One more study in favour of (near earth) asteroid mining. The exploitation of extraterrestrial resources is one of the methods to fund space colonisation.
The prospects of a robotic manufacturing base operating off Earth is not as far-fetched as it used to be according to a study published by a team of NASA researchers led by a Kennedy Space Center physicist.
Because asteroids are loaded with minerals that are rare on Earth, near-Earth asteroids and the asteroid belt could become the mining centers for remotely operated excavators and processing machinery. In 20 years, an industry barely imagined now could be sending refined materials, rare metals and even free, clean energy to Earth from asteroids and other bodies.
In their paper called “Affordable, Rapid Bootstrapping of the Space Industry and Solar System Civilization,” published in the Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Phil Metzger, Anthony Muscatello, Robert Mueller and James Mantovani detail an intriguing path toward developing a self-sustaining, space-based industry that would use resources from asteroids and other heavenly bodies to meet the needs of…
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