Today our lives depend on just a handful of natural resources but they are not the ones we think they are. Forget about oil, coal and gas, today we depend on a new set of super elements with obscure names like indium and rhenium. They’re properties are so bizarre, they could be confused with an alien technology of sorts.
These super elements are driving innovation, everything from smartphones to MRI scanners but there is a problem they’re rare and they are already running low in supply. The stuff that makes smartphones work could be gone in a decade. The mineral we rely on to feed the world is mostly found in just one country.
We are no reaching the limits on what our planet can provide and we cant simply rely on recycling to rescue us, in order to fix the future we might find that we are forced to mine in space. So what are these super elements and why do we need them so badly? and most importantly what can we do to save them?