There’s a place bathed in light. A place rich in “soil,” including organics and various minerals. It’s in space, yet there’s plentiful water. The pioneers are already building their craft, and even scored a test flight.
And the best part? It’s even easier to reach than the Moon. Oh, you thought I was talking about the Moon?
Just one or two generations ago, space planners, key astronomers, and other jostling analysts dismissed asteroids as dumb rocks- the detritus, the crumbs left after the feast of the planets. It is now the 21st Century, and for the Small Body community, now is our time. Note I said “small body”; it has long been suspected that asteroids and comets form a continuum. This century, we’re sure; a continuum spanning from interstellar dust, and ring particles, to planetesimals (“mega asteroids” and the building blocks of planets) and moons. We also know how to travel through space like never before, so long as certain pitfalls are avoided.
This Friday, June 30, is Asteroid Day. Join me, that day and in the 21st Century, as we take humanity and the bounds of human knowledge to a place not even plannable in the ’80s, let alone the ’60s. Let’s go.