Nov 26, 18 / Sag 22, 02 15:20 UTC
General News: Nov 26 ¶
In a short visit to Athens, Greece, Jan Worner, ESA Director General started his speech by saying that it might come as a surprise to hear that 37% of Copernicus Earth Observation funding program stems from the ESA budget. Adding that this is why it makes sense to make our voices heard on the vital issue of the future of our partnership with the U.K., even in the case of no deal Brexit.
Worner outlined how the intention of the Organization should be on good terms with the U.K. space program regardless of the outcome of Brexit. Aside from Copernicus, this collaboration can be taken for granted because, as explained by J. Worner, the ESA is an international organization beyond the scope of any single European country and in this framework cooperation with the U.K. has been settled.
Nevertheless, the problem of the Copernicus project is far more puzzling, for one, the E.U. is the primary financial contributor at 63%, and for another even if an agreement is reached for the economic issues, there are still some land-based stations in the U.K. that complicate the matter further. It has already been decided that the data center which backs the operation of the program will be transferred to Bologna by 2020.
In other news, the head of Australia’s space agency, Megan Clark, stated that Australia is late to the space game.
Dr. Clark was perplexed as to why the continent has been one of the last developed countries to get a space agency since it’s at the perfect location in the southern hemisphere for peaking into the galaxy.
Thus, in 2017, Dr. Clark led an expert review board to ascertain Australia’s space abilities, and what they discovered was surprising. The size of the existing industry was much larger than previously thought. Moreover, Dr. Clark had never seen stakeholders so united in a cause: A large majority of players had been long awaiting a space agency to act as a single Australian gateway to attract investment, support, and guidance.
In an interview, Dr. Clark explained that this made her job easy since she was able to go to the government and say The country is united. Just move forward in this realm. She added there was no downside because not one stakeholder was opposed and it’s not a small group, it’s not a small voice. This is a whole nation who wants this.
Lastly, even though asteroid mining is a potentially lucrative business, for instance, a report by Goldman Sachs estimated the platinum found on one asteroid could be worth as much as $50 billion, they still need to figure out ways to overcome the technical obstacles of mining them. External observers stated that any company looking at drilling into space rocks had best get ready for a long wait.
George Sowers, a professor in the space resources program at the Colorado School of Mines, explained that there will be many bumps in the road to creating this entirely new field, so any startup company that had these grandiose ambitions has to be pragmatic about setting up a reliable revenue stream.
For example, an asteroid mining competitor company called Deep Space Industries (DSI), based in San Jose, has given up on their focus to mine asteroids until they can be much more sure that the cost of travelling to those asteroids won’t bankrupt the business.
What are the biggest challenges to overcome in order to mine asteroids? Do you think asteroid mining will benefit humanity on Earth? Why?
Let us know in the comments below!