The race to the riches of asteroids is on, with several private companies vying for funding to become the first space miners. Hard rock minerals could be mined from an asteroid or a spent comet. Precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum group metals could be transported back to Earth, while iron group metals and other common ones could be used for construction in space.

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There are millions of asteroids in our solar system. Because some are full of materials that are rare on Earth, they have been valued at stupendous amounts. But the most valuable resource in space may be something that’s abundant back on the ground.