Space mining involves sending spacecraft to asteroids, moons, comets, and even planets to collect valuable minerals.
USGS officials are now investigating how they can expand their operations to search for resources in space – in hopes of teaming up with NASA.
Full name United States Geological Survey, the organization is responsible for the analysis of resources and hazards in the United States.
Minerals and other resources in space have been estimated to be worth up to $ 700 quintillion, or seven with 20 zeros after.
And this is precisely what can be found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
USGS officials said they were paying “increasing attention to the issue of space resources.”
It looks like soon could be the era of space prospectors in a new gold rush to hit the jackpot.
The satellites used to map the geology of the Earth could be turned the other way around to analyze resources elsewhere in the solar system.
USGS research geologist Laszlo Kestay has revealed he hopes to secure funding from the U.S. Congress to begin probing this space fortune.
He told Space.com: “At this point, we have done enough work to make sure that the methods used by the USGS to assess mineral, energy and water resources on Earth can be used to assess space resources with minimal modification.
“We have also done enough preliminary work to identify some areas where humanity’s lack of knowledge will cause extremely large uncertainties in the assessments undertaken today.”
Mr. Bestay added, “The USGS has been paying increasing attention to the issue of space resources for several years.
“We are taking a number of steps to prepare for this eventuality. [of US Congressional funding],” he continued.
US President Donald Trump has already spoken of a further US expansion in space.
In his first speech to Congress on Capitol Hill, he envisioned American astronauts on “distant worlds” ten years from now.
He also founded the sixth brand of the US military – the Space Force – to fight Russia and China.
NASA space probes have already visited some asteroids and comets, which were believed to harbor valuable resources.
Angel Abbud-Madrid, director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines, said, “The space resources community will benefit greatly from working with the USGS to assess the location and value of minerals, of the energy and water on the moon, Mars and asteroids.
He noted that the USGS tools for mapping the Earth could easily be reused to locate resource-rich bodies in space.
China and Russia are also known to explore the possibility of space mining to get their share of the money.
Daily Star Online has revealed that Deep Space Industries is planning to launch prospecting probes to find resources in our solar system.