Martian moon could be crucial for asteroid mining – by Staff ( – June 21, 2022)

Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have shown that mining the Main Belt of asteroids that orbit between Mars and Jupiter could be done profitably if spacecraft were deployed from a station in an orbit similar to that of the Martian moon Phobos.

In a paper published in the journal Planetary and Space Science, astronomers Martin Elvis, Jonathan McDowell, and past Harvard undergraduate Anthony Taylor, explain that even though space mining will likely start with near-earth objects (NEOs) or asteroids whose paths cross the earth’s orbital path, it will eventually start looking at the Main Belt of asteroids, as it contains about 10,000 times more resources than NEOs.

However, profitable mining entails balancing more than just the cost of travelling across a distance, and any asteroid mining operation must take into account the expense of the rendezvous—slowing the spacecraft down once it arrives—as well as the cost of shipping the ore back to a processing facility.

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