Thus far, all missions to asteroids have been motivated by scientific exploration. However, given recent advancements in various space technologies, mining asteroids for resources is becoming ever more feasible. A significant portion of asteroids value is derived from their location; the required resources do not need to be lifted at a great expense from the surface of the Earth.
Resources derived from Asteroid not only can be brought back to Earth but could also be used to sustain human exploration of space and permanent settlements in space.
This book investigates asteroids' prospective energy and material resources. It is a collection of topics related to asteroid exploration, and utilization. It presents past and future technologies and solutions to old problems that could become reality in our life time. The book therefore is a great source of condensed information for specialists involved in current and impending asteroid-related activities and a good starting point for space researchers, inventors, technologists and potential investors.
Written for researchers, engineers, and businessmen interested in asteroids' exploration and exploitation.
Keywords: Asteroids, Asteroid exploration, Asteroid exploitation, Energy sources, Space Resources, Material Resources, In-Situ Resource Utilization, Mining
The comets and asteroids whose orbits bring them close to Earth are clearly the most accessible to detailed investigation, both from the ground and from spacecraft. When nature kindly delivers the occasional asteroid to the surface of Earth as a meteorite, we can scrutinize it closely in the laboratory; a great deal of information about primordial chemical composition and primitive processes has been gleaned from such objects.
This report reviews the current state of research on near-Earth objects and considers future directions. Attention is paid to the important interplay between ground-based investigations and spaceborne observation or sample collection and return. This is particularly timely since one U.S. spacecraft is already on its way to rendezvous with a near-Earth object, and two others plus a Japanese mission are being readied for launch. In addition to scientific issues, the report considers technologies that would enable further advances in capability and points out the possibilities for including near-Earth objects in any future expansion of human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.