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
The Mars Society of Germany has proposed ARCHIMEDES an interesting balloon based observation system
Colony Worlds discusses the danger of asteroid space mining for humans
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.
An earlier analysis of Space mining where robotic techniques are considered
Another examination of advanced automation for space missions
Near Earth Orbit mining is considered
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.
A 200 some page pdf with about 500 abstracts on reports dealing with recovery and utilization of space resources
144 page Lunares study from 2004