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Space: In the race for rare metals, the phenomenon of secret missions is increasing (and disturbing)

Space: In the race for rare metals, the phenomenon of secret missions is increasing (and disturbing)

Could space become a zone exempt from supranational regulations? Could space turn into a region governed by special interests? These questions are being raised acutely in the scientific community.

For several years, many companies have been investing in space in search of new economic opportunities. Minerals found in asteroids whet the appetite of entrepreneurs dazzled by the profits they could make from them.

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Secret competition for precious metals

In the context of increasing competition, space companies are operating their boats out of sight, according to the British newspaper The Guardian The New York Times (New York Times) on Wednesday, December 27. None of them wants to communicate their designs, risking losing the comparative advantage over the competitor.

The commercial system monitors space, as indicated by the American newspaper that focused on the issue of the space company AstroForge, which announced its intention to send a space probe to collect precious metals from an asteroid located in Earth’s orbit.

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Some of these space objects contain gold, iridium and even osmium, materials whose value is estimated at several thousand euros per gram. The resources exist in varying quantities, and could be extracted in 2024.

The success of the mission will be a blast for the sector. This will be the first commercial mission to conquer space outside the Moon. In the scientific microcosm, the ambitions of these private entities fuel fears and crystallize opposition.

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“I don't support objects orbiting the inner solar system without anyone knowing where they arealerted New York Times astronomer Jonathan McDowell. “We see frequent launches that we learn about later.”He completed it.

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In 2019, an Israeli commercial lander crashed on the moon's surface. There were microscopic animals on board that Beresheet had not sent. The investigation is still ongoing. The authorities had said that they feared contamination of the Earth's satellite.

There is no binding legislation

Land clearing companies follow the lines of an incomplete law. For missions carried out in part of space, there is no law preventing companies from not disclosing their space targets. Only non-binding UN directives require transparency from space agencies and companies. But no penalty is provided for this.

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The most emblematic actors in these new space conquests remain billionaires Elon Musk, head of SpaceX, Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Galactic, and Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin.

On the same topic:

⋙ China's top-secret Shenlong spacecraft launched 6 mysterious objects into space

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