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The Ethics and Sustainability of Asteroid Mining

Emilia Wilson (March 2014)

In recent years, commercial interest in the extra-terrestrial has been growing – from China’s various lunar plans to the Google “lunar X prize” to NASA’s intention to bring an asteroid into orbit around the moon for study, the field is expanding quickly. Most significantly, two companies (Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources) have been established for the explicit purpose of mining asteroids. Whilst it may sound like the stuff of Science-Fiction, advances in space technology, coupled with the estimated number of near-earth asteroids, mean this could be put into practise in the – relatively – near future. This raises many questions of both ethical and practical viability, but first it is necessary to understand quite what is being proposed.

For the full text (PDF) of Emilia's paper, please go to the following link: Asteroid Mining.

Emilia Wilson is a 6th year student at Stromness Academy. Her interests include Drama, Literature and Journalism. She hopes to go on to study Physics and Philosophy next year with a view to a career in either Science Journalism or Education.





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