Last week I wrote about the Rosetta probe, the Philae lander, Comet 67P and how they influenced the writing of Space Cowboys & Indians. The heroes of SC&I don’t mine a comet however, they are attempting to be the first to mine the asteroid Amun.
According to Mining The Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Comets and Planets by John S. Lewis, the asteroid Amun is a NEA (near-earth asteroid) only two kilometers in diameter, the size of a typical open-pit mine on Earth. What’s especially appealing about Amun is its makeup. Amun is projected to be made of a typical iron meteorite composition of iron and nickel with a mass market value of $8,000 billion. Another $6000 billion in cobalt and another $6000 billion in platinum-group metals. The total market value of that one small asteroid could be close to $20,000 billion.
It’s no wonder several companies are scampering to get there or to other NEAs first. Money like that could fund all sorts of space firsts: space tourism, space colonies, space recreation.
One of the very best articles I found on the subject is How Asteroid Mining Could Pay For Our First Space Colony. This one story really launched my plot. Pun intended.
All you need is startup money and willing souls to make the trek. Here are a few space pioneers to follow if you are interested:
— Planetary Resources (@PlanetaryRsrcs) May 6, 2015
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 21, 2015
— Moon Express (@MoonEx) May 31, 2015
Fun times today hosting a preview of what’s to come in the Spaceport America Experience! https://t.co/PujDViZ1Ej
— Spaceport America (@Spaceport_NM) April 9, 2015
Space Cowboys & Indians lands July 15.
Mining Engineer Cole Hudson signed up for NASA astronaut training, but after washing out short of getting his gold wings, he retreats to Alaska where he stakes out a gold claim. When billionaire entrepreneur Duncan Janson offers him an opportunity to join a mining team on an asteroid, Cole jumps at the chance.
But nothing is as it seems. Former NASA reject and rival classmate, Tessa Hernandez, is also a member of the team, and from the beginning of the mission test flight, things go wrong. They soon discover they’re not the only ones on the asteroid. As they try to escape, they are pulled through a wormhole and back to the early 1800s New Mexico desert where aliens and Apaches may be the least of their problems.