Space Mining Company to Launch Asteroid-Surveying Spacecraft
The Earth is now looking at a lucrative economic zone beyond the planet that is the near-Earth objects like asteroids. And in the next few years, space-mining companies might launch initial missions to survey asteroids.
Deep Space Industries, a private asteroid mining company announced that they plane to launch an asteroid-surveying spacecraft known as Propector-1 to search for resources beyond the Earth. But as early as 2017, Deep Space will launch preparatory test in the low-Earth orbit using Prospector-X.
The next step will be Prospector-1 and its maiden flight to an asteroid near Earth. The spacecraft is expected to touch down on the surface of the asteroid to see if it is an abundant source of minerals, according to Popular Science.
But Prospector-1 is not the actual spacecraft to perform the asteroid mining. It is an asteroid-surveying spacecraft that will observe the viability of the host asteroid. It will be run by water compelled by extremely hot vapor to create thrusts. The spacecraft is designed to use water, the first mineral that can be procured in an asteroid. Experts say that this technology will also help the future asteroid-mining machines to refuel using the available materials on the host asteroid.
If successful, the Deep Space mission will be the first commercial mining effort to be performed beyond the Earth's orbit. Reports say that Deep Space is looking at harvesting the resources from space.
"Deep Space Industries has worked diligently to get to this point, and now we can say with confidence that we have the right technology, the right team and the right plan to execute this historic mission," Rick Tumlinson, co-founder of Deep Space Industries said in an interview with News Week. "By learning to 'live off the land' in space, Deep Space Industries is ushering in a new era of unlimited economic expansion," Tumlinson added.
More commercial space companies are set to perform missions outside the Earth's orbit like Moon Express who was the first private space company to receive the permission to land on the moon; they are paving the wave for a new era of space explorations.