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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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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The Art Of Landing On An Asteroid

Researchers in France have customised a drop tower to simulate landing a CubeSat on an asteroid in the near-absence of gravity – part of the preparations for ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission. “We’ve taken an existing drop tower, previously designated for aircraft and material drop-tests, to simulate a low-gravity landing,” explains Naomi Murdoch of the Institut …Read More

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