Back to the Asteroid Mines: Further Reading

Lauren Vogelbaum

The orbits of over 1,000 potentially hazardous asteroids (aka the scariest Spirograph). | Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Depending on which branch of the science/entertainment media you consult, asteroids are either the resource megamarts of the future or Earth's impending doom. Reality, as per the usual, lies somewhat widdershins to both concepts.

As we researched that reality for this week's video (The Future of Asteroid Mining) and audio episodes (How to Mine an Asteroid and It's Coming Right For Us), we collected our favorite sources:

First, a link to NASA's Near Earth Object Program - with the warning that it's an Intarweb rabbit hole. It includes lots of asteroid mining and impact research - my personal favorite is this table of potentially hazardous space objects ranked by risk.

Relatedly, the Impact Hazard branch of NASA's Ames Research Center goes into detail about what the scientific community can do/is doing to prepare for NEO threats.

Planetary Resources, Inc. and Deep Space Industries, the two leading asteroid mining companies, have made lots of headlines. Phil Plait wrote a bunch of them, including one on the ARKYD telescope and one on PRI's overall strategy.

On the podcast, we discussed how all that glitters isn't gold -- scientifically speaking. Learn more about the rarity of and demand for other elements.

And finally, I'll leave you with some of the most dignified snark of the late 20th century: Plait's breakdown of the bad astronomy in "Armageddon" and Ebert's "Armageddon" review. And the trailer, in case you have forgotten (or, better, never witnessed) some of the film's flashiest moments.

Do you think the current asteroid mining plans will be successful? Wanna show us pictures of your space object impact bunker? Have a confession to make about your fondness for a particular bad-science disaster movie? The comment section is a veritable mine of conversation opportunities.