An American space firm from California announced Tuesday their ambitious plans to mine asteroids in space located near Earth. Deep Space Industries, Inc. will send robotic spacecraft to asteroids to mine for precious metals and water. The company explains why their mission will be invaluable to humanity for the future of space exploration.
Deep Space held a conference yesterday from the Santa Monica Museum of Flying, explaining the ambitious project.
Deep Space will aim to send their first space fleet in 2015, and will search and harvest metals and other materials over the next decade. The 55-pound spacecraft will be called Fireflies. In 2016 Deep Space will launch Fireflies’ larger counterpart, Dragonflies, which operates at 70 pounds. To cut down on economic costs, Fireflies will travel to space via rockets that will be launched for other designated purposes. While in space, Fireflies will be designed to locate asteroids near Earth and then mine them for metals. DSI CEO David Gump said that reusing metals that may be found in such asteroids can build more efficient spacecraft to be used in the future"
"Using resources harvested in space is the only way to afford permanent space development. More than 900 new asteroids that pass near Earth are discovered every year…in this case, metals and fuel from asteroids can expand the in-space industries of this century. That is our strategy”
Deep Space officials are not the first space-mining enthusiasts. According to Space.com, Planetary Resources, Inc. announced in April similar plans to mine and extract precious metals from near-Earth asteroids. The Bellevue, Washington-based company boasts billionaire investor and Google CEO Larry Page. Could this be the start of a new kind of “space race”? It is certain that Deep Space needs generous investors in order to get their plans underway. There is a lot to be done before the Fireflies’ launch, but for now space supporters can admire the asteroid exploration that will come ahead.
"We're at an early stage," said Gump. "It'll probably be 2019 or 2020 before we'll have commercial quantities of propellant for sale."