Space miners race to an asteroid worth quintillions

Could 16 Psyche make every person on Earth a billionaire? The space mining race is heating up.

Maxar/ASU/P. Rubin/NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • 16 Psyche is an asteroid full of metal in the asteroid belt that could be worth $700 quintillion.
  • NASA plans to visit 16 Psyche by 2026.
  • Commercial mining of faraway asteroids could still be decades away and some set closer targets, like the moon.
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Blood diamonds, stolen cars, sweatshops: Blockchain stops all that

The technology is poised to change how many companies operate.

  • Blockchain technology, as a digital ledger for economic transactions, is poised to "radically" impact companies across the board.
  • It may help reinforce the trust in certain markets as sensors collect data throughout production.
  • Blockchain might also create a marketplace for whistleblowing.

One-third of all slavery is visible from space

Advances in satellite imagery are shining a light.

Boyd et al., 2018
  • Today, there are 40.3 million slaves on the planet, more than the number of people living in Canada.
  • Slavery can be hard to find, but it commonly occurs in several key industries like fishing and mining.
  • Using satellite data, researchers and activists are using crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence to identify sites where slavery is taking place.
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Japan finds a huge cache of scarce rare-earth minerals

Japan looks to replace China as the primary source of critical metals

Rare-earth magnets (nikkytok/Shutterstock)
  • Enough rare earth minerals have been found off Japan to last centuries
  • Rare earths are important materials for green technology, as well as medicine and manufacturing
  • Where would we be without all of our rare-earth magnets?
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Drill, baby, Drill: What will we look for when we mine on Mars?

It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back

  • In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
  • Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
  • The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points
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