With the rise of asteroids in the media of late a new start-up from Deeep Space Industries plans to send “FireFly” spacecraft to explore near-earth asteroids to see if they can mine them for resources. Now read that sentence again and take it in. Firefly asteroid mining…… That’s right: Holy F*CKING AWESOME!
Well okay, awesome in theory. The actuality is a bit more practical, but still.
See with the discovery of space rocks like Apophis – larger and more dangerous than initially believed and skimming Earth by a mere 9.3 million miles – NASA’s potential plan to give the Moon its own moon by capturing an asteroid and putting it into it’s orbit and The European Space Agency sending a pair of craft into orbit to test asteroid deflection methods – we’re now forced to take asteroids a mite more seriously than we have been up until now.
The FireFly asteroid mining mission is scheduled for 2015 and the craft will be unmanned with the goal of initial exploration, with asteroids identified as possible candidates for mining slotted in for a follow-up visit from the FireFly’s heavy duty sibling – the DragonFly. The DragonFly crafts are hypothetically primed to bring samples back to Earth to be tested somewhere between 2016 and 2020, although currently this is all theory work. Deep Space Industries is a kick-starter and while their intentions are good, they ain’t got the capital to launch and are currently looking for sponsorship and bigger companies like Planetary Resources, another asteroid mining operation packing the support of the wealthy space loving elite such as: James Cameron, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt might beat them to the punch.
The potential however for off-world fuel and resources however is ripe and Deep Space industries claim to have a patent pending on a method of 3D printing with metal in zero gravity they call a “Microgravity Foundry.”
And now that I know this has the potential to happen I’m forced to root for the underdog while the Firefly theme tune plays on loop in my head. Screw you and your galactic Alliance James Cameron! Browncoat’s all the way baby!
asteroids, firefly, joss whedon