Asteroid Mining Could Be Tested On Earth’s Mini-Moons


The Giant Impact Hypothesis talks about the collision between the Earth and a Mars-sized planet dubbed as Theia. According to this theory, the debris left behind by this cosmic collision formed the Moon. However, the astronomers think that the impact also left behind some Earth’s mini-moon with which our planet occasionally meets during its orbit around the Sun. But according to a new study, we can test asteroid mining technologies on these mini-moons.

These mini-moons are, in fact, fast-moving asteroids that usually fly unnoticed, as only one so-called mini-moon has been detected, so far. However, a recent study thinks that the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), along with other upcoming technologies, can help astronomers find and study these space rocks.

The research, led by Robert Jedicke, a researcher from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, with the involvement of scientists from the University of Washington, the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), and the University of Helsinki, among others, explores the importance mini-moons study might have for science.

Earth’s mini-moons are the perfect candidates for testing asteroid mining

“Mini-moons can provide interesting science and technology testbeds in near-Earth space. These asteroids are delivered towards Earth from the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter via gravitational interactions with the Sun and planets in our solar system,” said Robert Jedicke.

Earth’s mini-moons can also help scientists better understand what asteroids are made of. Besides, these “mini-moons are perfect targets for bringing back significant chunks of asteroid material, shielded by a spacecraft, which could then be studied in detail back on Earth,” said Dr. Mikael Granvik from the University of Helsinki.

On the other hand, Robert Jedicke highlighted another great significance of Earth’s mini-moon study. Namely, the researcher thinks that exploring these fast-moving asteroids might also provide the perfect test ground for the asteroid mining industry that targets to mine asteroids for resources.


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