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Getting a mine up and running on the moon or an asteroid would cost less than building the biggest gas terminals on Earth, according to research presented to a forum of company executives and NASA scientists.

A mission to Ceres, a dwarf planet 257 million miles from the Sun and the size of Texas, may cost about $27 billion. The expense includes 10 rocket launches to convey equipment, the extraction of metals and water, and the construction of an in-orbit facility to process the raw materials.

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