For the time being, the only problem is figuring out a way to catch it
Rumor has it that diamonds are a girl's best friends. Still, the news that an asteroid set to visit our planet in about two days is worth about $195 billion (approximately €145.3 billion) in metal and propellant might cause some girls to rethink their choice of rocks.As previously reported, 2012 DA14, as this asteroid is named, will make a record-setting flyby this coming February 15.
In fact, scientists warn that this space rock will come close enough to our planet to toy with our TV and satellite communication systems for a while.
By the looks of it, the asteroid is roughly the size of a football field and researchers working with Deep Space Industries, a company whose business agenda revolves around trying to mine such bits and pieces of space junk, are quite convinced that harvesting some of the materials it is made up of might not be such a bad idea.
Thus, they suspect that, should the 2012 DA14 asteroid contain about 5% recoverable water, that alone could be worth a whopping $65 billion (about €48.4 billion).
On the other hand, the iron, nickel and other metals this asteroid might contain could amount to an impressive $130 billion (roughly €96.8 billion).
“According to DSI experts, if 2012 DA14 contains 5% recoverable water, that alone – in space as rocket fuel – might be worth as much as $65 billion. If 10% of its mass is easily recovered iron, nickel and other metals, that could be worth – in space as building material – an additional $130 billion,” the company says.
Granted, these figures are nothing more and nothing less than estimates, seeing how neither the asteroid's composition, nor its size is all that well known to scientists.
Not to mention the fact that, because of its trajectory, trying to catch it might prove a rather tricky operation.
“The asteroid making an extremely close pass of Earth this week could be worth up to $195 billion in metals and propellant, if it were in a different orbit, Deep Space Industries (DSI) announced today.”
“Unfortunately, the path of asteroid 2012 DA14 is tilted relative to Earth, requiring too much energy to chase it down for mining,” reads one of the company's statements on the matter at hand.
Still, the company intends not to allow future similar opportunities to simply fly past them.
“While this week’s visitor isn’t going the right way for us to harvest it, there will be others that are, and we want to be ready when they arrive,” Deep Space Industries wished to emphasize.