Armageddon out of here: Hollywood fiction to become fact, with gold-mining planned for asteroids

The film Armageddon could be coming there are plans to mine on asteroids!

Asteroids: the next big mining industry?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

If it sounds like the script for a Hollywood movie, that's because it pretty much is.

A company is planning to send a team of miners into space, to drill into an asteroid – although unlike the 1998 hit film Armageddon, starring Bruce Willis and Benn Affleck, it's not a mission to save the planet, but to find gold and other precious metals.

"Mining asteroids is a very old idea, going right back to the 1920s and 1930s," astronomer Andy Lound told Julia Hartley-Brewer, about the plans of US company Deep Space Industries (DSI) to launch a craft called Prospector-1 to land on an asteroid and assess its suitably for mining. DSI have set a time limit of 2020 on their mission.  

"Asteroids are the remnants of the building blocks of the solar system," said Lound, who is the UK's national coordinator for the Planetary Society.

"It’s quite likely they are completely full of all sorts of exciting minerals and material that could be of use. 

"It could be quite feasible, and at some point commercially viable, to mine these asteroids.

"The value of material that's being extracted here would outweigh any of the costs that would be needed to do the extraction."

Listen to the full interview to find out how they could complete the mission