Representatives from private business, NASA, Kentucky Space and the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation gathered at Shaker Village this week to discuss the feasibility of mining asteroids and the commercialization of space.
KSTC President Kris Kimmel says an unmanned mining mission to a nearby asteroid could launch in the next five to seven years. This week’s conference looked into the scientific and legal issues behind such a project.
He says asteroids contain valuable minerals in quantities that would make such missions profitable. But beyond the financial potential Kimmel says the growing interest in space exploration from groups other than NASA will be good for education.
“I think with the proliferation of space activity and greater opportunities, basically the opportunity to be involved in space is spreading out and potentially a lot more people can be involved in space,” says Kimmel.
Kimmel says Kentucky’s budding space program puts the state ahead of many others and has begun fostering math and science students in preparation for more private space missions.