An asteroid, which is half the size of a football field and will fly past the Earth on Friday, contains metal and fuel worth up to $195 billion, says asteroid miner Deep Space Industries.
Asteroid DA14 will fly as close as 27,680 km to the earth, within the orbit of some satellites.
Scientists say the asteroid will not hit us.
Deep Space Industries estimates the asteroid is a valuable piece of rock:
According to DSI experts, if 2012 DA14 contains 5% recoverable water, that alone – in space as rocket fuel – might be worth as much as $65 billion. If 10% of its mass is easily recovered iron, nickel and other metals, that could be worth – in space as building material – an additional $130 billion.
If the advent of reusable launch vehicles causes future prices to fall to 20% of today’s levels, an asteroid the size of 2012 DA14 would still be worth $39 billion, and the cost of launching hardware to retrieve and process it would be much lower.
Deep Space Industries rolled out its plans for asteroid mining in January.
It plans to send a fleet of asteroid-prospecting spacecraft, called FireFlies, out into the solar system to hunt for resources. The company says that the FireFlies mass about 55 lbs. (25 kg) and will first be launched in 2015 on journeys of two to six months and will lay the groundwork for potential space mining operations in the 2020 time frame.