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Asteroid resourcesThere are three types of possible asteroidal materials that appear to be attractive for exploitation: (1) volatiles, (2) free metals, and (3) bulk dirt. Because some of the near-Earth asteroids are energetically more accessible than the Moon (require a round-trip total change in velocity less than 9 km/sec, though the trip time would be measured in years not days), such an asteroid might be chosen as the source of any useful material, even if that material was also available on the Moon. Provided that the asteroid was minable, it might therefore be chosen as the source of bulk dirt needed for shielding in low Earth orbit (LEO) or elsewhere in near-Earth space. And the near-Earth asteroids may offer materials that are rare or absent on the surface of the Moon. The relationship between asteroids and meteorites is discussed. A brief overview of the entire range of meteorite compositions, with emphasis on the occurrence of interesting resources is presented. Focus is on materials useful in space, especially volatiles, metals, and raw dirt. Those few materials that may have sufficiently high market value to be worth returning to Earth will be mentioned.
Document ID
Document Type
Lewis, John S.
(Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Johnson Space Center, Space Resources. Volume 3: Materials
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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