I read a particularly interesting article in a magazine the other day about transition metals. Transition metals are a limited source. Well, we say limited, but there are lots of transition metals made on earth they are just deep down in the crust or in extremely inconvenient places. At some point, like oil and fuel, we will run out.
So, what can we do?
Well, demand for transition metals fluctuates, what was considered expensive a century ago is now cheap (i.e aluminium). However, we use them all the time in our increasingly modernising world. There has been talk of collecting transition metals from the sea bed- a process that was considered before but was not commercially viable. Now the need for transition metals is becoming a little more pressed this has started to become a possibility again. However, the solution I quite like the look of is that of gaining them from space!
One possible solution is sending crafts into space to collect transition metals from meteorites. Although this sounds expensive and realistically we should probably try the sea before we go launching our futures and fortunes into the great beyond, I quite like the idea of looking elsewhere. After all we have a universe full of resources; it’s getting to them that is the problem. Mining on meteorites would be fun as most are made strait from the metals that we need- we’d only have to scrape the surface. However it’s the practically 0 gravity that’s the problem. One solution would be to harpoon the meteorite and attach a space mining station to its surface….somehow! (we’ll leave the physicists to work that one out). I like to think of it a little like cowboys and Indians but instead of cowboys lassoing cattle it would be rockets lassoing meteorites….