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Asteroid Mining Missions Are Coming

November 8, 2023
x min read

Mining asteroids in space may sound like a fantasy. But there’s a startup who believes it’s about to become a reality.

What’s happening:

  • California based space startup Astroforge is preparing to launch their very first asteroid mining mission
  • Their rocket will be attached to a SpaceX rocket that is headed to the Moon and will then independently continue on to an asteroid Astroforge has identified as a potentially valuable target

Why it matters:

  • Many asteroids in the solar system are filled with metals that are critically important on Earth and are often found with very high concentrations
  • With the need for energy transition metals to increase in production in order to reach net zero emissions there is an added importance to validating if asteroid mining could play a part in securing new metal production

How it works:

  • On this initial mission, Astroforge won’t actually mine an asteroid but will rather use the cameras attached to their spacecraft to confirm if they geologic structures they believe are present are actually able to be confirmed
  • This will be the first mission that validates the mining potential of what is known as an ‘M-Asteroid’ which is believed to have a heavy concentration of metals

By the numbers:

  • Astroforge has raised $13M in venture funding since inception
  • It will take 9 months for the Astroforge’s rocket to reach the asteroid it intends to mine once it detaches from the SpaceX rocket that is set to land on the Moon
  • NASA has just recently launched a similar mission to confirm the geologic structures of another M-Asteroid but their spacecraft isn’t expected to reach the asteroid for another 5 years

The fine print:

  • Numerous space mining startups have attracted large amounts of venture funding and ultimately failed, including notable companies such as Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources who were once darlings of Silicon Valley

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