Honolulu Science Cafe: Mining Asteroids
January 21, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm HST
The idea of mining nearby asteroids in the near future for raw materials to support both human and robotic space exploration is becoming a reality. The relatively inexpensive materials mined from asteroids will enable the construction of large space habitats with synthetic gravity that support agriculture and a thriving human community. Cheap fuel delivered directly from asteroids will provide the energy that will allow future spacecraft to regularly reach Mars, the asteroid belt, Jupiter, and beyond. New companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX are reducing the cost of getting into space to a level at which asteroid mining could be profitable within the next couple of decades.
Dr. Robert Jedicke was drafted at the top of the 3rd round by the B.C. Lions in the Canadian Football League in 1985, but instead of colliding with football players he pursued careers in colliding sub-atomic particles and colliding asteroids. He has been at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy for the last 16 years, where he developed software crucial to the Pan-STARRS telescope project. His current research interests include studying the properties of interstellar objects and developing spacecraft concepts to identify asteroids that can be profitably mined.
Robert gave us his “Einstein versus Santa” presentation in 2015.