The Aten Asteroids are located between the orbits of Mercury and Earth.

Background[edit | edit source]

In addition the the Main Asteroid Belt there are several other asteroid groups, including the Aten asteroids.

The Aten asteroids are a dynamical group of asteroids whose orbits bring them into proximity with Earth. By definition, Atens are Earth-crossing asteroids (semi-major axis < 1.0 AU and aphelion > 0.983 AU).[1]

The Aten Asteroids spend most of their time sunward of Earth’s Orbit, crossing out for a third or a quarter of their time. They have been accessible since the first days of humanity’s expansion into space, and so they were some of the first to be mined. The mining of titanium, platinum and nickel-iron had made large fortunes, however the push out into the main belt and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn had left them behind. As mining technologies improved, ore that had been exhausted generations before was rich enough for the new techniques to wring out a little more.[2]

Events[edit | edit source]

Following the destruction of the Canterbury, Darius and his crew of Sundivers on the Cassandra realize the cost of prospecting will outweigh their ability to keep up with demands of shipboard life and have to make a tough decision about their future. While prospecting in the Aten Asteroids, the crew come across a mystery on Xi-Mallow 434 that forces a tough decision.[3]


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