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Exploring the Solar System: Asteroid Mining

In this activity, learners imagine the challenges and opportunities of asteroid mining by drawing their own asteroid mining machines.

DESCRIPTION

In this activity, participants will imagine the challenges and opportunities of asteroid mining. Participants will draw their own asteroid mining machines, and consider how these devices would extract, process, and return mined materials to Earth. They can also assume roles assigned by the activity's "challenge cards," and imagine what concerns or priorities they might have as a scientist, explorer, lawyer, or engineer. While the technologies necessary for mining materials from asteroids do not yet exist, current missions exploring and studying asteroids may lay the groundwork for future asteroid mining operations. 

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DESCRIPTION

In this activity, participants will imagine the challenges and opportunities of asteroid mining. Participants will draw their own asteroid mining machines, and consider how these devices would extract, process, and return mined materials to Earth. They can also assume roles assigned by the activity's "challenge cards," and imagine what concerns or priorities they might have as a scientist, explorer, lawyer, or engineer. While the technologies necessary for mining materials from asteroids do not yet exist, current missions exploring and studying asteroids may lay the groundwork for future asteroid mining operations. 

JUMP TO BROWSE RELATED RESOURCES

TRAINING VIDEOS

OBJECTIVES

BIG IDEA

The technology necessary to mine materials from asteroids does not yet exist, but current missions and research may make them possible some day. If and when asteroid mining becomes a reality, it will come with many technical and social considerations.

LEARNING GOALS

    1. Asteroids are small, rocky objects—some contain precious metals or water ice.

    2. It’s exciting to imagine what our lives might be like in a future filled with more space exploration—and it’s also important.

    3. NASA missions are helping researchers learn more about asteroids and the resources they might contain.

Credits

YEAR CREATED
2019
OWNING INSTITUTION

Sciecenter, Ithaca, NY

FUNDING

This material is based on work supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award numbers NNX16AC67A and 80NSSC18M0061. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).


 

PERMISSIONS

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).
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DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

NISE Network products are developed through an iterative collaborative process that includes scientific review, peer review, and visitor evaluation in accordance with an inclusive audiences approach. Products are designed to be easily edited and adapted for different audiences under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. To learn more, visit our Development Process page.

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