Having access to water will enable the sustained presence of humanity in space. Water is necessary for life support and can be refined into rocket propellant so that humanity can further explore the Solar System.
Planetary Resources intends to produce propellant in space from water. The water molecule consists of hydrogen and oxygen which can be refined into high-efficiency fuel. Making propellant available in space increases the payload capacity of rockets, enables the creation of a space highway with fuel depots located at various points of need throughout the Solar System, and allows spacecraft to travel much farther.
Water is required to sustain human life. The ability to transport large quantities of water to space has been a roadblock in furthering human expansion into the Solar System. Beyond the use of water for sustenance, water is also needed in space for hygiene, growing food, and producing breathable air. Water can also be used for radiation shielding.
Planetary Resources’ long-term plans include mining asteroids for structural and precious metals. Structural metals will be harvested and used as construction materials in space. Sourcing these materials from beyond Earth’s gravitational influence enables the construction of low-cost structures that are not limited by size. Precious metals will be used for in-space manufacturing of high-end electronics, laboratory equipment and spacecraft components.