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Asteroid mining will produce the world’s first trillionaire, according to Goldman Sachs

Published Apr 23rd, 2018 4:18PM EDT
asteroid mining trillionaire
Image: Hubble Space Telescope / ESA

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There’s lots of ways to make money here on planet Earth, but the world’s first trillionaire is going to make their fortune in space. That’s the prediction of Goldman Sachs, who sees space mining as the next frontier in fortune building. According to the investment and banking company, technology is approaching a point where mining asteroids is nearing feasibility, and the first company that makes the leap will be rewarded with riches beyond its wildest dreams.

Mining for valuable materials here on Earth has plenty of legal hurdles attached to it, but lawmakers are already clearing the way for asteroid mining in the anticipation of it becoming a viable business. The EU already has a legal framework in place that will allow companies to claim materials from asteroids as their own, collecting whatever revenue they can once they haul it back to Earth.

“While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower,” a Goldman Sachs report explains. “Prospecting probes can likely be built for tens of millions of dollars each and Caltech has suggested an asteroid-grabbing spacecraft could cost $2.6 billion.”

As you’d imagine, the prospect of asteroid mining is being pursued by a number of private companies who hope to cash in. As RT notes, a pair of companies — Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources — are pushing forward with their plan to mine asteroids and are working with the government of Luxembourg to make it a reality. The country has helped to fund research into the technologies that would be needed to accomplish the goal of mining an asteroid, and received equity in the companies in return.

Luxembourg’s deputy prime minister Etienne Schneider is bullish on the prospect of private companies making it big in space mining. “Our goal is to put into place an overall framework for the exploration and commercial use of resources from ‘celestial bodies’ such as asteroids, or from the moon,” he said.

There’s obviously lots of interest from many parties, but no actual asteroid mining mission has yet been planned. The construction of a space mining vessel is no small feat, and there are still many technological hurdles to overcome before the world’s first asteroid-exploiting trillionaire is crowned.