Space mining is an idea that started at the turn of the century and 10 years ago, it was passionately discussed. Many argued that space exploration could revolutionize the commercial space economy by employing robots and private astronauts to explore and mine near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) for precious metals and even rare earth metals. Since then, though, there has been little noticeable progress. The idea has crossed the line again this weekend in a public talk called NEA – 4660 Nereus. Scientists believe that the egg-shaped asteroid 330 meters in diameter contains approximately $ 5 billion (approximately Rs 3.78 trillion) of precious metals.
Nerias never came close to Earth dangerously. At its closest, it was 3.9 million kilometers away – about 10 times the distance between Earth and the Moon. Scientists say it will cross Earth again in 39 years from now – and at that time it may be possible to launch a “space digger” to see how we can use those precious metal deposits on the asteroid.
According to a report by Asterrank, which has a scientific and economic database of more than 6 million asteroids, Nereus consists of, 4.71 billion (approximately 3.56 trillion rupees) worth of iron, cobalt and nickel. However, further research after the recent flyby will shed more light on its features.
Frank Marchis, chief science officer at Unistellar, which makes digital telescopes, told Forbes that Narius would fly just 1.2 million kilometers from Earth in February 2060, when “astronauts” might try to land on it. “As a regular guest on our planet, Narius could play a key role in the future of space exploration, providing key resources,” Marchis said.
Another thing to note is how Nereus’s repetitive flywheels affect Earth’s security. The asteroid has been classified as “potentially dangerous.” Even in 2060, when the asteroid passes by the Earth, the distance between the Earth and the Moon will be five times. Objects that come close to Earth and cause considerable damage are classified as “potentially dangerous.” This indicates the danger that objects like Narius could be the cause of the future as they cross Earth’s orbit at some point.
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