The near-Earth asteroids are likely targets for resources to support space
industrialization, as they appear to be the least expensive source of
certain needed raw materials. Furthermore, exploitation of asteroids for
precious metals and semiconducting elements is a possible environmentally
friendly remedy for impending terrestrial shortages of these resources.
This paper discusses the resources available from NEAs, as well as the
technical engineering aspects of possible mining project designs,
including a survey of mission plans, mining and extraction technqiues that
may be used.
The concept of Net Present Value is briefly introduced as the
appropriate measure to determine the technical economic feasibility of a
hypothetical NEA mining operation, just as it is the appropriate measure
for the feasibility of a proposed terrestrial mining venture.