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Rio Tinto, Australian Space Agency to research space mining

Rio Tinto is collaborating with the newly formed Australian Space Agency, or ASA, on how its mining technology can be used to extract resources on the moon and other planets, The Australian reported Jan. 29.

ASA head Megan Clark, who also sits on Rio Tinto's board, said mining in space may include looking for basic resources such as water, oxygen and soil.

The company's autonomous drill rigs, which were recently deployed across its iron ore operations in Western Australia's Pilbara region, could be used to extract resources on other planets.

"Rio Tinto is developing autonomous drilling and that's the sort of thing you will need to do on Mars and on the moon," Clark said.