The world's first trillionaires might already be among us and are likely to amass their wealth mining asteroids in space, which has been touted as the next big industry.

Space mining has the potential to become big and yield financial gains that know no boundary because the industry opens up the opportunity for companies to simply fly to a rock, and bring back bountiful supplies of precious metals. The potential is immense, says Goldman Sachs (GS), the world's second-largest investment bank, reports RT.

In a paper published by the bank last year, they reportedly said that mining asteroids are far easier than most people expect. "While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower," Noah Poponak, an aerospace and materials analyst at GS, wrote in the 2017 report.

"Prospecting probes can likely be built for tens of millions of dollars each and Caltech has suggested an asteroid-grabbing spacecraft could cost $2.6 billion," explained the paper, reports Inquistr.

Asteroid mining
Asteroids are made up of precious metals that are simply waiting to be minedNASA/JPL-Caltech

Apart from banks, even members of academia seem to agree with this line of reasoning. Physicist Michio Kaku, for example, has pointed out that asteroid mining is one way to solve resource shortage crises that Earth is currently facing, calling space rocks, "flying gold mine in outer space". Asteroids that are within the reach of humans now have been found to be rich in minerals like iron, carbon, cobalt, rhodium, nickel, platinum, and iridium, to name a few. All these resources can be harvested and brought back to Earth.

As for the question, how much money can be made from asteroids, the report estimates that one 3,000-foot wide asteroid can be worth $5.4 trillion of platinum. Smaller rocks, ones that are about 100 feet across can have reserves of precious metals worth about $50 billion; hence the chances of becoming the first modern-day trillionaire is not far-fetched. NASA already has plans in place on how to break down massive asteroids.  

Even Neil deGrasse Tyson seems to agree with this line of reasoning and goes on to say that in the future, conflicts that arise over access to resources can be prevented because of space mining. "There's this vast universe of limitless energy and limitless resources. I look at wars fought over access to resources. That could be a thing of the past, once space becomes our backyard," he said in a statement.