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Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

The World’s First Space Mining Program Launches in Colorado

The Colorado School of Mines' space resources program will teach grad students how to tap celestial bodies for all they're worth.

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Extracting water from asteroids sounds like it would have taken place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away—not in the Milky Way. But space-mining operations will likely blast off in the next few decades, thanks to ventures such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and the James Cameron–backed Planetary Resources Inc. That’s why Colorado School of Mines decided it was time for students to learn how to tap celestial bodies for all they’re worth. When the fall semester starts on August 20, the university will launch the world’s first space resources graduate program, with options for master’s and doctoral degrees as well as 12-credit certificates for working professionals. Students will learn, among other interstellar secrets, how to capture the H2O embedded in the moon’s crust. As humankind heads toward Mars and beyond, companies such as Centennial’s United Launch Alliance will use that water to create and store propellant in space, so rockets don’t have to lug it from Earth. (Instead, they’ll make a galactic pit stop.) Guest speakers from Colorado’s long line of mining and aerospace companies will visit the classes—and perhaps the Kitchen co-founder Kimbal Musk can convince his brother to deliver a talk or two.

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