The Expanse is chock full of nifty gadgets, technology and, uh, sexual recreation. But just how realistic is all of it? Let's take a look at all of the future tech in each episode and discuss just how possible it really is.
In Season 1, Episode 6: "Rock Bottom," we meet Diogo's Uncle Mateo, a working-class 'rockhopper' who explores asteroids looking for precious ore.
Raw materials will be at a premium in the future, that much is certain. Civilizations need materials and if humanity is looking to expand our reach, we're going to need the ore to get there. Based on known terrestrial reserves, and growing consumption in both developed and developing countries, key elements needed for modern industry and food production could be exhausted on Earth within 50–60 years. These include phosphorus, antimony, zinc, tin, lead, indium, silver, gold and copper. It has been suggested that platinum, cobalt and other valuable elements from asteroids could be mined for profit, used to build solar-power satellites, and space habitats.
Scientists have even gone so far as to classify asteroids based on the raw materials they provide:
- C-type asteroids have a high abundance of water and organic carbon, phosphorus, and other key ingredients for fertilizer which can be used to grow food.
- S-type asteroids carry little water but contain numerous metals including: nickel, cobalt and more valuable metals such as gold, platinum and rhodium. A small 10-meter S-type asteroid contains about 650,000 kg of metal with 50 kg in the form of rare metals like platinum and gold.
- M-type asteroids are rare but contain up to 10 times more metal than S-types.
Not only this is possible, it's an action that will become a neccessity in years to come. Hopefully, by that time we'll have better nets to catch the payload.