My name is Pascal Koch...


... and I want to bring the raw materials from asteroids to the earth. 

 

I studied Physics of the Earth System: Meteorology, Oceanography and Geophysics (B.Sc.) at the Institute of Geosciences at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science of the Christian-Albrechts University Kiel.

 

While I’m pursuing my Master of Science in Geophysics – also at the University of Kiel – I’m studying asteroids. My particular interest lies in the discovery of raw materials, which can be found on such objects, through the use of remote sensing technologies and satellite-based geophysical exploration. 

My Motivation

Through my studies, I’m gaining an insight into the complex processes that are going on inside, on the surface and in the atmosphere of our planet. Another cornerstone of my education is learning about the exploration of raw materials here on earth.

 

Mankind’s demand for raw materials is ever increasing, at the same time, exploration and extraction are becoming more and more complicated. New sources of raw materials are badly needed, which leads to a lot of interest in methods whose environmental impact has hardly been researched. Processes with high ecological risks will nevertheless be used in the future to provide the required raw materials.

 

I wonder why we don’t take a look into our solar system instead?

 

Many of the raw materials we need can be found on or in other celestial bodies, e.g. asteroids. Unfortunately there are some obstacles. On the one hand, space mining is not profitable as long there is no shortage of raw materials, on the other hand, there are also legal hurdles – raw materials can’t simply be extracted everywhere.

 

I can’t influence the legal situation but I can work on developing cheaper methods for satellite-based exploration and classification of asteroids. The industry doesn’t need highly reliable scientific results, it needs a fast exploration of as many asteroids as possible as well as a classification of these objects. My method of classification is to put the raw material content in relation to the total mass of the asteroid. In this way, asteroids can be classified economically, e.g. economically uninteresting to highly interesting.

 

Let's exploit this planet a little less.

Awards

In my school days I dedicated my free time to the development and patenting of a controllable ion thruster for satellites. For the concept of the engine, my team and I received the 1st place in the “Jugend forscht” regional competition, 1st place in the “Jugend forscht” federal state competition and the “Jugend forscht” prize from the Erich-Becker Foundation.