Is asteroid passing near Earth Friday worth $195 billion?

Deep Space Industries believes that if the asteroid were in a more favorable orbit, it could be mined for resources.

The asteroid skimming past Earth Friday may be worth $195 billion, according to Deep Space Industries.

The company, which aims to harvest resources in space, said asteroid 2012 DA14 likely holds valuable resources like water and metals, but isn't in reach.

Asteroid nears Earth Friday: Infographic show trajectory of the 150-foot asteroid as it nears Earth. IMAGEMCT

"The challenge in retrieving asteroids is the amount of energy it takes to match their orbit and bring it into Earth's orbit," DSI CEO David Gump told MSN News.

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Asteroid expected to buzz past earth

Asteroid expected to buzz past earth
Duration: 1:43 Views: 21k MSN News/Newsy

He said this particular asteroid is tilted in such a way that retrieving it would take too much energy. Gump said it is also too large at 150 feet wide.

DSI released the estimate "just to show that asteroids have value if they're in the right orbit," Gump said.

A Forbes article Tuesday questioned the worth of the asteroid, saying the estimate was made based on the value of the asteroid's materials on Earth, not in space.

"No one is able to make use of those products up in space at present," the article says. "The value is still zero for that asteroid."

Gump refuted this, saying there are plenty of in-space markets.

“Our business plan is to be able to supply fuel … in space,” Gump said.

He said he sees his company helping to extend the lifespans of satellites already in orbit by refueling them and assisting in missions to Mars. “We think that getting things like gold, silver, platinum will happen eventually,” once mining in space becomes routine, he added.

Gump said DSI based its estimate on meteorites that have fallen to Earth carrying certain elements and components. He said scientists believe this asteroid is an L-class, composed of roughly 5 percent water and 10 percent metals; DSI was able to make its estimate based on these averages, subtracting for the cost of processing.


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