Asteroids studies with the Kepler Space Telescope for Future Asteroid Mining

Resource extraction in space is quickly growing into one of the big goals of space exploration in the 2020s. Asteroids offer vast quantities of water and metals needed for space exploration, and ways to extract these in space are underway. However, very little is known about asteroids that cross near the Earth which would be the targets for future missions. The Kepler Space Telescope, especially the K2 mission, has potentially hundreds or thousands of previously undetected asteroids. Because of Kepler’s unique ability to monitor an object every 30 minutes, not only can we discover new asteroids, but measure fundamental properties like their speed, orbit, rotation, and mass which will be key to identify future targets and follow-up.

Interesting targets will be followed-up with other facilities like the ANU 2.3m telescope to measure the composition of these asteroids and what material they may contain.