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Shen Ge

University of Texas (A&M), USA

Title: Economics of asteroid mining

Biography

Asteroid mining has been drawing increasing interest in the last year with the establishment of two space companies publicly declaring their common intention of mining asteroids. However, the economics of asteroid mining is barely developed, which raises questions on how these companies and future start ups will attract enough investment for such a mammoth project. In economics, a net present value that is positive indicates a positive return on a project. No significant additions have been made to Mark Sonter's net present value equation for asteroid mining since he wrote his thesis in 1997. This paper serves to address both the technical and economic factors required to determine a future asteroid mining mission's feasibility. Building upon Sonter's equation, it introduces new variables to cover the gaps and resolves uncertainties in the previous equation.

Abstract

Asteroid mining has been drawing increasing interest in the last year with the establishment of two space companies publicly declaring their common intention of mining asteroids. However, the economics of asteroid mining is barely developed, which raises questions on how these companies and future start ups will attract enough investment for such a mammoth project. In economics, a net present value that is positive indicates a positive return on a project. No significant additions have been made to Mark Sonter's net present value equation for asteroid mining since he wrote his thesis in 1997. This paper serves to address both the technical and economic factors required to determine a future asteroid mining mission's feasibility. Building upon Sonter's equation, it introduces new variables to cover the gaps and resolves uncertainties in the previous equation.

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