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The company wants to extract raw materials from a secret asteroid

The company wants to extract raw materials from a secret asteroid

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AstroForge wants to mine material from an asteroid this decade. He does not stay alone in space for long.

Frankfurt – Materials needed to produce products. Raw materials that are becoming increasingly scarce on Earth are needed, especially for electronic devices such as cars, smartphones, etc. The energy transition could cause raw material prices to rise permanently. But raw materials are not only available on Earth, but also in space. Scientists believe they can also be found on asteroids. AstroForge is trying to extract raw materials from space.

Although the idea sounds like science fiction to some, founder Matt Jealich is convinced that the project will soon become a reality. American radio quoted him as saying: “Extracting resources from space is the Holy Grail.” CNN. “I think we've finally reached a tipping point where we can deal with it.”

Raw materials from space: The company wants to extract materials from asteroids

To extract raw materials from asteroids, AstroForge sends small refineries into space. They have been tested under space-like conditions and are intended to extract valuable raw materials and bring them to Earth. The company's first mission began last April. He called it Brokkr-1 and sent two small refineries into space. Even if the first mission does not achieve the desired success, the company is optimistic because it has learned a lot. on him website The company records progress in asteroid mining.

The first asteroid is expected to be mined and returned this decade. (Avatar) © Mark Vitok OHB/dpa

This year, an AstroForge spacecraft will fly on a mission to the moon and head toward an asteroid that the company believes is metallic. Another American company wants to be the first to mine raw materials on the moon. The AstroForge system will then check the asteroid's composition and take images. Jialic did not want to reveal the asteroid that the mission would target. If the mission is successful, AstroForge will be the first commercially successful company of its kind.

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Resources from Asteroids: “It may be a little early, but we're not completely crazy.”

However, the company is not alone in this project. The Japanese space agency JAXA and NASA have already returned asteroid rocks to Earth, proving at least in part that it is possible. Some researchers also believe that extracting raw materials from asteroids is a potential development, although it is still in its infancy. CNN quoted Dan Britt, director of the Center for Lunar and Asteroid Science at the University of Central Florida, as saying: “The answer is that it may be a little early, but we are not completely crazy.”

A Chinese mission is also scheduled to collect samples from asteroids in 2025. The United Arab Emirates also plans to do the same in 2028. A NASA space probe is on its way to the metallic asteroid “Psyche” and is expected to reach it in 2029. The asteroid orbits between Mars and Jupiter. According to some estimates, the value of the iron found in the asteroid may be $10,000 quadrillion dollars, more than the value of the entire global economy.

Getting resources into space is ambitious: 'High-risk, high-reward venture'

But there are also skeptical voices among scientists, especially when it comes to funding. A criticism that Jialic also acknowledges. According to him, the question is not whether the project is feasible, but whether it makes financial sense. So far, the company has raised about $13 million in seed capital, most of which will go toward the second mission. “This is a high-risk, high-reward project,” says Jialic.

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If all goes well, AstroForge plans to recover about a ton of metal on each mission. The goal is to extract material from the asteroid and return it by the end of the decade. “Even if we don't succeed and fail as a company, I hope we move things forward a little bit,” he says. It remains to be seen if and when the first metal will be extracted from asteroids and used on Earth. (Kiba)