We had already approached the subject of the private space company Deep Space Industries (DSI) which announced that it wished to explore space and organize mining operations on certain asteroids.
The firm thus continues its research on the most effective methods allowing it to collect the elements present on the moons and asteroids and has just announced having made a discovery.
According to DSI, it would be possible to use genetically modified microbes, which would be injected into the rock of asteroids and programmed to prepare them for future exploitation.
The company thus evokes the possibility of sending a probe filled with microbes towards an asteroid. Over a period of 10 to 20 years, these microbes would damage the structure of the rock by targeting certain metals to facilitate their recovery.
The concept is interesting and could indeed make the most of the time it will take to design vessels and systems that effectively go and collect these resources in space.
Having resources prepared in this way would also imply less complex mining structures, one could thus not have to resort to the establishment of an imposing structure as well as a mission too long. In addition, having ready-to-use materials like this or almost everywhere in space could further facilitate missions to explore distant space.
Currently, this is just an idea and the project is still in its infancy. It will be necessary to conduct several tests before confirming the feasibility of the operation, but also to determine if these microbes are both capable of operating in space vacuum, but also be safe for humans.