Asteroid Mining Basics:
Asteroid Mining has been the topic of many science fiction novels for decades, but now, it seems only a matter of time before this fiction becomes reality. The first company to successfully find a way to mine precious metals and minerals from asteroids and return them to Earth will be worth a lot of money. The technology to accomplish this is nascent, and companies exist today with the stated goal of accomplishing this mission. Like this one or this one. The technology needed to bring these materials back to Earth will rapidly advance the rest of our space program. While we may wait for an asteroid to pass by Earth, another option is going to the Asteroid Belt. Doing so would prove more difficult than getting to Mars and in the near term would certainly include an automated craft rather than a manned one.
What the Scientists are Saying:
In an interview with CNBC’s “On the Money,” Neil Degrasse Tyson, acclaimed astrophysicist, said, “an engineer comes out with a new patent to take you to a place, intellectually, physically, that has never been reached before, those become the engines of tomorrow’s economy.”
The innovations of NASA since its inception should be enough for us to see the impact of asteroid mining. In addition to better diapers and space blankets, here’s a list of 26 inventions we take for granted every day. Tyson later went on to say, “The first trillionaire there will ever be is the person who exploits the natural resources on asteroids.”
Why am I talking about asteroid mining? It happens to be one of the central points in my series, The Corsair Uprising. In the series, set 130 years in the future, a company known as Vesta Corporation was the first to mine the asteroid belt. They quickly reached $1 Trillion in valuation but subsequently became corrupt. They have undue influence over political offices and the Terran Military (a multi-planetary force that keeps the peace between Earth and the colonies of Mars). This is just the backdrop of my first novel, The Azure Key, but Vesta Corporation is something I see as ever-present. A force of nature.
Asteroid Mining could very well prove to be a net gain for Earth with new materials floating into our infrastructure and new technologies created to make it all possible. In my fictional world, great power comes from this which influences every subsequent event. As of this writing, books 1 and 2 in The Corsair Uprising are available and book 3 is due for release in Summer 2015.