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Students earn silver with proposal to mine asteroids for platinum

Platinum is a rare, precious and super-resilient metal — here on Earth. There’s more of it on the moon and in asteroids, but how would you mine it? Three UCC space experts have the solution.

In fact, this solution was impressive enough to earn the Grade 10 team of Jacob Beckerman, Gabriel Birman and Jack Erickson second place in the junior division at the University of Toronto Space Design Contest on June 1. (Competition was tough at the prestigious two-day event; the boys lost only to a team from India that attended a science-oriented high school, who flew in specifically for the contest.)

After working for months to prepare for the project, the students had to submit a written proposal, design the technology and business plan to mine the asteroids, then present to the judges. Their fictional company name was Near Earth Industries.

Organized by U of T engineering students, the contest “challenges the innovation and ingenuity of high school students around the world, promoting interest and growth amongst the many fields of engineering and sciences.” The contest also featured a visit to the solar race car lab and lectures by astrophysicists.

Here is a video of the presentation that earned them the prize:

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