Mining in Space Could Lead to Conflicts on Earth
Space mining is no longer science fiction. By the 2020s, Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries—for-profit space-mining companies cooperating with NASA—will be sending out swarms of tiny satellites to assess the composition of hurtling hunks of cosmic debris, identify the most lucrative ones, and harvest them. They’ve already developed prototype spacecraft to do the job.
Some people—like Massachusetts Institute of Technology planetary scientist Sara Seager, former NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver, and science writer Phil Plait—argue that, to continue advancing as a space-faring species, we need to embrace this commercial space mining industry, and perhaps even facilitate it, too. But should we?