Mankind’s efforts to study and conquer the distant reaches of outer space may be fueled by minerals and elements hidden in asteroids, the Daily Star reports citing a study titled “Asteroid Mining: The Next Frontier in Space” by market research firm called ReportLinker.
According to the newspaper, the report’s authors postulate that there are over 9,000 of the so called near-Earth objects (NEOs) out there that could become targets of such mining efforts.
"Space exploration is vitally important for our future and offers a new reality by providing human beings with new resources in many aspects", the report states. "Space can help us solve the problems we face on Earth, such as resource and population pressures, shrinking energy supplies, environmental protection, scientific advances, new manufacturing and production processes, and space tourism and settlement".
The authors further argue that space mining "could help start the colonisation of planets where finding water would be imperative", noting that water can be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen – the former to be used as fuel, the latter to be used for breathing – not to mention that water can be used to help grow food and to serve as "a protective shield from the harsh rays from space such as ultraviolet, infrared, and others".
The document also suggests that asteroid mining can also be used to help ensure the safety of our planet by preventing space rocks from colliding with Earth.
The paper is apparently aimed at the people interested in "investment, acquisition or expansion into the market with specific, detailed information crucial to making educated decisions".