Listen up space jockeys, according to NASA and a group of scientists out of Scotland we currently have all the technology we would need to corral an errant space rock and put these asteroids in a stable orbit around the Earth or Moon. Once there, they could be easily studied or mined for their resources. This space lasso act could take place as soon as 2021 when celestial object 2006 RH120 comes close (in cosmic terms) to Earth and will be easily accessible.
The scientists out of Scotland’s University of Strathclyde identified 12 candidate Easily Retrievable Objects (EROs) out of the 10,000+ objects currently catalogued near-Earth asteroids. Of these 12, 2006 RH120 is the most promising, and at a scant 4 meters wide the rock poses no threat to our planet if the math heads misplace a decimal.
Planetary Resources, as well as other new space mining firms, hope to grab such EROs and this list of 12 represents their best hope at mining an actual space rock. While many see these astro-startups as pipe-dreams, this new study shows that we have all the requisite tech to make it a reality. The only reason we don’t snag an asteroid tomorrow is that we just need to wait for the best examples to come to us. This is huge vindication for these mining firms and could prove a major step in our mastering of our own solar system.
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