Asteroid and moon mining might soon be a possibility. The U.S. Geological Survey has reportedly started evaluating space to mine valuable resource.
Mining In Space
The agency is responsible for mapping natural resources across the country and monitoring geological hazards, but it will soon also investigate the potential benefits of taking minerals, metals, and water from extraterrestrial sources.
Also, Space revealed that USGS experts took part at a roundtable discussion on space resources at the Colorado School of Mines in June.
"The space-resources community will benefit greatly from working together with the USGS to assess the location and value of minerals, energy and water on the moon, Mars, and asteroids," stated Angel Abbud-Madrid, director of the Center for Space Resources of Colorado School of Mines.
It comes months after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced plans to send humans to Mars by 2030. The space agency has also revealed plans to build a lunar space station to help humans return to the moon five decades after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had set foot on the surface of the natural satellite.
Thousands of asteroids are currently orbiting relatively close to Earth and scientists predict that each carries valuable minerals such as gold, copper, and platinum. Mining resources, especially water, might help future manned mission into deep space.
Experts are also looking into space mining to supply unlimited resources to the growing human population as natural sources on Earth continue to deplete.
Lawrence Meinert, scientist emeritus for the USGS, said that a combination of remote sensing and physical sampling is needed to assess resources in space to classify resources and predict potential utilization.
"This information can then be used to inform resource-assessment models that have been developed and successfully utilized on Earth," he explained. "Such model assessments will be foundational to guide policy and investment decisions concerning the emerging field of space resources."
As of this writing, the USGS does not have the budget for the large-scale assessment of space resources, but they expect to be directed and funded soon.
Commercial Mining In Space
Digital Trends reported that several companies have already expressed their desire to reach for the stars and mine them. In 2015, Alphabet's Larry Page launched Planetary Resources that is touted as the world's first asteroid mining organization.
Deep Space Industries has also started plans to develop technology to mine for extraterrestrial resources that will be used in space.