Astronomers identify 12 asteroids close enough for mining

Researchers from the Scottish University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow, have found 12 asteroids that could be easily blasted into accessible orbit and subsequently mined.

According to the MIT’s Technology Review, the team analyzed a list of 9,000 near-Earth celestial bodies relatively close to our planet in search of those that could follow into the so-called "Easily Retrievable Objects" category (EROs).

Geologists believe that asteroids hold iron ore, nickel and precious metals at much higher concentrations than those found on Earth.

In fact, an asteroid that flew by the earth earlier this year had an estimated value of $195 billion in metal and fuel.

Scientists have said asteroid mining is a necessity as many metals that underpin our modern economy are quickly being depleted.

Without any new technological advances, metals like zinc and gold are expected to run out in 100 years, they claim.

So far there are at least two asteroid mining companies —Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries —and the he US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) looking into the feasibility of the extraterrestrial endeavour.

Image from NASA's gallery