In July, NASA's Dawn probe became the first spacecraft to orbit an object in the asteroid belt. Its target: Vesta, the second-most-massive asteroid in the solar system, a rock big enough that it's home to a mountain three times as high as Everest. Since 2007 the craft had traveled 1.7 billion miles, propelled by a trickle of charged xenon atoms from an ion-propulsion engine. Now Dawn is gathering information that will help NASA decide whether to one day send humans to asteroids for exploration or mining.
We are Borg.
Mining of course. Exploration won't get funded if it doesn't appear to have a return on investment that will fuel the military-industrial complex.
Since Vesta is really a really big gigantic rock in space, exactly which part of it is top, sideways, bottom or whatever to say it has a mountain three times as high as Everest.
I find this comparison for rock in space, kind of goofy.
No matter which direction you look at it, it’s a rock and it’s a mountain from all directions or it not a mountain at all, but just a really big rock.
Science sees no further than what it can sense.
Religion sees beyond the senses.
It should read: "send humans to asteroids for exploration _AND_/or mining."
Don't forget about colonization, an asteroid would be the perfect place to start a new colony.
1)Not as much energy needed for escape velocity
2)Miles of rock provide the perfect shielding from radiation
3)Ready made economy (minning)
What I really want to know is how much gold, silver, and iron ore is in that thing.
An asteroid could also be develope be a space station\space ship, too.
@robot...being a bit critical aren't we, they just mean a really big bump to help illustrate how big an asteroid it is, cheers
@robot Earth is also just a big rock floating in space. Which way is up here?!?! Mind = Blown
seems to me that heavy elements, like gold, iron, lead, and so on, would have coalesced into the existing planets, instead of just floating around between Mars and Juptier... but lighter elements are worth mining too... aluminum maybe?
please read Ben Bova's Astroid Wars. It talks about mining the astroids. Not an easy feet AT ALL! the fuel cost is the largest problem.
I know it is a science fiction book, but like many other HARD science books, the authors do a GREAT deal of research and talk with real nasa engineers and astro scientist. In writing a book they often have as much knowledge as many of the scientist and put even more time into thinking of problems and solutions.
Bova brings up many REAL world problems involved and solutions.
For one it take MUCH longer to get the belt than you think. Fuel cost a lot, and to mine ore, we would not be sending a probe sized ship back, we would be sending HUNDRESDS of TONS of ore at a time. An ion drive would take a decade to push that back to lunar or earth orbit. faster drives would take much more fuel. fuel that costs money. For now mining moons and planets closer to earth is a cheaper and faster and more productive endeavor.