3Q 2021

Space Mining Can Enable Sustainable Travel Both on and off Earth

Mining various resources beyond Earth is rapidly approaching both technological and economic viability. Electrification, electronics production, and the Internet of Things are converging to drive immense growth in the demand for rare earth elements (REEs), and asteroids, the Moon, and other nearby celestial bodies are rich in these and other resources. Mining these resources has the potential to dramatically grow revenue for invested companies and controlling nations.

Mining for rocket fuel constituents (e.g., water) has great potential for advancing sustainable, economical spaceflight by enabling spacecraft to refuel after leaving Earth. This capability would dramatically reduce the cost associated with reaching other parts of the solar system. Utilizing resources in situ either as fuel or construction material can enable sustained inhabitation and commercialization on the Moon and beyond.

This Guidehouse Insights report describes the economic drivers of space mining technology and identifies challenges. The report identifies technical, economic, and regulatory challenges to space mining and potential avenues for addressing them. The report also provides recommendations for market participants and discusses the ways in which market potential could be realized.

Pages 18
Tables | Charts | Figures 7
  • What are the primary motivations for mining in space?
  • What technical and regulatory barriers stand in the way of mining other celestial bodies?
  • Which nations and companies are pushing the space mining market forward and why?
  • What techniques and mission profiles might space mining operations adopt?
  • What candidate sites are most likely to provide timely returns on investment?
  • Renewable energy producers
  • Mining equipment manufacturers
  • Space industry participants
  • Government bodies
  • Investor community




Space Mining Can Support Electrification

Space Is Rich Where Earth Is Poor

Mining Is Key to Reaching and Inhabiting Distant Worlds

New Technologies Increase Spaceflight Feasibility

Asteroids Introduce Complications

Mining on the Moon and Other Bodies May Be More Practical

Space Race 2.0 Begins

Who Owns the Moon?

Space Agencies Continue Developing Programs

Partnerships Remain Key to Space Exploration

  • Surface Mining of REEs
  • Metal-Rich Asteroid 16 Psyche
  • Exponential Relationship of Mass Ratio and Delta-V
  • 3D Printing with Moon Dust Can Enable Extended Lunar Habitation
  • The Main Asteroid Belt Separates the Inner and Outer Solar System
  • Asteroid Mining Craft Concept with Tether
  • Nations with the Largest Space Agency Budgets
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