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It’s no secret that precious metals are a finite resource here on Earth—it’s a big contributor to making them all the more valuable. But as miners continue to dig deeper and deeper, some firms are instead turning their sights to the sky.

Two firms plan to conduct prospecting missions to passing asteroids in the next three years, which, if all goes well, would yield a fair amount of platinum or gold but present a considerable challenge in bringing any significant amount of metal back to Earth at the same time. Thus, instead of returning with the ore, focus would shift toward building compounds in space that would support or fuel colonies on Mars.

And while all of this sounds incredibly futuristic and perhaps unrealistic, NASA is hoping to put astronauts on an asteroid within a decade.

According to Reuters, “Early in 2016, the first of DSI’s exploration satellites, smaller than toasters, will hitch-hike into space on rockets carrying other payloads and start scouting for suitable rocks. The same year, another U.S.-based venture, Planetary Resources, expects to launch prospecting craft hunting viable asteroids.”

To read more about this possible exploration and the impact that it would have, click here.

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