Dont see any possible economic justification for it,we are still sitting on billions of tons of metal ores and minerals here without leaving this mudball,unless they find one made from solid gold,anyway I doubt if there is much in the way of metals in the asteroids,if there was they wouldn't be way out there beyond Mars they would have formed a planet closer in.
Oft thought when the world was forming and was a red hot molten ball all the heavy metal would have sunk toward the center ergo there must be a large sphere of pure molten gold right in the center of the earth surrounded by another nickle nickle iron sphere,and its a lot closer than any asteroid.
Location: A Whilom nimble brain. With 31 million posts.
Come now... If Bruce Willis can do it I'm sure he'll give us some tips...
Huh! Beat me to it.
I reckon we should mine gold from the moon, but just make coins there.
We could find one astronaut bartering with another for a new moon buggy or some such, but being frustrated by not being able to get the coins out of their pockets, cos of having fat fingers.
What they do want to know is what RNA / DNA type stuff might be in them. It seems the framework for such a structure is now much more likely to occur naturally in the heavens than previously thought. Might be able to get some, feed it into mice cells, and get creatures that can design fjords.
Location: KGRB, but on the road about 1/2 the time.
There are TONNES (hahahaha!) of materials that are very important to our modern life on earth, that are in VERY short supply here on our little planet....off the top of my head I have read of materials needed in jet engines, batteries, electronics, medical devices, cell phones, etc. that are quite difficult to come by.
Afghanistan may have some of this material, which may be good for them.
Asteroids are chock full of the stuff...I think most of it we find on earth came from asteroid strikes in the past.
Mining rare earths from asteroids would be enormously expensive, at first. But the effort could help to start a transition toward developing space industries. In time, we could see many industrial operations running in space, using virtually free solar energy, while our world becomes cleaner and greener: a residential zone, with industry moving off our planet.
Some near-Earth asteroids contain platinum group metals in much higher concentrations than the richest Earth mines. In space, a single platinum-rich 500 meter wide asteroid contains about 174 times the yearly world output of platinum, and 1.5 times the known world-reserves of platinum group metals (ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum). This amount is enough to fill a basketball court to four times the height of the rim. By contrast, all of the platinum group metals mined to date in history would not reach waist-high on that same basketball court.
... Asteroids also contain more common metallic elements such as iron, nickel, and cobalt, sometimes in incredible quantities. In addition to water, other volatiles, such as nitrogen, CO, CO2, and methane, exist in quantities sufficient to warrant extraction and utilization.
I was just thinking (which I know I shouldn't do too much) - why not bring the asteroid to Earth orbit? It would cut down on transport costs for both the ore and mining prisoners.
Send a robot ship to evaluate the metal potential. If it works out feasable dispatch an "engine" ship. This ship - being an engine unto itself, burrows into the asteroid with its exhaust sticking out. The engine is controlled from Earth. A few twists of the gamestick and throttle and so jockey it from its present position into Earth orbit.
As prev suggested the asteroid could become a penal mining prison/gulag, and terraforming it into a cold habitat with lots of snow and ice would also be a nice touch!