Meet 16 Psyche, an asteroid cruising between Mars and Jupiter said to contain massive amounts of precious metals. Discovered in 1852, NASA is preparing to send a spacecraft by 2022 to reach the asteroid by 2026. This brings the ongoing space race to channel the focus to a stellar gold rush as miners hope to strike it big. With an estimate of $700 quintillion worth in metal, dividing 16 Psyche’s monetary value between every living person on Earth would equate to about $93 billion each.
At over 200 km (120 mi) in diameter and a far stretch in proximity from Earth to 16 Psyche, this is not an overnight feat. It is also not certain as to how a high influx of precious metals such as gold, might affect our economy. However, NASA’s Discovery Mission plans on exploring this celestial body further to potentially make space mining more accessible.
According to Veteran miner Scott Moore, CEO of the mining company EuroSun Mining, “The ‘Titans of Gold’ now control hundreds of the best-producing properties around the world, but the 4-5 million ounces of gold they bring to the market every year pales in comparison to the conquests available in space,” in a statement made to the Oil Price.
While crashing an economy is certainly something to consider, how else might space mining affect the greater good? Perhaps the use of these metals could prove worthy in powering certain equipment like phones, cars, etc… However, resources must be approached with reverence, respect, and responsibility.
It’s no secret we have continuously depleted our planet for resources over the centuries. Only in recent years have we implemented practices to preserve precious metals, oils, and other forms of energy.
As countries including the United States, China, Japan embark on the space race, we must tread carefully not to exploit extraterrestrial resources for materialistic needs. May we apply new approaches to not repeat the same mistakes we have made in our past as it is unforeseeable the long-lasting effects our actions may ripple in the ethers.
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