Welcome to the first of my editorials that will advertise the space industry.
To clarify: I’m a direct advertising copywriter (i.e the advertisements I write are designed to make customers buyer immediately, on the spot). And space travel excites me most.
But I’m not a qualified financial adviser. Nothing I write is intended as investment advice. If I mention a company, its because they’re part of the interesting story I’m showing you.
Simply put – everything I write is my own opinion on what’s most interesting to me about the space industry, right now.
Could asteroid mining make you rich?
Imagine the Californian gold rush of the late 1840s / early 1850s.
A man discovers a gold deposit. He turns from pauper to rich man in an instant.
Over 100,000 people moved to California for the gold rush. And thousands more, in fact.
So its no surprise that the output of gold rose from $5 million in 1848…to $40 million in 1849…and $55 million in 1851. A ten-fold increase!
Today, huge multinational mining companies are worth billions. $15.7 billion in Barrick Gold’s case.
But this could be peanuts compared to asteroid mining.
Case in point: the asteroid known as 16 Psyche could be holding iron, nickel and other precious metals worth…
Nasa has already announced its plan to “visit” the asteroid four years’ earlier than planned in 2026.
Can you blame them?
I want in! When will I be rich?
Sooner than you realise.
You see, “While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower,” says a recent report on asteroid mining by Goldman Sachs.
Or in plain English: many people think this not possible to do. But the technology means it is more possible than they realise.
Now’s a good time to take a breather and ask ourselves:
Are you an idiot or are you sensible?
I don’t care if that’s offensive. Because what I mean is, if you’re one of the people who think this will never happen, then yes, you’re an idiot.
Look – it’s only sensible – and logical – that asteroid mining will happen.
Technology makes virtually everything possible, eventually.
If you don’t believe that, you should probably never read another of my editorials. Ever.
OK – I’m logical! I believe! But how do we make it come true…?
One word: robots.
Last year, NASA launched the Osiris REx spacecraft on a seven-year mission to an asteroid called Bennu.
It will map the asteroid for more than a year and then move in close to allow a robotic arm to extract several ounces of material to return to Earth for analysis.
NASA plans to launch a separate pair of robotic missions called Lucy and Psyche, within a decade. They’ll send the devices to explore asteroids near Mars and Jupiter.
And water is key.
We need to keep astronauts hydrated. They could spend years on these missions.
And more than that; water could be transformed into hydrogen, to be used as fuel for the rockets. Extending their mission lifespan.
To that end, space mining startup Planetary Resources has announced plans to launch an initial prospecting mission by 2020 – focused on water.
President and CEO Chris Lewicki thinks solar will power the tech that melts water trapped in asteroids… and then separates its elements like hydrogen. He expects this to happen in the middle of the 2020s, less than 10 years from now.
Deep Space Industries are another asteroid mining competitor who are betting water extraction is key to the success of space mining.
To key to wealth is ownership
And you’re going to get it, if you’re a US citizen.
As this Fast Company article says: “A 2015 federal law, designed to spur development of the U.S. space industry, makes clear that U.S. citizens have the right to what’s obtained from asteroids”.
No wonder Google’s co-founder Larry Page announced a $21.1 million round of funding in 2016 for Planetary Resources.
But Peter Stibrany, chief business developer and strategist at Deep Space Industries, reminds us:
“You’ve got to do this one step at a time. We need to do prospecting first, and then get to extraction and utilization after that.”
It’s like how we agreed it’s going to be: logical.
And wrapping things by returning to our first California gold rush example…
It was actually more common in the goldrush for people to become wealthy providing the miners with over-priced food, supplies and services.
So maybe you can get rich from the logical march towards asteroid mining by betting on the companies supplying these asteroid startups.
Who are those suppliers?
We’ll find out in a future editorial.
Thanks for reading.
PS, this was my first article, written quickly before going to bed. If it shows, I’m sorry.
But the point stands: asteroid mining will be incredible.