Gamma-Ray Spectroscopy on an Asteroid Could Help Find the Mother Lode
Artist’s concept of an asteroid redirect mission, in which new gamma-ray detecting technology might be used to assess an asteroid’s mining value.
Now that President Obama has signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitive Act into law, also known as the SPACE Act of 2015, the concept of mining asteroids has taken another step from the realm of science fiction into the real world. Such companies of Planetary Resources, Inc. can now start making more firm plans to utilize asteroids for their raw materials.
Of course, space mining isn’t going to start anytime soon. That’s because the infrastructure to get people and mining equipment out to an asteroid isn’t exactly in place. But, with the successful launch and soft landing of the Blue Origin rocket, and the continuing tests of other boosters and launch services by such companies as SpaceX, and space agencies such as NASA and ESA, figuring out HOW to get to space (and get mining equipment to an asteroid) will happen in the not-too-distant future.
Seeing Inside a Rocky Body
Once you get “out there” to do some mining, how do you tell which asteroids are ...