Could asteroid mining lead to an intergalactic role for HR?

November 24, 2016

Could asteroid mining lead to an intergalactic role for HR?

Luxembourg has just agreed to invest 25 million Euros into asteroid mining company Planetary Resources. Pretty exciting! But what has this got to do with HR?

The answer is probably nothing. At least not for now. But could it possibly mark the beginning of an intergalactic workforce?

Asteroid mining explained

The idea behind asteroid mining, is exactly what it sounds like. To mine resources from asteroids.

According to Wikipedia, there are many valuable minerals to be found hidden inside these giant floating space rocks, including gold, silver, platinum, nickel and titanium.

Asteroid mining is being explored as a way to combat the fact that we are slowly using up our own planet’s resources.

Robots don’t need HR

If you were imagining a team of miners with pick axes and shovels, jumping into their space suits and shooting into space, then this is a long way off yet. As it stands right now, any plans to mine the resources from asteroids do not involve a human workforce being sent into space.

Planetary Resource’s plan is to send a small robot to land on an asteroid, and harvest the minerals.

Naturally, they won’t need a human resources department to process this robot’s holiday requests or conduct its exit interview once it is released from service. But I still get the feeling we are on the brink of a more intergalactic workforce.

How long will it be until HR has to manage an intergalactic workforce?

Forget about government space agencies for a minute, and think about this. In 2010, there were thought to be at least six private organisations planning to launch humans into space:

1. SpaceX
2. Orbital Sciences
3. Blue Origin
4. Bigelow Aerospace
5. SpaceDev
6. Virgin Galactic

Today, there are many more than this, and they are getting ever closer to sending crews of people into space.

Elon Musk’s “Dragon” spaceship is expected to launch into space in 2017. And Richard Branson’s “Virgin Galactic” is actively taking bookings for its first commercial space flight!

How long do you think it might be before private companies are sending their workforce into space? And how do you think Human Resources will need to adapt?

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