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Asteroids pp 81-129 | Cite as

Prospecting Asteroid Resources

Chapter

Abstract

Mining the asteroids has long been the stuff of science fiction, but is rapidly becoming an engineering reality [http://www.planetaryresources.com, http:// deepspaceindustries.com].The idea that asteroid mining could be a profitable industry in the near future gives the prospecting phase of mining a new urgency. Finding suitable asteroids to mine could well be the bottleneck to developing asteroid resources. Though the population of near-Earth objects (NEOs) is huge, with some 20,000 NEOs larger than 100m diameter (Mainzer et al. 2011b), and vastly smaller ones, there may be only a small number of NEOs that are initially profitable. Thorough prospecting could be needed to find these precious objects. This review identifies the state of the art for each stage of NEO prospecting, with an emphasis on remote telescopic techniques, and sets out options for upgrading our capabilities to the requisite industrial scale.

Keywords

Light Curf Astrophysical Journal Asteroid Surface Binary Asteroid Small Asteroid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard-Smithsonian Center for AstrophysicsCambridgeUSA

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