Asteroid Mining
Jake Pan
What are Asteroids?
 Asteroids are chunks of rock floating in space:
 Left over from the formation of our solar system
 Created when two larger objects collided
Why would l want to mine them?
 Asteroids contain:
 Metals like iron can be used for construction
 Rare metals like platinum
 Water for astronauts to drink
 A few meters across
 1000 kilometers across
 Irregular shapes
 A scale image of several different asteroids. The
largest, 4 Vesta, has an average diameter of 525 km.
The smallest, 25143 Itokawa (barely visible in this
image), is an ellipsoid with a length of 630 m and a
width of 250 m.
Where are located the asteroids?
 The planets' orbits around the Sun are represented by elliptical blue
lines, and asteroids are represented by dots. Most of the asteroids are
clustered in the "main belt" (white dots), but there are other smaller
groups of asteroids.
Which asteroids to mine?
 Information from:
 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
 The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
JPL Database
 Information about their elliptical orbits around the
 Semi-major axis: Earth’s average distance from the sun
(measured in astronomical units)(AU)
Perihelion: closest distance to the sun
Aphelion: farthest distance from the sun
Physical Information
 C-type: most common type clay and rocks and water
 S-type: iron, stony materials, platinum 17%
 M-type: metallic, nickel, iron
My Plan
 l would mine for asteroids S-type, that are near Earth for
Bring platinum back to Earth and sell it.
Land on large asteroids
Check the shape
Check the spinning speed
Check how soon will be the next approach and distance to Earth
Check how much material my spacecraft could bring back from
an asteroid in one trip
Would l have to plan multiple trips back and forth to the same
The JPL Small-Body Database Search Engine : list
of asteroids
JPL Small Body Database Browser :
Data about my asteroid Ceres
Orbital elements
Physical parameters
When it was discovered
 NASA. (n.d.). Near Earth Object Program - Introduction & Overview. Retrieved July 15,
2013, from
 Wikipedia contributors. (2013, February 25). Asteroid Spectral Types. Retrieved July 15,
2013, from
 Amos, J. (2010, June 14). Hayabusa asteroid-sample capsule recovered in Outback.
Retrieved July 13, 2013, from
 Planetary Resources. (n.d.). Asteroid Overview. Retrieved July 13, 2013, from
 NASA Solar System Exploration. (n.d.). Asteroids - Overview. Retrieved July 13, 2013, from
 Clavi, W. and Harrington, J.D. (2013, July 25). NASA's WISE Finds Mysterious Centaurs
May Be Comets. Retrieved August 9, 2013, from
 Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (n.d.). JPL Small-Body Database Search Engine. Retrieved
August 20, 2013, from
 Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (n.d.). JPL Small-Body Database Browser. Retrieved August 20,
2013, from
 The Future of Asteroid Mining Video