Earth-skimming DA14 asteroid contains $195 billion of minerals, if we can catch it

By Sebastian Anthony on February 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm

On Friday, asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass within 17,200 (27,700km) of Earth. DA14 is about 50 meters wide, and will be the closest ever fly-by of a celestial body that astronomers have known about in advance — at a distance of 17,200 miles, DA14 will actually travel inside the orbit of Earth’s geosynchronous satellites. If that wasn’t thrilling enough, though, celestial mining company Deep Space Industries is saying that the asteroid, if we were to harvest its resources, may contain nearly $200 billion of minerals and water.

Deep Space Industries (DSI) is a new company that recently announced that it plans to launch asteroid-prospecting FireFly spacecraft in 2015, and then larger, asteroid-mining DragonFly craft in 2016. DA14 doesn’t have the right orbit for DSI to chase down and harvest, but that isn’t really the point. With a diameter of 50 meters and a mass of 190,000 metric tons, DA14 is nothing more than an average-sized asteroid — and yet, if harvested, it would yield somewhere in the region of $65 billion of water, and $130 billion in minerals. The global metals and mining industry currently has a value of around $3 trillion — or 15 DA14-sized asteroids.

Read more: Earth-skimming DA14 asteroid contains $195 billion of minerals, if we can catch it | ExtremeTech.

Home           Top of page