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Top Ten Near-Earth Asteroids for Mining
Submitted by Mr. Gary Bickford on February 15, 2017 - 3:05pm
This page presents the best candidates for asteroid mining, as determined by a variety of experts from the most recent data. Collecting data about asteroids for mining purposes requires cooperation among many parties, and diligent research. Some data comes from radio telescopes, some from optical telescopes.
This chart shows the data as the asteroids were ranked in the 2015 Integrated Space Plan poster at the time it was published. A few things have changed since then. Only a small percentage of known asteroids have been remotely assayed with enough precision to provide sufficient information for commercial purposes. New ones will rise up in the list as their prospects for commercial resource extraction (mining) improve.
Remote assay has been done using both optical and radio (microwave) frequency telescopes such as Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Radio frequency assays have somewhat different methodologies and can potentially investigate for one to two centimeters beneath the surface, below any probable coating of collected material.
Asterank, our primary source for this chart, provides an excellent resource, combining data from Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other sources, and using the data to estimate the value of the minerals available and the cost to get there, and compute a relative cost effectiveness number. In addition it shows excellent visualizations of the orbit for each asteroid.
As new data for existing and newly-discovered asteroids becomes available those numbers will of course change. The following chart shows the Asterank data as of February 15, 2017:
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