Could Asteroids Solve The Fuel Problem In Space? Planetary Resources Video

by Elizabeth Howell on June 11, 2014

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While we as a community love exploring space, we also recognize it can be expensive. Launch costs, manufacturing and keeping a mission going all take money, which is why NASA (for example) runs reviews every couple of years to figure out which ongoing missions are providing the best return.

Planetary Resources — one of the companies that wants to mine asteroids, and is searching for them with NASA — has produced a new video envisioning a solution to that problem: harvesting fuel from asteroids. Leaving the legal concerns aside, the company points out this could be a way of better opening up exploration of the solar system.

“In space one resource above all others is extraordinarily expensive and without cheap access to it, growth is limited…FUEL,” Planetary Resources wrote. “The catalyst for rapid expansion into every frontier in history has been access to cheap, local resources. And in space, access to rocket fuel is currently neither cheap, nor local.

“But on asteroids,” it continued, “abundant quantities of hydrogen and oxygen can be used to create rocket fuel, the same stuff used by the space shuttle. This allows companies like Vivisat fuel spacetugs that will be used to keep satellites in their Geostationary slots, or fuel up your spacecraft before zooming off to Mars. The possibilities are endless!”

Read more about their ideas here.

A screenshot from Planetary Resources' "The Trillion Dollar Market: Fuel in Space From Asteroids." Credit: Planetary Resources/YouTube (screenshot)

A screenshot from Planetary Resources’ “The Trillion Dollar Market: Fuel in Space From Asteroids.” Credit: Planetary Resources/YouTube (screenshot)

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

Jeffrey Boerst June 13, 2014 at 12:53 AM

I SO enjoy having a front row seat to history like this!! What a thrill to be alive at the dawning of this new age for our species!

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