Artist’s rendition of Asteroid Initiatives Solar Scout™ CubeSat Explorer deploying Chipsat Sensors at a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) a few million kilometers from the Earth.
These sensors (about the size of a credit card) will embed themselves in the asteroid (or go into orbit around it) and measure the asteroid’s properties, such as the water and metal content of the body, its mass and magnetic field, and even its internal composition. This can be done for a fraction of the cost of similar measurements from a conventional spacecraft – the entire package (Solar Scout + chipsats and their deployment mechanism) would mass about 20 kg at launch. Asteroid Initiatives will make it possible for individuals to own their own sensor to be deployed at a asteroid.
Asteroid Initiatives will substantially lower the cost of asteroid prospecting by leveraging the technology already developed for cubesats, chipsats, and cubesat solar sails, with the Solar Scout being based on the NASA developed NEA Scout.
Before you can do asteroid mining, you have to do asteroid prospecting, and the Solar Scout will make prospecting affordable.