Beijing’s bid to mine space rocks could bring so much wealth back to Earth that it crashes the planet’s economy
CHINA plans to build a base on an asteroid and begin mining billions or even trillions of dollars worth of precious metals. Yesterday, a top scientist revealed plans to land an unmanned craft on a space rock, potentially putting Beijing’s asteroid miners in direct competition with American space prospectors.
The asteroid will then be mined or even used to piggyback probes into deep space. Ye Peijian, a deep-space exploration expert at the China Academy of Space Technology, told an “asteroid exploration forum” that 900 space rocks zoom past Earth every year.
Many of these priceless asteroids contain vast amounts of metals such as platinum, iridium or rhodium. “In the near future, we will study ways to send robots or astronauts to mine suitable asteroids and transport the resources back to Earth,” he said, according to China Daily.
“In the long term, we will consider using resources from asteroids to build facilities in space or to provide materials to support interstellar travel.” The asteroids could also be used on deep space missions and serve as “bases for interstellar exploration”.
The Chinese boffin suggested an unmanned probe could hitch a ride on the asteroid and then travel off into deep space, which would drastically cut down on the amount of fuel needed to power the probe.
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