Gold mining, coal mining, salt mining, etc. are common terms which a layman can understand, but the concept of ‘space mining’ is not in the knowledge of many people. It basically involves the extraction of iron and other raw materials from the asteroid belt and other minor planets. These raw materials mainly include hard rock metal and precious metals. It has a lot of advantages and disadvantages attached to it.
The asteroid belt is rich in assets. There are certain metals and other natural resources that are rare on earth, but not on the asteroids. These metals can be used in the production of many products. For example, electric vehicles, turbines, and many other types of electronics.
Extraction of raw materials from space could widen the resource bank within earth. Moreover, space mining opens up opportunities for space exploration. This eventually brings ideas for innovative creations beyond Earth like space colonies for humans. Moreover, it could relieve the environmental destruction currently caused by conventional mining industries on our planet.
On the flip side, it is believed that the process exploits all the resources mentioned above. For this reason, scientists do not consider the concept of space mining healthy at all. According to scientists, space mining is ruining the solar system and it needs to stop. Otherwise, it will force future generations to face an extreme crisis.
In addition to this, space mining has a huge potential for causing pollution. The preparation required for exploring outer space can be lethal for our planet. It requires the manufacturing of huge robots, machines and other mining-related equipment, as well as the rockets to launch these robots to outer space and bring them back too. This opens multiple doors for pollution which we already have enough on the planet.
Other than the environmental effects, the success of space mining can drastically affect the world’s economy. It may lead to huge job losses in the conventional mining industry. Obviously, who would consider mining on earth when they can find abundant resources in space? However, this could create jobs in the technology sector, but it may take time for people to adjust to the new changes.
Space mining seems to become easier with the advances in technology and research. Several companies have now started focusing on this version of mining. They are investing in technology and research to come up with workable ways to mine in space. However, things need to be done to consider the long term effect. Space mining does not seem like the best idea in the distant future. It can ruin the areas beyond Earth while trying to make survival easier on earth. Alternatively, it could turn out to be very beneficial for companies and the general public on Earth.