Document Type : Scientific extension

Authors

1 M.Sc. Student. Department of Aerospace Engineering, K. N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor. Department of Aerospace Engineering, K. N. Toosi University of Technology, , Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

In this paper, the potential capacity of asteroids to provide minerals is investigated from technical, economic, and legal points of view. To this end, Near-Earth Asteroids, which are more accessible, are considered as asteroid mining candidates. Reviewing technical issues, as well as economic evaluations for plutonium and gold, are presented. The results prove the economic feasibility of the asteroid mining industry under the assumed conditions. The most critical challenges to realize asteroid mining are not technical or economic, but legal issues. These issues raise uncertainties and hence increase investment risks. Still, Near-Earth Asteroid exploitation is technically possible. With space technology’s maturation in the near future, the demand for minerals on the one hand and their scarcity and increasing excavation costs on Earth, on the other hand, will make many governments and corporates interested in asteroid mining.

Keywords

Main Subjects

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