freshwater will be gone. Water can soon be worth its weight in gold.
So the necessity for these resources to be replenished is vital to human survival. Iron and other metals will assist our building efforts for spaceships, building cities, and potentially help colonize other worlds.The concept of turning these asteroids into a profitable business venture is a new, and quite the tall task. The idea of taking giant rocks, “hurtling through our solar system at sixty thousand miles per hour is, according to scientists, rich in water, iron, and precious metals” is hard to fathom. The potential pay off that could result from it though has investors and even small countries putting large amounts of money and putting a lot of resources toward these expeditions.
These visionaries can see how to import this is to live and even survival down the road.