DailyDirt: Playing With Asteroids
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
The idea of mining asteroids has been around for quite some time, but only recently has it been considered a somewhat practical (and possibly profitable) venture. It’s possible that private space companies could make it to an asteroid before NASA gets to one, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens if asteroid mining operations succeed in bringing back significant quantities of valuable metals. But we’re not quite there yet. Here are just a few links on the baby steps we might need to take to start playing with asteroids.
- Astronomers have identified about a dozen easily-captured asteroids (or Easily Retrievable Objects — EROs) that could be nudged into an Earth orbit with existing rocket technologies. We could bring about 1,500 tons of space rock right to our front door for mining operations… as long as we don’t miscalculate and cause a nuclear winter by turning them into meteorites. [url]
- Not that long ago, a 10,000 ton meteoroid landed near the city of Chelyabinsk, injuring 1,500 people and causing millions of dollars in damages. Researchers have back-tracked the path of this space rock to its origin as an Apollo-class asteroid — one of many objects near our planet that could come crashing down on us. Maybe we should focus more on preventing huge meteorites? [url]
- The Keck Institute for Space Studies has studied the feasibility of capturing a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) to a high lunar orbit by 2025. They estimated the cost of such a mission would be around $2.6 billion. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.