Asteroid Mining

Asteroids, comets and other smaller planetary bodies represent a potential source of raw materials for civilizations which have outgrown the natural resources of their home planet. Elements such as nickel, platinum and cobalt can be harvested for manufacturing purposes, while water ice can be used to support extraplanetary habitats or power spacecraft.


  • Unusual chemical indicators (particularly the absence of harvested elements) could be an indicator of asteroid mining operations, as could atypical debris, although such inferences require a level of resolution that may be impractical.
  • Because raw materials could be used to facilitate other potential technosignatures, such as Dyson spheres and other megatructures, artificial satellites and space elevators, detectability of asteroid mining may by definition require multivariate detection.


International Journal of Astrobiology
Journal of the British Interplanetary Society
David Kipping, Adam Frank, Caleb Scharf (23-Oct-2020)
International Journal of Astrobiology
NASA Technosignatures Workshop Participants (20-Dec-2018)
Duncan Forgan and Martin Elvis (28-Mar-2011)
Mark Hempsell (1-Dec-2005)
Journal of the British Interplanetary Society