Tsiolkovsii and Goddard dreamed of the day when we would have access to the resources of the asteroids.
Today, with an enormous and rapidly growing body of data on meteorites, the Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and their more distant counterparts, we can envision the propulsion systems, transportation system architectures, ores, processing schemes and markets for products made from materials sourced in nearby space. Most of these products are of greatest value and significance in space; some, such as platinum-group metals and energy, would be worth returning to Earth.
The resources of the NEAs also provide the propellants and structural materials for a broad expansion of human presence in space.
This talk will survey the what, where, how and why of space resource utilization-- and raise the timely question of when.