NASA has awarded a group of United States-based researchers a contract to explore the feasibility of asteroid mining.
According to Universe Today space architect Marc Cohen will lead the research project, and he'll be joined by two trajectory and robotics specialists and a mineral economist.
Universe Today reports the research will explore the kinds of spacecraft needed for asteroid mining, and will look at the mining technology and business model required for a space mining project.
The ultimate goal is for NASA to find an economically viable asteroid mining proposal, but Cohen said he was skeptical of finding success.
Earlier this year Planetary Resources said its first telescope, which would be used to find near earth asteroids for mining, would be ready in early 2014.
Image: Universe Today/ Marc Cohen