ASTEROIDS APLENTY. Our solar system has no shortage of asteroids. At last count, NASA estimated there were 781,454 of the rocky bodies orbiting our Sun. Tens of thousands of those are floating between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter in an area appropriately named the asteroid belt.
Before man can cross the vast distances of space, the designs of spacecraft’s sails will be key – striking a delicate balance between mass, strength and reflectivity. Working with NASA, California Institute of Technology (Caltech) scientists have created the new material out of silicon and its oxide, silica.
Space mining is the process of sending spacecraft to asteroids, moons, comets and even planets to collect valuable minerals. USGS officials are now investigating how they can expand their operation to search for resources in space – with hopes to team up with NASA.
Russia launched checks Tuesday after its space chief said an air leak on the International Space Station last week could have been caused by deliberate sabotage.