AstroForge raises $13 million to mine platinum on asteroids | TechBuzz

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AstroForge wants to mine metals on near-Earth asteroids. Asteroids could be worth trillions of dollars.

La startup AstroForge, based in California, can now really start its ambitious project to mine near-Earth asteroids thanks to a major fundraising. Founded by Matt Gialich and Joe Acain in January 2022, the company has raised $13 million, which should help achieve the goal of harvesting platinum group metals from asteroids.

AstroForge wants to mine metals on near-Earth asteroids

“Platinum group metals are used everywhere – they reduce vehicle emissions, are used in chemotherapy, and every electronic device you have has some of these elements,” explained co-founder Matt Gialich. Together with Joe Acain, the two men, formerly of Virgin Orbit and SpaceX/NASA respectively, want AstroForge to be the first private asteroid mining company. The first demonstrations could even take place in January 2023.

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AstroForge communicates little about the details of its project, but according to TechCrunch, its founders have developed a mining technique for asteroids measuring between 20 and 1,500 meters in diameter. Rather than landing probes on the surface, the company would erupt asteroids remotely to then collect debris and recover materials. Its January 2023 demonstration, if it takes place, would involve the launch of a “refinery charge” which would come to act as an asteroid in orbit. A flight on a SpaceX rocket has already been booked for this test, according to Space.com.

Asteroids could be worth trillions of dollars

Still, the return on investment of asteroid mining is not obvious. The cost of launching devices into space is still very high, while a steady influx of metals from space should see their value drop sharply. That being said, asteroids have enormous potential as a source of rare metals; some near-Earth asteroids could be worth trillions of dollars and, according to NASA, there are currently over a million identified asteroids in our solar system.

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Going to mine materials on asteroids may seem like pure science fiction, but current technologies seem to be able to allow it and AstroForge intends to be part of this emerging adventure. To be continued !

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