Several very rich people -- and our government -- are hoping to mine asteroids for precious metals, hydrogen and oxygen. But Dr. Martin Elvis, an astrophysicist, has calculated that only 10 asteroids (or 1 percent) would be suitable and come close enough to Earth for mining. He estimates the value of mined ore from those asteroids could be from $800 million to $8.8 billion. Which is a lot, but building a space mining company from the ground up is pretty expensive. If Elvis is correct, it might not be worth the effort. This is a big blow to the burgeoning space mining industry.
But! Space mining company co-founder Eric Anderson (his Planetary Resources is backed by James Cameron and Larry Page) is not deterred. In fact, he told the BBC, he thinks Elvis's calculations are off