Scientists Trying to Mine Metal From Plants

Scientists Trying to Mine Metal From Plants

At first this might sound a bit strange, but bear with me.  Scientists in Australia are using plants to harvest metals like Nickel, Zinc, and Cobalt from the soil.  These plants are called ‘hyperaccumulators’ because they suck up relatively huge amounts of metal.  A single one of these plants can take 11 pounds of Nickel from the soil.  Imagine planting a ton of these plants at a spent Nickel mine and accumulating hundreds of extra tons of Nickel.  Each ton is currently worth around $20,000.

This kind of news story gives me a lot of hope for the future because scientists are finding new ways to do more with less.  Similarly, Elon Musk is about to try to land a rocket on a floating platform in the ocean.  If that works out, it will prove the viability of a truly reusable rocket, which will in turn drive down the cost of sending rockets to space and space exploration in general.  It is estimated that reusable rockets would cut the cost of space travel by 100 times. It’s a really exciting time to be alive.