Feasibility study for the quantitative assessment of mineral resources in asteroids

Open-File Report 2017-1041
By: , and 



This study was undertaken to determine if the U.S. Geological Survey’s process for conducting mineral resource assessments on Earth can be applied to asteroids. Successful completion of the assessment, using water and iron resources to test the workflow, has resulted in identification of the minimal adjustments required to conduct full resource assessments beyond Earth. We also identify the types of future studies that would greatly reduce uncertainties in an actual future assessment. Whereas this is a feasibility study and does not include a complete and robust analysis of uncertainty, it is clear that the water and metal resources in near-Earth asteroids are sufficient to support humanity should it become a fully space-faring species.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Descriptive Model for Asteroids
  • Spatial Model for Asteroids
  • Deposit-Density Model for Near-Earth Objects
  • Grade-Tonnage Model for Near-Earth Objects
  • Modeling
  • Discussion
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1.ASTRA1.f
  • Appendix 2.ASTRA_INPUT.csv

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Feasibility study for the quantitative assessment of mineral resources in asteroids
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2017-1041
DOI 10.3133/ofr20171041
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description iii, 28 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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