Asteroid worth $195B: Asteroid 2012 DA14 Earth flyby on February 15 is worth billions, space miners say

By on Feb 13, 2013 in Astronomy, Science, World Comments

A so-called asteroid worth $195B is now approaching our planet, and will be within 17,200 miles (27,000 kilometers) of Earth this Friday, February 15, 2013. The asteroid, known as the 2012 DA14 will not hit Earth, but a group of space miners said it could be worth nearly $200 billion.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 Earth flyby

Asteroid 2012 DA14 Earth flyby (Artist’s sketch)
Image Credit: NASA

As noted in a report at Space.com on Tuesday, February 12, asteroid 2012 DA14 was described as a space rock with 150-foot (45 meters) in diameter and has a mass estimated at about 143,000 tons, quoting a statement by NASA astronomer Don Yeomans in an earlier report at the New York Times.

And while asteroid 2012 DA14 is not really a threat to mankind despite being that close to Earth, space mining Deep Space Industries (DSI) revealed that the gigantic space rock has 5% recoverable water worth $65 billion and 10% of its mass with recoverable nickels and metals may be worth $130 billion.

“Getting these supplies to serve communications satellites and coming crewed missions to Mars from in-space sources like asteroids is key – if we are going to explore and settle space,” Rick Tumlinson, Chairman of DSI, was quoted at DeepSpaceIndustries.com in a report this Tuesday.

“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.” Tumlinson added, with DSI estimating 2012 DA14 to be sending fuel, water, and building materials into Earth’s high orbit that will cost at least $10 million per ton.

“Even with conservative estimates of the potential value of any given asteroid, if we begin to utilize them in space they are all the equivalent of a space oasis for refueling and resupply.” DSI CEO David Gump said, with space experts saying that the $195B-asteroid would still be worth $39 billion if future prices will fall up to 20%.

“Yet we know very little about most of them. That’s why Deep Space is starting off with a prospecting campaign using very affordable cubesat technologies and hitching cheap rides to space as secondary payloads on the launch of large communications satellites.” Gump added.

However, DSI emphasized that they will not chase 2012 DA14, noting that the the orbit of the expensive asteroid around the Sun is significantly inclined relative to that of the Earth around the Sun, which means reaching would need so much energy. Instead, they will choose other asteroids that are easier to reach.



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