An asteroid believed to carry up to 90 million tons of platinum passed us by last weekend. Rats.
(Multi-trillion dollar asteroid)
The platinum-rich asteroid officially named 2011 UW158, is 452 meters by 1,011 meters in size and will pass Earth at a distance of an estimated 2.4 million kilometers, according to the Goldstone Radar Observatory. It will be 30 times closer to Earth than the closest planet of the Solar system.
The proximity of asteroid’s orbit to Earth has already put it on the ‘wish list’ for future robotic mining missions. According to different estimates, it might contain ore of precious metals and other minerals worth from $300 billion, to an incredible $5.4 trillion.
The so-called Planetary Resources group, an asteroid mining venture with financial backing from Google bosses Eric Schmidt and Larry Page, as well as British billionaire Richard Branson, defines asteroids like UW-158 as suitable for mining 'X-type,' having catalogued dozens of similar prospective targets across the solar system.
I shall never forget the sight, nor the exclamations of wonder that broke forth from all of us standing around, when the yellow gleam of the precious metal appeared under the "star dust." Collected in huge masses it reflected the light of the sun from its hiding place.
Evidently the planet was not a solid ball of gold, formed like a bullet run in a mould, but was composed of nuggets of various sizes, which had come together here under the influence of their mutual gravitation, and formed a little metallic planet.
Judging by the test of weight which we had already tried, and which had led to the discovery of the gold, the composition of the asteroid must be the same to its very centre.