Saturday, September 27, 2014

"The companies vying to turn asteroids into filling stations"

From the BBC:
A compilation image of mining equipment in space
Private companies want to mine asteroids for fuel, and build filling stations in space. A bill now in front of the US Congress would help by allowing them to own what they discover - but it might, if passed, meet stiff international opposition.

Chris Lewicki is trying to get water from a stone. A really big stone thousands of miles from Earth.
The president of space mining firm Planetary Resources used to oversee robotic Mars missions at Nasa, but today he's betting big on asteroids.

The chunks of matter hurtling through the cosmos are rich in valuable minerals, he says, but finding water could be like striking liquid gold.

"We can tell from telescopes that look out from mountaintops here on Earth that certain types of asteroids can be relatively abundant in water and water-bearing minerals," he says.

But why is water, which covers much of our planet, so valuable in space?

According to Lewicki, it currently costs nearly $2bn (£1.2bn) per year to launch enough water - six tons per person - to sustain the six astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

But, in addition to providing drinking water, H20 can also be converted into breathable air, and into fuel - liquid hydrogen and oxygen form the most efficient rocket fuel known to man....MUCH MORE
Promotional infographic from Planetary Resources
Rocket Men: A unique gathering of 13 companies showcases a coming year of launches
Here Comes Another Asteroid Mining, 3D Printing, Robotic, Start-up
Dec. 27, 2012
Asteroid Mining: "A Start-Up Sees a Gold Rush Among the Stars"

April 22, 2012
Feb 6, 2012
Oct. 21, 2011
We've been following these plans at a distance, so to speak.
And many more, including:
Branson to Accept Bitcoins for Space Travel
Is Murder Legal on the Moon? and Other Questions Posed by the Current Space Land Grab
The new market space: billionaire investors look beyond Earth
The Top 10 Private Spaceship Companies
Swiss Space Systems (S3) and Their Pudgy Bantam Spaceplane