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Granular processes on Itokawa, a small near-Earth asteroid: implications for resource utilization

Miyamoto, Hideaki and Kargel, Jeffrey S. and Fink, Wolfgang and Furfaro, Roberto (2008) Granular processes on Itokawa, a small near-Earth asteroid: implications for resource utilization. In: Space Exploration Technologies. Proceedings of SPIE. No.6960. Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) , Bellingham, WA, Art. No. 69600I. ISBN 9780819471512.

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Crucial questions for possible utilization of Near Earth Asteroids include how to break asteroid materials down to particle sizes that can be processed. This remained difficult to answer because of the limited number and resolutions of images previous obtained through asteroid missions. Recently, the Hayabusa spacecraft obtained unprecedentedly high-resolution images of a ~300m-sized asteroid, Itokawa, which gives unique opportunity to discuss the nature of surface materials on a small asteroid. Hayabusa reveals that the asteroid is covered by fine- and coarse-grained materials, including granules, pebbles, cobbles, and boulders up to tens of meters. Gravels on this small asteroid appear to be loosely deposited along the gravitational equipotential surfaces. The existence of smooth areas as well as boulder-rich rough areas indicate that gravels should have experienced migrations and segregations. Thus, the issue regarding the breaking of asteroid materials appears to have been resolved naturally, at least for this asteroid, which has important implications for future robotic missions dedicated to resource exploration and utilization.

Item Type:Book Section
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Additional Information:© 2008 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE).
Subject Keywords:regolith, asteroid, space resources, space exploration, robotic mining operation
Series Name:Proceedings of SPIE
Issue or Number:6960
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190719-091448061
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Official Citation:Hideaki Miyamoto, Jeffrey S. Kargel, Wolfgang Fink, and Roberto Furfaro "Granular processes on Itokawa, a small near-Earth asteroid: implications for resource utilization", Proc. SPIE 6960, Space Exploration Technologies, 69600I (15 April 2008);
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:97287
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 Jul 2019 16:21
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:30

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