Earth-Buzzing Asteroid May Be Worth Billions - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Earth-Buzzing Asteroid May Be Worth Billions

YAHOO.COM - The space rock set to give Earth a historically close shave this Friday (Feb. 15) may be worth nearly $200 billion, prospective asteroid miners say.

The 150-foot-wide (45 meters) asteroid 2012 DA14 — which will zoom within 17,200 miles (27,000 kilometers) of Earth on Friday, marking the closest approach by such a large space rock that astronomers have ever known about in advance — may harbor $65 billion of recoverable water and $130 billion in metals, say officials with celestial mining firm Deep Space Industries.

That's just a guess, they stressed, since 2012 DA14's composition is not well known and its size is an estimate based on the asteroid's brightness.

The company has no plans to go after 2012 DA14; the asteroid's orbit is highly tilted relative to Earth, making it too difficult to chase down. But the space rock's close flyby serves to illustrate the wealth of asteroid resources just waiting to be extracted and used, Deep Space officials said. [Deep Space Industries' Asteroid-Mining Vision in Photos]

"While this week's visitor isn't going the right way for us to harvest it, there will be others that are, and we want to be ready when they arrive," Deep Space chairman Rick Tumlinson said in a statement Tuesday (Feb. 12).

Deep Space Industries wants to use asteroid resources to help humanity expand its footprint out into the solar system. The company plans to convert space rock water into rocket fuel, which would be used to top up the tanks of off-Earth satellites and spaceships cheaply and efficiently.

Asteroidal metals such as iron and nickel, for their part, would form the basis of a space-based manufacturing industry that could build spaceships, human habitats and other structures off the planet.

The idea is to dramatically reduce the amount of material that needs to be launched from Earth, since it currently costs at least $10 million to send 1 ton of material to high-Earth orbit, officials said.

"Getting these supplies to serve communications satellites and coming crewed missions to Mars from in-space sources like asteroids is key if we are going to explore and settle space," Tumlinson said.

Deep Space Industries is just one of two asteroid-mining firms that have revealed their existence and intentions in the past 10 months. The other is Planetary Resources, which has financial backing from billionaires such as Google execs Larry Page and Eric Schmidt.

Deep Space aims to launch a phalanx of small, robotic prospecting probes called Fireflies in 2015. Sample-return missions to potential targets would occur shortly thereafter, with space mining operations possibly beginning around 2020.

Planetary Resources also hopes its activities open the solar system up for further and more efficient exploration. The company may launch its first low-cost prospecting space telescopes within the next year or so.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Missing Spokane woman found dead

    Missing Spokane woman found dead

    Tuesday, January 23 2018 6:01 PM EST2018-01-23 23:01:45 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane County Sheriff's Office says a Spokane woman missing since December was found dead.  Spokane County Sheriff's Office Deputies were called to an area in the 26300 block of Appleway Ave. for a report of a deceased person. The remains, which appeared to have been subjected to the elements for an extended amount of time, were identified as 58-year-old Donna Kemp.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane County Sheriff's Office says a Spokane woman missing since December was found dead.  Spokane County Sheriff's Office Deputies were called to an area in the 26300 block of Appleway Ave. for a report of a deceased person. The remains, which appeared to have been subjected to the elements for an extended amount of time, were identified as 58-year-old Donna Kemp.

    >>
  • Tsunami warning withdrawn for West Coast after 8.2 magnitude quake hits Alaska

    Tsunami warning withdrawn for West Coast after 8.2 magnitude quake hits Alaska

    Tuesday, January 23 2018 10:37 AM EST2018-01-23 15:37:25 GMT

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Latest on an Alaska earthquake that prompted a tsunami warning for coastal Alaska, Canada's British Columbia and the West Coast of the U.S. (all times local):   2:45 a.m.   Larry LeDoux, superintendent of the Kodiak Island Borough School District, says schools were open as shelters and estimated there were about 500 people at the high school.

    >>

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Latest on an Alaska earthquake that prompted a tsunami warning for coastal Alaska, Canada's British Columbia and the West Coast of the U.S. (all times local):   2:45 a.m.   Larry LeDoux, superintendent of the Kodiak Island Borough School District, says schools were open as shelters and estimated there were about 500 people at the high school.

    >>
  • Same-sex active-duty couple marries at West Point

    Same-sex active-duty couple marries at West Point

    Sunday, January 21 2018 3:25 PM EST2018-01-21 20:25:00 GMT

    WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) - Two Army captains who met at West Point have returned there to be married, in what is believed to be the first same-sex marriage of active-duty personnel at the storied New York military academy.    The New York Times reports Captains Daniel Hall and Vincent Franchino were married on Jan. 13. They're both Apache helicopter pilots stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

    >>

    WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) - Two Army captains who met at West Point have returned there to be married, in what is believed to be the first same-sex marriage of active-duty personnel at the storied New York military academy.    The New York Times reports Captains Daniel Hall and Vincent Franchino were married on Jan. 13. They're both Apache helicopter pilots stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Mad Minute stories from Monday, January 22nd

    Mad Minute stories from Monday, January 22nd

    Monday, January 22 2018 5:46 PM EST2018-01-22 22:46:47 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Monday, January 22nd.

    >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Monday, January 22nd.

    >>
  • Florida man arrested for DUI after mistaking bank drive-thru for Taco Bell

    Florida man arrested for DUI after mistaking bank drive-thru for Taco Bell

    Saturday, January 20 2018 1:40 AM EST2018-01-20 06:40:22 GMT

    TAMPA, Fla. - A Tampa, Florida man was arrested on Wednesday afternoon for DUI after deputies say he mistook a bank drive-thru for Taco Bell. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office told ABC Action News that the manager of a Bank of America called to report an impaired driver after he found an unconscious man behind the wheel of a blue sedan in the bank's drive-thru lane. The manager told deputies that after knocking on the car window for 

    >>

    TAMPA, Fla. - A Tampa, Florida man was arrested on Wednesday afternoon for DUI after deputies say he mistook a bank drive-thru for Taco Bell. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office told ABC Action News that the manager of a Bank of America called to report an impaired driver after he found an unconscious man behind the wheel of a blue sedan in the bank's drive-thru lane. The manager told deputies that after knocking on the car window for 

    >>
  • The Latest: Government shutting down amid partisan standoff

    The Latest: Government shutting down amid partisan standoff

    Saturday, January 20 2018 12:54 AM EST2018-01-20 05:54:47 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the budget battle in Congress (all times local): 12 midnight  The U.S. government shut down at midnight after Congress failed to resolve a partisan standoff over immigration and spending. In a late-night vote, Senate Democrats joined to block a bill that would have kept the government running for another four weeks. A flurry of last-minute negotiations failed to beat the deadline. Democrats have tried to use the F...

    >>

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the budget battle in Congress (all times local): 12 midnight  The U.S. government shut down at midnight after Congress failed to resolve a partisan standoff over immigration and spending. In a late-night vote, Senate Democrats joined to block a bill that would have kept the government running for another four weeks. A flurry of last-minute negotiations failed to beat the deadline. Democrats have tried to use the F...

    >>