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Asteroid mining, illustration. Spacecraft mining on an asteroid near the Earth. Asteroids, a potential source of ores and minerals, are rocky bodies that orbit the Sun, mainly in a belt that lies between the planets Mars and Jupiter. They vary in size from small rocks to objects several hundred kilometres across. Some pass close to the Earth, or could be deflected towards or brought to the Earth.Detlev Van Ravenswaay/Science Photo Library

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