Asteroid mining, together with several associated ventures, are making huge technological strides to the extent that they could become a reality any time soon. In fact, NASA recently published a notice inviting private companies to extract minerals from the moon and sell them to the federal agency.
It is said that asteroids contain huge deposits of platinum, gold, iron ore and a host of other minerals. The magnitude of these resources is driving companies to look for practical ways to transport those resources back to earth once they are mined.
Planetary Resources and SpaceX have even indicated that they have cracked the code of landing reusable spaceships on other planets, and this means that a time is coming when traveling to outer space will be affordable.
Interestingly, this race to extracting minerals from outer space is having beneficial effects for the mining industry on earth, if the recent announcements by Planetary Resources are anything to go by.
The company plans to launch an imaging system which will be instrumental in locating mineral resources on earth. The infrared system codenamed Ceres, is designed to be an advanced tool to observe Planet Earth.
Planetary Resources has a spacecraft called Arkyd, and the Ceres system will leverage this spacecraft for the purpose of generating on-demand and affordable intelligence data about planetary resources.
Under normal circumstances, satellite images only avail pictorial data, but Ceres will exceed that capability and avail detailed data at higher spectral resolutions. For example, the system will measure the thermographic properties of different materials on earth, and it will also detect the composition of those materials. The system boasts of 40 color bands that allow for night imaging capabilities while upping the degree of accuracy of the data collected.
Ceres will be capable of identifying oil and gas deposits, as well as the deposits of other mineral resources. The system will also remotely monitor critical infrastructure, such as oil pipelines. Planetary Resources has agreed with SpaceX to use the latter’s Falcon 9 rocket to conduct Ceres tests in the near future.
When this technology is finally useable, the mining industry as we know it will be greatly transformed. For example, the current geological exploration process will be flipped on its head since Ceres will be in position to pinpoint, with a high degree of accuracy, the location of commercially viable mineral deposits. The system will also guide where excavation and drilling need to concentrate for the greatest economic benefits, and Ceres will also notify mining companies when deposits increasingly degrade to the extent that continued mining is no longer advised.
It would be interesting to hear what GoldHaven Resources Corp. (CSE: GOH) (OTCQB: ATUMF) has to say about what type of future the mining industry would have once systems like Ceres are readily accessible.
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