World’s First Asteroid Mining Robot will be Launched by China

Origin Space, which is a private company, in Beijing, China is all ready to send out the world’s first asteroid mining robot into space in November 2020. The robot is named as ‘asteroid mining robot’ by the space start-up in China. A Chinese Long March series rocket will launch the asteroid mining robot into space. The mission will be a milestone for the space resources industry.

NEO-1

It is a small, around 30 kilograms, satellite that intends to enter a 500-kilometer-altitude sun-synchronous orbit. It will be launched as a secondary payload by a Chinese Long March series rocket. This small spacecraft with limited propulsion may take a long time to reach the moon as compared to the India’s second lunar mission- Chandrayaan-2. It used a circuitous route to go from geosynchronous transfer orbit  to the lunar orbit.

Objective

  • The robot will not be engaging in any mining work but It will only be testing the technologies.
  • The primary objective of the mission is to assess the capabilities of  asteroid mining robot.
  • It will also be testing out how well it can identify and extract the valuable resources.
  • It also aims to verify and demonstrate multiple functions including stimulated small celestial body capture, spacecraft orbital manoeuvre and intelligent spacecraft identification.

Concerns

Solar experts always warned that the solar system needs to be left alone.They say that the space must be protected from an race of mining efforts. Experts say that such races could leave humanity in a resource catastrophe in centuries. In the similar move, NASA had earlier announced that it will be buying ‘moon rocks’ from private companies in the future. It is also a cause of concern for space experts.

Other Mission of China

The private space start-up from China has also been working on ‘Yuanwang-1’,  nicknamed  as ‘Little Hubble’.  It will be launched by 2021 or early 2022. The mission will involve a lunar landing  but rest of the course is still under consideration.