Asteroid Belt

Animation of 100,000 Asteroids

Asteroids can be identified in SDSS imaging because they change position during the course of an 8-minute exposure with the SDSS camera. The SDSS has identified and measured colors of more than 100,000 asteroids and other Solar System minor objects. The video to the left shows the orbits of many of the asteroids that the […]

Asteroid Mining Process

In order to mine valuable materials from asteroids, we’ll need to establish some new technologies and processes: Prospecting – asteroids will be mined for: valuable metals & minerals, volatiles (ice, water, oxygen, hydrogen), stony ores, and even the regolith (dirt) will be used. Most prospecting will be done by bots or drones, automatically. Prospect claiming […]

The Horseshoe Orbit Asteroid

Asteroid 2010 SO16 follows an orbit close to the orbit of Earth. Sometimes it’s a little closer to the Sun at about 0.996 AU and sometimes it’s a little farther from the Sun at 1.004 AU. When the orbit is inside that of Earth, the asteroid travels faster than Earth and slowly catches up to […]

Gamma Spectroscopy for Asteroid Mining

Asteroids are constantly awash in a bath of cosmic rays which produce neutron showers when they collide with atoms in the material of the asteroids. The neutrons in turn collide with other particles, giving off gamma rays in the process. Spectrum analysis of the gamma radiation can determine which elements were involved in the collisions […]

Space Habi-Craft

Space Habi-Craft

[artist conception from deepspaceindustries.com] The drawing above shows how a habitat-craft wheel can be built using materials extracted from an asteroid. The most likely configuration for both space dwellings and space craft is a rotating wheel. The rotation of the wheel provides an outward force that replaces gravity, which is essential for long term health. […]

Video of Ceres from DAWN Images

Ceres can be considered as either a large asteroid or a small planet, often called a dwarf planet. It is almost 590 miles (950 kilometers) across, as big as the state of Texas. It is located in the asteroid belt, at an orbit of about 2.8 AUs or 419 million kilometers from the Sun. (Earth […]

Asteroids of Potential Hazard to Earth

Asteroids of Potential Hazard to Earth

Orbits of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids – [nasa.gov] This graphic shows the orbits of all the known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs), numbering over 1,400 as of early 2013. These are the asteroids considered hazardous because they are fairly large (at least 460 feet or 140 meters in size), and because they follow orbits that pass close […]

Leave the Asteroids Where They Are

Many current proposals for mining asteroids include the process of towing the asteroid back to Earth orbit to extract the valuable minerals. Leave the asteroids where they are. Towing them back to Earth assumes that they will only have value on Earth. It will take many years for us to develop the infrastructure necessary to […]

Asteroid Belt Economy

University of Alabama graduate students ponder building necessary infrastructure for space exploration. There are two missing pieces in their thinking: Instead of building outposts on craggy, randomly shaped rocks, it makes more sense to fabricate whatever you want (a space habitat) and spin it to create internal gravity-like force. With very cheap energy, plentiful building […]

Asteroid Belt Oasis

A new theory suggests that an asteroid belt, positioned at just the right place in a planetary system, can help promote the development of life. In order for life as we know it to evolve, a planet must have some water and the organic, carbon based building blocks that form the needed chemical stew. There […]