Exploring the Asteroid-Mining Thriller ‘Delta-v’

In Delta-v by Daniel Suarez an unpredictable billionaire recruits an adventurous cave diver to join the first-ever effort to mine an asteroid

Space.com talked to Suarez about the excitement and danger of asteroid mining; what he learned from the scientists, space entrepreneurs and scientists he talked to in writing the book; and what it will take to make humans a spacefaring species.

Space.com: So why did you decide to focus a story on asteroid mining?

Daniel Suarez: I was interested in the idea of — how is it that here we are at the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landings and we still haven’t gone back into deep space? That started puzzling me several years ago; I guess it didn’t so much puzzle me as frustrate me. What was holding us back? We have this technological capability, why aren’t we doing it? And so I spent a couple of years starting to research how it might actually come about. What would be the catalyst that causes it?

And I didn’t really have any preconceptions as to whether that would be a colony on the moon or Mars — I really didn’t think of asteroids initially, but it was in consulting with lots of other people, scientists, economists, entrepreneurs, that asteroid mining really became very clearly the obvious way that it would be done. We have these gravity wells that we’re facing otherwise, for both Mars and the moon, and of course it’s a matter of how do we get enough resources to start to build a cislunar economy? And asteroids really are the most cost-effective way to do that.

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