The Middle East has an outsize impact on energy here on Earth. One analyst thinks some regional powerhouses may leverage that role into the development of natural resources in space.
Countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are developing space programs and investing in nascent private space commodity initiatives, said Tom James, a partner at energy consultant Navitas Resources. Doing so could give them a foothold in building extraterrestrial reserves of water — a substance likely to fuel travel within space — and other resources that could be used for in-space manufacturing.
“Water is the new oil of space,” James said in Singapore. “Middle East investment in space is growing as it works to shift from an oil-based to a knowledge-based economy.”
Prospecting satellites can be built for tens of millions of U.S. dollars each and an asteroid-harvesting spacecraft could cost $2.6 billion, in line with mining operations on Earth, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts including Noah Poponak said in an April 4 research note. Most resources would be processed and used in space although it may be economic to ship some commodities, such as platinum, back to Earth, according to James and Goldman.
“Space mining is still a long way from commercial viability, but it has the potential to further ease access to space,” Poponak wrote. “Water and platinum group metals that are abundant on asteroids are highly disruptive from a technological and economic standpoint.”
For the rest of this article, click here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-23/space-the-final-frontier-seen-for-earth-s-crude-oil-giants