everyone is looking to make a quick buck, whether it be a group of kids running a lemonade stand or multi-billion dollar company making new cutting-edge technology, everyone wants to be rich, to be among the ranks of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, and many many others is something that many can only dream of, in a world with over seven billion people it is getting harder and harder to come up with creative ways to earn money, however as crazy as it may sound the world’s first trillionaire is alive today! it could be Bill Gates, Elon Musk, or it could even be any random person walking down the street, and you would have no clue what’s whoever, within the next 20 years it is highly likely that we will be in the presence of the world’s first billionaire, but, how would one a math such an enormous wealth you may ask, simple: asteroid mining.
in an interview in late 2016 Neil deGrasse Tyson revealed the secrets to amassing an enormous wealth, “it is likely that the first trillionaire will be the person who exploits the mineral resources on asteroids” and the man is entirely correct asteroid mining may make the switch from science fiction to reality in the years to come, NASA tracks the location of thousands of asteroids and near-earth objects or any oohs, each and every single day, some of which being worth trillions of dollars according to NASA there are approximately 14 thousand near-earth objects that come relatively close to Earth, sometime during their orbit, many of these nearby asteroids contain the minerals and materials that hold value on earth, and their seemingly infinite amounts of them out there, for reference the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is estimated to be staying upwards of 2 million asteroids larger than one kilometer in diameter on top of millions of smaller ones, now for a quick disclaimer we’re going to ignore the fact that mining an absurd amount of resources from asteroids and hauling them back to earth is not only extremely expensive but would most likely the value is very precious materials we hold close, however it’s not completely unreasonable that you could pocket a huge profit from this, the first individuals to explore space for these resources by exploiting asteroids will be the first trillionaire of our time.
in July of 2015 an asteroid codenamed 2011UW158 whizzed past our planet at a distance of 2.4 million kilometers or about 6 times the distance between Earth and the moon it carried upwards of 90 million tons of platinum in its core amongst many other rare and precious materials scientists estimate that this one kilometer wide flat numbers asteroids worth upwards of 5.4 trillion US.dollars in today’s currency, for scale the value of this single asteroid is worth more than the top 10 companies in the entire world, the value of the company that made the device that you’re reading this article on right now is miniscule when compared to the 5.4 trillion dollar price tag on 2011UW158.
but an even larger opportunity presented itself in 2013, On February 15th 2013, a 30 meter wide asteroid named 2012DA14 made a flyby of Earth that was a little too close for comfort the asteroid came so close to Earth that it flew within the Ring of geostationary orbiting satellites as an altitude of only about 35,000 kilometers or 22,000 months, for reference the distance to the moon is only 384,000 kilometers meaning the 2012DA14 passed by our planet at a distance 1/11 of that to our closest cosmic neighbor, it shot past earth at a whopping speed of 7.8 kilometers per second or about 17,000 miles an hour which if it hit earth, would have caused massive damage, speaking of massive damage about 16 hours before 2012DA14 closest approach the earth, the Chelyabinsk meteor entered Earth’s atmosphere and crashed into the Russian city creating the spectacular sky show that many of you may recall not even though it was later confirmed that the asteroids hadn’t influenced each other in any way whatsoever, it is still crazy to think that two massive asteroids could have potentially hit Earth on the same day although 2012da14 size may not seem too spectacular at first, this 30 metre wide asteroid could be worth upwards of 20 trillion US dollars this single asteroid could single-handedly pay off the entire United States running national debt or it could send every single high school graduate in the United States to college for free for a 114 years however this is nowhere near the price tag of the most valuable asteroid ever found asteroid 1903LU is the seventh largest asteroid found a date, discovered in 1903 by the American astronomer Raymond Smith Duggan it Ovitz the Sun in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and is composed of nickel, iron, cobalt, water, nitrogen, and hydrogen, all of which are extremely resourceful to companies around the globe it is worth so much that I’m not even completely able to comprehend it, at 323 kilometers in diameter asteroid 1903 is worth of mine to borrowing $15.380,000,000,000,000,000 USD, let that sink in first like, do you realize how much you could do with 15 quintillion dollars, to put this massive amount of money in perspective consider this thought experiment a US. $1 bill is 16 centimeters or 0.16 meters long if you were to take 15.38 Quintillion dollar bills and lay them out end-to-end you would have a line of $1 bills 2.46×10^18 meters long, this 15 quintillion dollar line could stretch to Alpha Centauri the closest star system to our own Sun and back to earth 30 times!!! although 1903LU is worth this inconceivable amount of money this is exactly the most cost-effective asteroid the mine, asteroid 1999JU3 is perhaps one of our best chances at mining an asteroid in the near future, and one that is fairly easy to capitalize on, its unique orbit causes it to come within a few million comet of Earth every four or five years or so, this can be used to perhaps to take multiple trips to the asteroid over the course of 10, 20 or maybe even 30 years that’s needed to fully mine the asteroid for the maximal amount of materials to be returned to earth, although 1999ju3 is estimated to be only 83 billion US dollars it is one of the most cost-effective asteroids mine, what’s its location and it’s convenient orbit which could perhaps be our first baby steps into the industry at asteroid mining, this could pave the way for future explorers and entrepreneurs pushing humanity back into space and maybe even jump-starting a second space race which let’s be honest would be awesome.
in 2010 US president at the time Barack Obama announced that the project of a human mission to an asteroid became the new goal to achieve before 2025 to go ahead and during a press conference in 2010.
“early in the next decade a set of crewed flights will test and prove the systems required for exploration beyond low Earth orbit and by 2025 we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first-ever crewed missions beyond the moon into deep space, we’ll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history, by the mid 2030s I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to earth, and landing on Mars will follow and I expect to be around …”.