Want Faster Data and a Cleaner Planet? Start Mining Asteroids

Mining asteroids might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but there are companies and a few governments already working hard to make it real. 

Host and Director of the Hayden Planetarium, American Museum of Natural History Neil deGrasse Tyson from NovaScienceNOW 'Asteroid' speaks onstage during the 2006 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour for PBS. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty

Mining asteroids might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but there are companies and a few governments already working hard to make it real. This should not be surprising: compared with the breathtaking bridges that engineers build on Earth, asteroid-mining is a simple, small-scale operation requiring only modest technological advances. If anything is lacking, it is the imagination to see how plausible it has become. I am afraid only that it might not arrive soon enough to address the urgent resource challenges that the world is facing right now. 

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