The American Chemical Society has listed 44 elements as endangered. Just as endangered animals are categorized, these elements are also categorized as being in serious threat of extinction, being under a rising threat due to excessive usage, and limited availability. The reason for this is that not all elements are available in abundance on the Earth, and even among those that are in abundance, many are from non-renewable resources.
A proposed solution is asteroid mining. Asteroids are rocky bodies in the Solar System, and they are rich in many elements such as iron, manganese, nickel, molybdenum, tungsten, palladium, platinum, rhodium and cobalt. Other bodies in the Solar System contain rich mineral deposits too – the Moon is rich in Titanium, for example, and Mars is rich in Iron.
The students of today have to plan for a sustainable future where our natural resources are conserved, and every alternative path towards energy, fuel or raw materials is examined carefully. In this project, students not only learnt about the periodic table, but also the abundance of elements across the Solar System.