Asteroid 2012 DA14: Near-Miss Space Rock Worth '$195 Billion' In Water And Metals

An asteroid which is set to make an uncomfortably close pass by the Earth on Friday would be worth $195 billion if we could capture it and mine its resources, investors have suggested.

The 150-foot wide asteroid 2012 DA14 - which would be capable of destroying London if it had hit - will come within 17,200 miles of our planet.

That's closer than many communication satellites.

A close shave, you might think. But others see it as a missed opportunity to make a quick buck by pulling it into orbit and stripping it for parts.

The idea of mining asteroids for rare metals and minerals is not new - and two companies are attempting to do just that.

But it is an unproven and exceptionally difficult idea, which could take many decades to turn into a (profitable) reality.

Still, the rewards are there. Officials at Deep Space Industries, one of the prospective asteroid miners, says that the rock could contain more than $65 billion in recoverable water and $130 billion in metals.

It's just a guess - the composition of the asteroid isn't known for sure.

But it's an indication of the potential profits if a mining operation could figure out how to make the sums add up.

"While this week's visitor isn't going the right way for us to harvest it, there will be others that are, and we want to be ready when they arrive," said Deep Space chairman Rick Tumlinson in a press statement.

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