Our asteroid belt holds minerals and precious metals worth trillions, even quadrillions of dollars. So could asteroid mining create the first trillionaire? Or is the hype overblown?

There are millions of asteroids in the asteroid belt (and perhaps just as many trojan asteroids in Jupiter’s orbit), and some of them potentially contain precious metals worth more than all the money in the world. One single asteroid, 16 Psyche, is worth quintillions of dollars. But somehow early pioneers in asteroid mining like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries have struggled and gone under. How, in this new space race, with the prices of launching to space falling every year, has asteroid mining not become a thing? The answer, and the reality about asteroid mining, is more complex than we think.

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