Asteroid mining

Image of Adromeda Galaxy in infrared.

Image of Adromeda Galaxy in infrared. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not everyone is terrified of asteroids.

Enterprising miners from the Prospectors and Developers Annual Conference in Toronto last month are thinking of ways to drill into asteroids and strike it rich.

Some asteroids are full of valuable minerals, which companies like Deep Space Industries plan to mine and refine in outer space. Initially, you may think the costs may seem astronomical. However, when you consider the costs of launching new material to repair satellites at $25,000 a kilogram, the whole scheme may not seem so far fetched.

There are roughly 9,000 near Earth asteroids and the company expects to launch its first fleet of prospecting spacecraft by 2015. They will look for water, nickel, iron and other minerals.

By cannibalizing asteroids, we also make the solar system a safer place to live.

Here are April stargazer events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.

Planet watching

Mercury can be seen in the dawn sky becoming brighter each morning. Venus can be seen in the western evening sky later in the month. Jupiter is in the western evening sky setting late evening. Saturn can be seen most of the night.

April 2 – Comet PanSTARRS can be seen near the Andromeda Galaxy for the next three nights in the northwest evening sky.

April 12 – Hamilton Amateur Astronomers meeting 7:30-9:30 p.m., Spectator building, 44  Frid St., Hamilton. Guest speaker: McMaster University Astronomer Doug Welch. Light Echoes from Luminous Transients – An Exploration of Asymmetries and Time Evolution. Free admission with door prizes. An optional food bank donation of non-perishable goods will be collected.

April 13 – The waxing crescent moon between Pleiades and the Hyades star clusters in the evening sky. This could make a great photo op.

April 14 – The waxing crescent moon is close to Jupiter in the evening sky.

April 22 – The Lyrids meteor shower peaks in the morning sky. Look towards the east from a dark location. You could see up to 20 meteors per hour. Some are also visible April 16-25.

April 24 – The Gibbous moon is extremely close to Spica.

April 25 – The full moon called the Pink Moon is just below Saturn.

April 28 – Tonight Saturn will be at its closets point to us for 2013 at a mere 1.3 billion kilometres. You can see it all night rising at sunset in the eastern sky.

April 30 – To Boldly Go: Astronomy 101, 7-8:30 p.m., Burlington Central Library. Presented by club observing director John Gauvreau. This is a free event and for more information www.bpl.on.ca/

For more information, please see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers web site at www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323.

Mario Carr is the club’s director of public education and appears on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky. He can be reached at mariocarr@cogeco.ca.

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About Mario Carr

Mario Carr has a Physics degree from McMaster University and hosts this blog. He is the director of public education for the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers and has helped to raise the profile of the group. He writes an astronomy column and appears on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky. Mario is the founder of the Carr Marketing Group in Burlington, Ontario and can help with your marketing, communications, publicity and public relations needs. He can be reached at www.carrmarketinggroup.com or mariocarr@cogeco.ca.
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One Response to Asteroid mining

  1. Pingback: Satellite spotting | The sky this month

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