Real-World Mining Feasibility Studies Applied to Asteroids, the Moon and Mars


Recent directives from national leadership in the US have proposed manned exploration and mining on asteroids. While there are dozens of locations in the solar system with potential resources for mining, not all of them are equally promising. A short introduction to the principals of mining feasibility studies can demonstrate that the financial feasibility of mining asteroids is quite questionable regardless of any technical plausibility, especially when compared to other more viable options for mining in space. Furthermore, mineral exploitation beyond Earth can become quite realistic and achievable in only a few years if approached correctly with the appropriate expertise and integration of technology. This paper compares the feasibility of potential mining projects on asteroids, the Earth's Moon, and Mars based on each location's dynamic nature. Key components for success, such as location, architecture, and economics are identified and quantified, since each has a significant role in mining feasibility studies that used in the industry.

Meeting Name

AIAA SPACE Conference and Exposition (2011: Sep. 27-29, Long Beach, CA)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering


American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

Keywords and Phrases

Dynamic Nature; Feasibility Studies; Manned Exploration; Mining Projects; Potential Resources; Real-World; Planning; Asteroids

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2011 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Sep 2011