The New Space Race: A Trillionaire's Hustle

For those of you with access to the internet, it is readily apparent that the monetization of space is the single greatest pursuit of the tech. billionaire icons: Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Ser Richard Branson. Contrary to popular belief, Elon Musk's hustle is not Dogecoin, but being a pioneer in monetizing the industry of space.

The current landscape of the industry is a less than tight competition between the three of the aforementioned men to get astronauts to the Interstellar Space Station (ISS); the current champion of NASA is indubitably Musk's company, SpaceX. Their struggles of reusable rockets, to suborbital to orbital travel has tested this team for over a decade. But this is where our little flashback ends, and this post of mine truly begins!


A Trillionaire's Hustle

Great inventions often do not come without costs; expect time, money, friends, or even family to be sacrificed when trying to bring a new product/service to market. There is an abundance of creativity, but creativity partnered with courage will always be in scarce supply. Which is how we find ourselves with the true madness behind our ultra-wealthy space cowboys—Asteroid Mining.


Wait just one darn second! Before you go funneling your money into this sci-fi asteroid-chase-pursuit thingy, let me give you a very concerning reality check. Firstly, mining these asteroids will cost more time and energy than simply making a diamond pickaxe. In fact, disregarding costs of simply getting a functioning probe/rocket to execute such a mission (an incalculable number with my current levels of information), you are looking at quite a pretty penny: one water bottle weighing in at just over a pound would cost nearly $2500 based on current SpaceX rates.

As we know, water is already a priceless resource needed for any long term premier mission into the stars. Some estimates currently put the cost to finance such a mission (just accounting for water) at $7.7 million per passenger. After about half a decade, you'll have spent nearly hundreds of millions of dollars to say, "Hey, look at this dust we found on Mars!". Not even the Wolf of Wall St. could broker that deal. Additionally, lets consider that this $2500 fee was for a mere pound of water, so it does not take an shrewd human being to piece together the potential damage a company may feel in their wallet given that they try and transport hundreds of tons of precious metals through the blisteringly cold void of space. So, how or why on Earth would these billionaires be interested in this idea? Is it truly this difficult to make profitable? Well, yes and no. Yes, at these current price tags, even cultivation of a settlement on Mars would take eons to develop let alone a commercial asteroid mining business. But, perhaps their is a solution to both colonization and asteroid mining...perhaps, interestingly enough, it takes yet another long glance to the heavens above us.

No shortage of resource rich asteroids

The Economics

So here we are asking the big questions, "how are we going to pay for this?" Thankfully, smarter minds in the space of technology are already on their way to solving this classic business dilemma. It starts with, well, asteroid mining. There are three distinct types of asteroids:


Key Features
  • C type: These are the most common, making up for roughly 75% of all known asteroids—are also comprised of at least 22% water.

  • S type: Make for nearly 17% of all asteroids, and are made up of silicate materials and nickel-iron.

  • M type: Composed of mostly metallic elements, and are the most rare.

This may seem like useless information, but I simply can not understate how blessed we are as a species to have such favorable luck. C type asteroids being made up of 22% water, and being by far the most common object in space is mind boggling when we consider the potential possibilities of leveraging asteroid mining technology to supply NASA, Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, or any other space objective with the necessary water to endure a venture to the Moon, Mars, etc. The answer to the problem of asteroid mining was quite literally falling down to us from above...it clearly took us quite some time to get the hint. So, here are a few exiting ideas of application which better situates this revelation.


Gas Stations

To put it simple, take a lesson from Elon Musk: there must be as many stations to resupply as possible in order to maximize the distance of travel. Musk overcame this hurdle with his Tesla charging stations, and so too will humanity at some point in the hopeful near future. The most promising aspect of the gas station application is the ability to not only resupply probes with fuel, but to do maintenance, drop off precious metal payloads, or even have other smaller rockets arrive at these stations to do their own resupplying. This addition to the business model is a perfect example of a net positive.

Penetrative Pricing

As famed Astronomer Neil DeGrasse Tyson once said, "Commodities in space are worth differently than the are here on Earth." I can only assume that he looked at the cost of these rocket launches, which are only as expensive as they are due to the cost of fuel to get resources to the ISS. Now, lets consider that these extremely long durations spent by these astronauts in space require tons of water yet again. I hate to inform you that water along with other resources accounts for a fraction of the expenses NASA currently pays to transport these necessities to the ISS. If a probe mining C type asteroids could transport water to the ISS in, at the very least, a more cost efficient manner than currently provided...someone should expect a phat paycheck in the mail.

Supply Chain

Finally, the single most important aspect of this business model. As I mentioned in Gas Stations, the potential of a large number of stellar stations which house crews involved with retrieving materials from these probes and getting them back to Earth in, yet again, a cost efficient manner—you've now officially taken your business model from being profitable in space, to being profitable back land. There are celestial objects like Asteroid 16 Psyche which would be worth (Bloomberg reports) $700,000,000,000,000,000. This one object would be worth so much money, that it would be unpayable even if the world economy pooled all of its capital together. You're literally talking about a future where water, metals, etc. are no longer scarce due to one crazy guy with dreams on grandeur staring insatiable at space rocks.

Lets Go To Space

Think about how many one world civilizations exist, and all because we forgot how awesome it was to explore, and brave the storms of the unknown.



.

22 views4 comments

Recent Posts

See All