We want to provide abundant energy and resources that are carbon neutral and sustainable by mining near-earth asteroids.
Moving our economy to carbon-neutrality will require dramatic changes in how we produce and use energy, materials and food as well as in how we travel, work and live. Enabling that shift is heavily dependent on a small number of countries.
We need to break that paradigm.
Our roadmap (pick asteroid, build spacecraft, fly to asteroid, mine minerals, fly back) is seductive in its simplicity. Each of these steps individually has been done before and looks straightforward right until it hits the cold, hard vacuum reality of space.
Doing this at all will be a monumental achievement, but we have no real interest in doing this just once. Our goal is to kickstart a flywheel, where each mission builds upon and enables future missions so that we can do this a million times.
Instead of launching everything we need in space from earth, we want to leverage the retrievable resources from asteroids for the space economy and for earth's benefit. By avoiding the gravity wells of earth and the moon, extraction can be designed as a self-sustaining feedback loop.
Launch cost, into GEO orbit
Launch cost, into LEO orbit
Retrieval cost, asteroid regolith
We are going to mine near-earth asteroids to provide abundant, sustainable energy and resources for the space economy.
Our initial market is not platinum metals or rare earth minerals. We are starting with water, which is essential for space propulsion and drives the flywheel for reusability.
The volume and quality of observational data about asteroids has grown massively these last decades, further reinforcing both the information available about potential mission targets as well as providing hints about what may be found. The discovery of 1,000,000+ solar system objects comes from decades of telescope surveys. What we know so far only shows how much we have yet to learn and hints about what may yet be found represents the next frontier.
That last step has been advanced through the Hayabusa and Hayabusa2 missions run by JAXA, both of which also returned sample material back to earth. This will be expanded in the coming years with the NASA-run OSIRIS-REx mission, taking our total count of asteroids we visited to 3.
Only about 1,000,000,000 more to go!