Bring up the subject of Near Earth Asteroids and everyone wants to talk about the one that’s inevitably going to strike the planet and kill us all. But what if I told you asteroids could be just as beneficial as they might be dangerous? The possibility of landing on and mining one of these flying space rocks is a hot topic for astronomical entrepreneurs and policymakers alike, and it’s the latest subject being tackled by the team at Slooh, as we witness the close approach of the $5 Trillion Asteroid, also known as asteroid 2011 UW158.
On Sunday, July 19th, at 3:00 PM PDT/6:00 PM EDT/22:00 UTC International Times: goo.gl/hI6moH, Slooh hosted a very special broadcast, with live views of this pricey rock from their telescopes in the Canary Islands, accompanied by a conversation about what makes it worthy of the largest display in the jewelry store.
Mining.com reported that scientists believe the half-kilometer-wide asteroid contains up to 90 million metric tons of platinum and other precious metals.
Host Eric Edelman, along with Slooh Astronomer Bob Berman, discussed the #TrillionDollarBaby and how asteroid close approaches and asteroid mining come together.
“It’s always fun when an asteroid whooshes past our world,” says Slooh Astronomer Bob Berman. “So the Slooh telescopes will be watching live when asteroid 2011 UW158 passes 30 times closer to us than the nearest planet, on July 19. What makes this unusual is the large amount of platinum believed to be lurking in the body of this space visitor. Can it be mined someday, perhaps not too far in the future?”
In 2014, Slooh Space Act Agreement with NASA to help identify and protect Earth from hazardous asteroids. The subject of asteroid mining offers a slightly different approach. With the success of the European Space Agency’s mission to comet 67P, and the advent of companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, the possibilities for expanding mankind’s reach into the universe have never seemed more endless. Perhaps the $5 Trillion Asteroid, or others like it, will be our next stop.
Slooh makes astronomy incredibly easy, engaging and affordable for anyone with a desire to see outer space for themselves. Since 2003 Slooh has connected telescopes to the Internet for access by the broader public. Slooh’s automated observatories develop celestial images in realtime for broadcast to the Internet.