Mining for minerals on other planets may once have been the stuff of science fiction but this potential US$1 trillion industry will be crucial if the dream of building cities in space is to become a reality.
This article by Neil Martin, writing for UNSW Newsroom, identifies the following points:
- Off-earth mining will likely be vital if humans are to colonise Mars or the Moon.
- Water is the most important material but another very useful material is regolith—loose deposits of dust and small rocks on the surface of planetary bodies. These could be used as a cement material to build shelters for people living there.
- Research has shown that asteroids are concentrated in terms of the minerals they have available. One 2km-wide asteroid which was analysed indicated it contained more nickel than was present on the whole of the earth.
- For more things you never knew about off-Earth mining, see full article (link below).
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Source: University of NSW (UNSW)