Plans for sending humans to visit an asteroid are heating up, with at least one company already scoping out the technological essentials for a deep space expedition within a decade, given the go-ahead.

The asteroid space trek is seen as both scientifically valuable and as a dress rehearsal for a Mars mission, NASA officials have said. It could also hone ideas for planetary defense to guard Earth from a messy head-on clash with a space rock.

via — ‘Plymouth Rock’ Deep Space Asteroid Mission Idea Gains Ground.

I’ve been saying for 30+ years that exploiting the asteroid belt is the key to the human race becoming a space-based civilization.

Essentially asteroids are resources on a silver platter. Why we haven’t already set up asteroid mining colonies by now is a complete mystery to me.