Join Donate

Share Your Story • Thomas Wm. Hamilton • December 10, 2012

Asteroid Mining and Colony Bases

When I worked on the Apollo Project at Grumman Aircraft a memo was circulated in the summer of 1964 asking for suggestions for uses of Apollo hardware after the lunar landings were completed. I swiped a couple minutes on the IBM 7094 and wrote a proposal for landing on a Near Earth Asteroid. Grumman liked the idea enough to forward it to NASA. Months later I heard NASA turned it down, as in those days only eight NEAs were known, and passes close enough for a reasonable chance at landing were rare. Also, NASA felt the entire thing was marginal. Of course, now an asteroid landing is actually being considered. I would hope such a landing would happen by 2018, a return lunar landing in 2020 followed almost immediately by the start of a permanent lunar base. For Mars, a small fleet of unmanned vehicles landing supplies around 2024, with human crews following, using the previously landed materials. A manned landing near one of Mercury's poles no later than 2030.

Comments & Sharing
Bill Nye and people
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today

The Planetary Fund

Help advance robotic and human space exploration, defend our planet, and search for life.


You are here: