SwRI-Led Team Discovers Surprisingly Old Surface On Near-Earth Asteroid

A Southwest Research Institute-led team has discovered that the surface geology on asteroid Bennu is older than expected. Early observations of the near-Earth asteroid (NEA) by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission indicate a surface that is between 100 million and 1 billion years old. “We expected small, kilometer-sized NEAs to have young, frequently refreshed surfaces,” said SwRI’s …Read More

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Hayabusa2 Probes Asteroid For Secrets

The first data received from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft in orbit of asteroid Ryugu helps space scientists explore conditions in the early solar system. The space probe gathered vast amounts of images and other data which gives researchers clues about Ryugu’s history, such as how it may have formed from a larger parent body. These details …Read More

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Scientist Devises A Solar Reactor To Make Water And Oxygen From Moon Rocks

Thorsten Denk’s paper Design and Test of a Concentrated Solar Powered Fluidized Bed Reactor for Ilmenite Reduction was presented at the 23rd Annual SolarPACES Conference in Chile. (Thorsten Denk – Presentation (pdf) Working over a ten year period at the Plataforma Solar de Almeria (CIEMAT) Denk has designed and built a device to make enough …Read More

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What Do We Need To Know To Mine An Asteroid?

The mining of resources contained in asteroids, for use as propellant, building materials or in life-support systems, has the potential to revolutionize exploration of our Solar System. To make this concept a reality, we need to increase our knowledge of the very diverse population of accessible Near Earth Asteroids (NEA). Last year, dozens of the …Read More

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PISCES And Honeybee Robotics Receive NASA STTR Grant To Develop In-Situ Resource Utilization

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) and Honeybee Robotics, Ltd. have received a $118,690 NASA Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to jointly develop an In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) technology that could launch the future of space settlement. ISRU takes raw, natively sourced materials and converts them into usable resources. On places …Read More

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Honeybee Robotics Secures Six Phase I SBIR/STTR Awards From NASA For Spacecraft, Drilling, And Sampling System Development

Honeybee Robotics today announced it has received four NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I awards and two NASA Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I award to develop new spacecraft systems and enabling technologies. The awards will allow Honeybee to analyze concepts for advanced future planetary exploration, sampling, in-situ resource utilization, and on-orbit …Read More

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Deep Space Industries Secures NASA Aerobrake Funding

Deep Space Industries and the University of Tennessee have been awarded NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program funding for developing technology to slow spacecraft carrying asteroid resources as they return to Earth’s orbit. The purpose of asteroid mining is to collect fuel and building materials harvested from near Earth asteroids and provide them to commercial …Read More

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Mechanism Underlying Size-Sorting Of Rubble On Asteroid Itokawa Revealed

In 2005, the Hayabusa spacecraft developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) landed on Itokawa, a small near-Earth asteroid named after the famous Japanese rocket scientist Hideo Itokawa. The aim of the unmanned mission was to study the asteroid and collect a sample of material to be returned to Earth for analysis. Contrary to …Read More

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Imaging Tiny Comet Dust In 3D

Rosetta has imaged the smallest grains of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s dust yet, with its Micro-Imaging Dust Analysis System, MIDAS. MIDAS works by collecting and then physically scanning grains with an Atomic Force Microscope. This uses a very fine tip, a bit like an old-fashioned record player needle, that is scanned over a particle. The deflection of …Read More

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SwRI’s BORE Microgravity Payload Flies Aboard Commercial Suborbital Spaceflight

A Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) experiment designed to assess the surface properties and processes of near-Earth asteroids successfully flew aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle April 2. The Box of Rocks Experiment (BORE) consists of two transparent boxes enclosing two types of rocks that simulate an asteroid’s regolith — the layer of loose, heterogeneous …Read More

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