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Asteroid Mining

— Space

New gamma-ray spectroscope would reveal what lies within for asteroid miners

Asteroid mining is a potential trillion-dollar industry, but before any prospectors start fitting their mules of spacesuits, surveying is going to be more important than extraction. To help find out if its worth going to a particular asteroid, scientists from Vanderbilt and Fisk Universities, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, and the Planetary Science Institute are developing a new gamma-ray spectroscope that's capable of scanning asteroids, moons, and other airless bodies for gold, platinum, rare earths, and other valuable minerals.

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— Space

Planetary Resources finally deploys first spacecraft after explosive setback

The asteroid-mining industry has taken a step closer to becoming an actual thing, with the successful deployment of Planetary Resources' Arkyd 3 Reflight (A3R) spacecraft from the International Space Station Wednesday night. The A3R's three-month mission will be used to test and validate some basic technologies that the company hopes to incorporate in future spacecraft that will prospect near-Earth asteroids for potentially valuable resources.

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— Space

NASA narrows the field on advanced space technology concepts

NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program has advanced to its second phase, green-lighting a series of futuristic technological concepts for further agency-backed development. The program's chief objective is to foster clever ideas that help shape future aerospace exploration and, with interstellar submarines and swarms of tiny satellites, it offers a mind boggling picture of what future space travel might look like.

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— Space

Roving soft-robots invade NASA's future technologies shortlist

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts NIAC program has announced 15 phase I winners in its quest to make science fiction science fact. The aim of the program is to encourage the innovation of ideas with the potential to transform future aerospace and exploration operations, but more importantly, it grants us a tantalizing and often fantastical glimpse of what the future may hold.

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— Space Feature

Mining the heavens: In conversation with Planetary Resources' Chief Engineer

It wasn't long ago that asteroid mining was only found in the pages of science fiction. Now, with increasing interest in the commercial exploitation of space, companies are springing up to turn asteroids from things that Bruce Willis blows up, into raw materials for future travellers and colonists. One such firm is Planetary Resources, which is currently winding up a KickStarter campaign aimed at raising public awareness about asteroid mining by offering the public access to a space telescope. Gizmag visits the company’s Bellevue, Washington headquarters and talks to the President and Chief Engineer, Chris Lewicki. Read More
— Space

NASA working on RASSOR robot space excavator

Recently we've seen preliminary asteroid mining plans from Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, but what about NASA? The government agency would like to do some excavating on the Moon, Mars, and asteroids, too – but it isn't in it for the profit. NASA wants to clear the way for construction projects and mine materials for use by astronauts, and is developing a teleoperated robot called the Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR, pronounced "razor") to get the job done. Read More
— Space

Planetary Resources shows off full-scale asteroid mining prototype

Last year, we took an in-depth look at Planetary Resources’ asteroid mining plans. Now the Bellevue, Washington-based company has revealed a full-scale prototype of its Arkyd-100 Low Earth Orbit spacecraft that will search for promising mining candidates. In a video update, Planetary Resources President and “Chief Asteroid Miner,” Chris Lewicki gave a tour of the 11 kilogram (24.2 lb) spacecraft’s features and outlined the company’s immediate goals. Read More

NASA announces advanced technology proposals

A submarine glider to explore the ocean of Europa, a solid-state air purification system and a way of making concrete out of lunar soil for Moon colonies - these are a few of the 28 proposals that NASA has selected for study and development under its NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program. Part of the larger Space Technology program, NIAC is the space agency’s way of kick-starting innovation that has the potential to improve future missions, aerospace systems and other capabilities. Read More
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