Harvesting space resources to accelerate humanity’s expansion into the solar system is the focus of Asteroid Mining 101: Wealth for a New Space Economy, a new book written by globally recognized expert Dr. John S. Lewis. This fascinating new title is now available in both hardback and downloadable formats. Purchase your copy here.
The book documents how space miners are working to discover the richest near Earth asteroids (NEAs) and transform them into the essentials required for an ever-growing human presence beyond the planet’s surface. The book traces how meteorites – pieces of asteroids that have fallen to Earth – give us a window into the abundant resources that await space miners, from metals to build space settlements to fuel and oxygen to operate them. However, the most valuable asteroid types carrying abundant water and hydrocarbons remain mysterious – they are so fluffy and fragile that samples almost never reach the ground. Dr. Lewis notes that the luckiest asteroid prospectors will be those that find NEAs that actually are dormant comets comprised of 75 percent water and other volatiles.
“Reading Asteroid Mining 101 made me want to grab my favorite pickaxe and put on a spacesuit,” said Geoff Notkin, science writer and host of TV’s Meteorite Men and STEM Journals. “Almost everything that I care most about can be found within the pages of this remarkable work: meteorites, comets, asteroids, robots, geology, mining and even spaceships. Dr. Lewis goes into fascinating detail on the origin and composition of meteorites, then takes us on a journey to the asteroids themselves. The reader begins to grasp the staggering scientific and material wealth awaiting us within these cosmic rubble piles.”
Dr. Lewis estimates that once humanity establishes itself in Earth orbit and beyond, NEA resources could support 400 billion people living in abundance – more than 50 times today’s global population. These asteroid-derived resources could be recycled and reformed to keep space civilization running indefinitely, relying on the Sun to provide the required energy.
NEAs orbit the Sun in roughly the same path that Earth follows and offer immense opportunities to improve human existence; 12,000 have been charted to date, out of an estimated two million. Expanding to the main belt asteroids orbiting between Mars and Jupiter would enable a human population 100,000 times larger. The amount of innovation and accomplishment possible from a space-based civilization is staggering.
News from Deep Space:
Deep Space Industries announced today that it has signed a contract with Astro Digital to provide several Comet water-based satellite propulsion systems. Comet is a simple, launch-safe, and cost-effective electrothermal propulsion system that uses water as a propellant and can be customized for nearly any small satellite application.Read More…
Deep Space Industries is pleased to announce that Doug Jones, formerly chief test engineer at XCOR, is joining the company’s growing team as director of propulsion systems. “We see Doug as one of the top rocket engineers in the country, and a great addition to our first-class team of small-spacecraft engineers,” said Bill Miller, the chief executive officer of Deep Space Industries. Read More…
The NIAC grant will research the manufacturing of an aerobrake system from the asteroid’s regolith (soil) collected from mining operations. The aerobrake system would act as a large heat shield that would allow the spacecraft to pass through Earth’s atmosphere, creating enough drag to slow down the payload without using propellant. Read More…
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