With the arrival of asteroid TX68 fast approaching, many people have been asking us: Is Deep Space Industries interested in mining it? Unfortunately, the answer is: However, the biggest problem with mining TX68, as Dr. Thus, the hypothesis of a satellite orbiting around Dionysus was confirmed.
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Meanwhile, in Hawaii, the world's largest infrared telescope was being trained on Dionysus to obtain information about its size and composition. Similar observations over a broader spectral range were also made by the European Space Agency's orbiting Infrared Space Observatory. The thermal or "heat" radiation emitted by an asteroid depends on its size and the amount of sunlight it absorbs darker bodies being warmer.
In the case of Dionysus the measured radiation was much weaker than expected, indicating that the asteroid has an intrinsically bright reflective surface and is only about 1 km in diameter.
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This is much smaller than Ida, the only other asteroid known to have a moon, which is about 60 km across. Eventually it should be possible to determine the orbital radius of the satellite, its size and the inclination of its orbital plane. In order to obtain the data necessary for these determinations, observations will be continued during the present period of good visibility that lasts until September-October For this reason the discoverers have initiated an international observation campaign devoted to the study of this intriguing object and now involving astronomers from many countries.
Discovery of a Satellite Around a Near-Earth Asteroid
Satellites in orbit around small bodies in the solar system - asteroids and cometary nuclei - have been predicted on theoretical grounds for a long time, even though there is no consensus among planetary scientists about the actual numbers of such systems. Hints about the existence of asteroid satellites also come from the presence of double impact craters on the Moon and other planetary surfaces.
Moreover, measurements obtained when an asteroid passes in front of a relatively bright star a so-called 'occultation' have on a few occasions shown features which could be interpreted as due to the presence of a satellite.
However, because of the difficult nature of such measurements, it has never been possible to draw unambiguous conclusions. The existence of double asteroids was invoked earlier by Petr Pravec and Gerhard Hahn to explain the unusual features observed in the lightcurves of two other Earth-approaching asteroids VH and AW1.
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In the case of Dionysus , however, it is possible to predict eclipse events and to confirm them by subsequent measurements. There is therefore mounting evidence that asteroid binary systems might be comparatively common. Observational programmes like the present one by the DLR and Ondrejov groups will help to verify this possibility. Most of them are thought to be fragments derived from catastrophic, past collisions between larger asteroids.
Discovery of a Satellite Around a Near-Earth Asteroid | ESO Nederland
Even without a manned mission to do a full-scale study of an asteroid, scientists know a lot about what asteroids contain. Astronomers use telescopic spectroscopy, which analyzes light reflected from the asteroid's surface, to find out what might be there. In addition to iron, nickel and magnesium, scientists think water, oxygen, gold and platinum also exist on some asteroids.
Water interests space explorers most because it could help keep a space colony alive.
Without water, there is really no way to move forward with human exploration of space. Water could also be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen to form rocket engine propellant. The metal ore on the asteroids could be mined and used for building spacecraft and other structures for a space colony. Corporations that might not be interested in exploring space for the adventure and science could be interested in the treasures that a space mining operation could send back to Earth.