In The Expanse, belters are known for mining asteroids - so I wondered how they approach mining asteroids, since asteroids are known for having a a relatively short rotational period.

With their huge mass and spin one would need to either stop that spin somehow, or to have a big enough spaceship which wouldnt be affected by the asteroids spin when grabbing it.

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    Given that in the Expanse they can cross the solar system in hours, I don't see how this is a problem. Obviously they have powerful enough thrusters to get the job done
    – Hans Olo
    Aug 18, 2018 at 12:44
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    ...or a small enough ship that you can just match the asteroid's spin. Aug 18, 2018 at 13:21

1 Answer 1


So far I find no references in the books (so far... read 1 thru 3, 4 soon) and Series (thru season 6) of any raw materials processing such as smelting, refining, forming of metals or other materials. Only gathering/transporting ice for needed water is mentioned. However, such ore processing functions MUST be occurring out in the belt in order to build ships and stations and bases. We know that asteroids are very mineral rich.

SO... a couple of things may be happening.

  1. Large foundry ships and associated support craft may move from rich field to rich field, turning asteroids into useable material stocks which are then delivered to buyers and builders.

  2. Many many tiny independent ships (and also Corporate fleets) gather mineral rich asteroids and transport them to fixed base processing facility in orbit or on a moon somewhere.

ADD BJV: large scale separating, refining and forming metals are very energy intensive processes. There would need to be a very well developed infrastructure to create, control and safeguard.

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    I've listened to all the books and don't recall a mention of the specific methods of mining. There is mention of "spinning up" some of the early asteroid-stations, so they do have functional methods of changing an asteroids rotation. Feb 1, 2023 at 18:00
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    Just realized my answer does not address the real question (which was buried in the last line of OP). OP does not appear to care about mining... just spin management, a trivial issue.
    – BradV
    Feb 1, 2023 at 19:03

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