Asteroid mining became a topic of conversation, albeit not a major plot point, in the episode of “Bones” that aired on Feb. 25, 2013, “The Fact in the Fiction.” In a few lines of dialogue, the writers of the episode encapsulated the promise and perils of asteroid mining neatly. The conversation did not really move the main plot along, however, and looked more like something that was shoehorned in to make a point.
The subject of asteroid mining comes up when most of the characters are examining the latest body of a murder victim on a kale farm. Booth, the tough, FBI agent said to be the descendent of the notorious assassin, mentions that he has invested considerable sums in an asteroid mining venture. Dr. Brennan, the forensic anthropologist, super genius, and life partner to Booth raises some practical objections to such a venture:
The difficulties of accessing and mining an asteroid far outweigh the possible benefit.
Even if an asteroid were to be mined of – say – platinum, the sudden influx of that precious metal on the market would collapse its price.
Hodgins, one of the lab geeks, thinks that asteroid mining is cool because it will save the Earth. Or something like that. He also touts the method of taking an asteroid to lunar orbit so that it can be more easily accessed.
Apparently in the “Bones” universe there is a publicly traded asteroid mining company that common folk can invest it. The two existing asteroid ventures, Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, are privately held and as such are restricted to public investment.
In the end, by the way, Brennan overcomes her objections to the speculative nature of asteroid mining and invests some of her own money in the venture. Perhaps, in the future, this unknown enterprise will feature in an actual case.