The value locked away inside asteroids is enough to raise the world economic ceiling to unbelievable heights. A bill recently passed by Congress — the Asteroid Act — borrows from Adam Smith’s famous dictum on how ownership is acquired: The apple becomes mine when I invest my labor in picking it.
Similarly, any company to successfully mine an asteroid can claim its resources as private property, and that has the potential to make a small number of individuals extremely wealthy. A mid-sized asteroid’s worth of platinum, for example, would eclipse the entire GDP of the UK by nearly a third.
Such a scenario is not unimaginable as there are more than 10,000 near-Earth asteroids that private space companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries are working to assess — for both their resources and their ability to be successfully mined.
X Prize founder and Big Think expert Peter Diamandis believes space excavation will create the first trillionaire (which my spellcheck doesn’t currently recognize as a word). But it’s not just the search for wealth that propels us toward asteroids:
Embedded in a cell phone or in accessories such as rings, bracelets or watches, the novel tools aim to make it easier to manage hypertension. But they must still pass several tests before hitting the clinic.