Mining the Sky – bESTology Week 14

Published by rrfenton on

Mining the Sky – bESTology Week 14 



Houston, we have a problem.  The mining industry is heading towards space and it seems to be full throttle ahead!

But one must ask, what is the future of mining?  Are we limited to mining on earth or do we begin mining on asteroids?  Is there an interest to mine in space? How do we prospect, excavate and transport the commodity?  What is the need and will there be a profit? 

Great minds not only want to know but great minds have begun the exploration to make asteroid mining a reality.  Houston, there is no problem because the brightest and BEST are coming to an asteroid near you.


Data Mining: Mining on an asteroid will have similarities to mining on earth but there will be major challenges and differences. Read and/or view the above resources then brainstorm how each of the following will differ between earth and an asteroid.

  • Exploration and discovery of metals, minerals and resources
  • Gravity
  • Transport of equipment and mined commodities
  • Drilling
  • Energy sources
  • Communication with robotic equipment
  • Habitation (shelter, food, air, etc.)
  • Careers

Continue your brainstorming session and debate with others the pros and cons of asteroid mining.

Challenge: How does the phrase “living on the land” differ when residing on earth verses on an asteroid, moon or another planet?  

Writing: As an innovative BEST scientist and engineer, solving problems comes naturally.   After reviewing the above resources, you will find that many obstacles still remain for each of these space exploration companies. Choose one obstacle they face and write a proposal of how using regolith and a 3-D printer would overcome the challenge. Determine the minerals or substances needed to be within the regolith and decide whether your proposal would need to be based on a C-, S-, or M- asteroid.

BEST Connection: After reading and/or viewing the above resources, one can conclude that 3-D printing will play a major role in asteroid mining as well as current day manufacturing. As a BEST team, discuss how 3-D printing would be an asset when manufacturing your robot and select three components that would be beneficial to print and use. Create a list of 3-D printing supplies that you would recommend to be included in future BEST Consumable kits. Submit your suggestions to your local BEST hub director.

Community Connection: Reverse role! Rather than learning about your community, this week teach others in your community about asteroid mining. Choose an audience such as an elementary school class, senior citizen group, civic organization, etc. and schedule a presentation. Prepare an overview, convincing them of the importance of asteroid mining. Create more excitement by showing one of the videos posted above. Communicate with your audience some of the high-tech careers associated with asteroid mining and encourage them to become future asteroid mining engineers!

Bloom’s Taxonomy: analyze, brainstorm, choose, communicate, conclude, convince, create, debate, decide, determine, discuss, fine, list, prepare, read, recommend, review, select, submit, teach, view

Workforce Skills: reading comprehension, active listening, critical thinking, speaking, active learning, writing, instruction, social perceptiveness, service orientation, persuasion, complex problem solving, equipment selection, systems evaluation, science, technology design

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