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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Asteroid Mining

 A longtime interest, here some good background information.  Skeptical of some value analyses, but ultimately this will be done.

Asteroid Material Provides ‘Most Uncontaminated’ Extraterrestrial Samples Ever

By Ryan Whitwam   in  Extremetech

The Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) made history in late 2020 when it successfully recovered asteroid samples from the Hayabusa2 mission. Now, research carried out on the precious bits of rock is being published. Researchers from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science Technology confirm that the bits of asteroid Ryugu collected by the probe represent “undoubtedly among the most uncontaminated Solar System materials available for laboratory study.”

Hayabusa2 made history during its mission, and not just at the end. It arrived in orbit of Ryugu in 2018, and soon after deployed a number of small tumbling and stationary robots on the surface. This returned some incredible images and preliminary data on the nature of the asteroid’s surface. It also picked up a few bits of regolith from the surface with the aid of dense tantalum slugs fired at the surface. Later, it deployed the Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI), which launched a shaped HMX explosive charge to create a small crater on the surface, revealing material unaltered by solar radiation. 

In total, Hayabusa2 picked up 5.4 grams of material from the asteroid, which was considered a huge success. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which is still on its way back to Earth, may contain as much as two kilograms of material. In the meantime, the new study published in Nature Astronomy confirms we have a lot to learn from the Hayabusa2 samples, reports Vice.  ... ' 

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