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Deep Space plans to land on asteroid by 2020

Image: Prospector-1
An artist’s conception shows the Prospector 1 probe investigating an asteroid. (Credit DSI)

One of the two big players in the asteroid mining market, Deep Space Industries, today unveiled its plan to land a 110-pound spacecraft on a near-Earth asteroid by 2020.

The spacecraft, known as Prospector-1, would study the yet-to-be-selected asteroid to determine the value of its resources for mining. It’ll also put Deep Space Industries’ water-based propulsion system to an interplanetary test.

“Deep Space Industries has worked diligently to get to this point, and now we can say with confidence that we have the right technology, the right team and the right plan to execute this historic mission,” Rick Tumlinson, DSI’s board chairman and co-founder, said in a news release.

California-based DSI and its partners in Luxembourg say they’ll launch a precursor satellite called Prospector-X into low Earth orbit next year to test the technologies that would be used for Prospector-1.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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