Credit: Planetary Resources, Inc.

Credit: Planetary Resources, Inc.

Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company, has developed an informative list of several interesting and valuable near-Earth asteroid prospecting and mining targets in the Solar System.

According to the group, many of these targets are valued in the trillions of dollars.

How they go about selecting the targets – and the technology they are developing to expand that list is contained in their latest blog post.

Space drones

For one, at the group’s spacecraft factory in Redmond, Washington, Arkyd rendezvous prospectors are being built. These “space drones” are highly capable, low cost spacecraft that will be equipped with hyperspectral and infrared sensors.

These drones would swarm prospective targets and collect information on the composition of the asteroid, analyze that information on the spot, and send back that data to a team of experts at Planetary Resources.

Already in Earth orbit, the firm’s Arkyd 3R — deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) last July — that satellite is testing several underlying technologies headed for the Arkyd spacecraft.

 Arkyd 6, launching later this year. Credit: Planetary Resources, Inc.

Arkyd 6, launching later this year.
Credit: Planetary Resources, Inc.

Slated for launch later this year, the Arkyd 6 (A6) is a slightly larger spacecraft that will carry the organization’s first infrared imaging sensor that can be utilized to identify water resources on asteroids.

Target list

“In the process of gathering additional data through our prospecting mission, we can begin to define the mission profile for extraction, and determine the final scope, cost, difficulty, and feasibility of the mission,” explains Caitlin O’Keefe, Director of Marketing at Planetary Resources, Inc.

“As we continue to gain more intelligence on the near-Earth asteroids and develop our prospecting technologies,” O’Keefe adds, “we will undoubtedly add even more exciting targets to our already growing list.”

To review a table and other information that explains the specific differences when considering a “good” target and a “non-ideal” target near-Earth asteroid, go to these edifying locations:

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