Once again I have a posting in the space carnival. I give a review of the current state of space funding and development in the USA and briefly for other major space organizations
This is why I believe that robotics and advanced automation should be creatively examined and to start by exploiting near earth objects. Although Mars and lunar resources should also be used since we are and will be sending robotic probes there regularly.
IEEE spectrum examined space mining in August, 2001. The idea was to start with mining trapped ice on near earth objects and then proceed to metals mining.
I think more creative engineering design and systems design needs to be performed. The goal of the design should be adapt process steps that are more easily deployed and utilized in space environments.