The Asteroids Are Coming!
The USGS is setting its sights high according to a September 5, 2018 report from Newsweek. The United States Geological Survey's research geologist Laszlo Kestay explained in an interview at Space.com that "The USGS realized that our congressional mandate to assess natural resources extends to space."
Kestay says that the USGS now feels confident that methods used to assess water, mineral, and energy resources on Earth can now be applied to extra terrestrial resource assessments on the Moon as well as near-Earth asteroids. The agency has been keeping a close watch on the potential for an international cosmic gold rush as new space mining startups edge closer to tapping the gold and platinum believed to be locked inside metallic asteroids.
A 2016 estimate by the company Visual Capitalist places the value of the asteroids in the belt between Mars and Jupiter, not in billions but in the $700 quintillion range. That breaks down to $100 billion for each person back here at home on planet Earth.
Planetary Resources is one of those startups with eyes on the mineral resources in the sky. Their goal is to tap the 15-16,000 resource-rich near-Earth asteroids to streamline space travel. Deep Space Industries announced its asteroid mining intentions back in 2013. Both companies face an uphill battle to fund deep space mining missions, but there may be a more cost-efficient solution to the logistical challenges of mining the solar system.
The Daily Mail is reporting on new methods to direct asteroids toward earth, where they will assume Earth orbit for convenient mining. Once in stable orbit, unmanned spacecraft would mine the water, minerals, and precious metals for a more conservatively estimated ROI of just $75 billion per person.
After decades of apocalyptic science fiction horror stories about earth-impacting asteroids taking out the planet, PR teams could have a tough sell promoting technology which is intended to attract those same notorious asteroids. Of course, the 75-100 billion dollar payoff per person pitch could easily balance the scales in the minds of a reluctant Earthbound public.
Back to Earth-The Precious Metals Market in 2018
Commodities expert Andrew Hecht brings us back to earth with his assessment of the precious metals market going in 2018. After added losses in Q1 and Q2, gold, platinum, and silver are now on "shaky ground" going into Q3, with platinum as the biggest loser in the sector.
Platinum hasn't been living up to its nickname as "rich man's gold" in recent years. In 2008, it was trading at a premium of $1200 compared to gold. Since 2014 it's fallen into what Hecht describes as a "bearish abyss and bottomless pit," consistently the cheaper alternative to gold into 2018.
That said, Hecht, who has been trading precious metals since the early 1980s, is cautiously optimistic about the sector for Q3 saying
"It has been my experience that when these markets look their ugliest is the time when risk-reward favors long positions."
Hecht may do some light buying in a market where the closing Q2 low prices dropped to levels "where the odds of highly volatile conditions have increased dramatically."
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