"[Science fiction is ] That branch of literature which is concerned with the impact of scientific advance upon human beings."
One way to get materials out of an asteriod is to send a mechanical worm to chew through to what you want.
Larry Niven made use of the idea in a 1968 story - see the mining worm (organic) from A Gift From Earth.
Mining Worm (Robot)-related
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Smart Window Tints, Powers Itself
'The polawindow, which he tuned to clear transmission.'
A Basic Income TED Talk
'They de-emphasized what lack of work would do to Mr. Everyman'
What Can Magic Leap Expect From New 'Chief Futurist' Neal Stephenson?
'The goggles throw a light, smoky haze across his eyes...'
Should SETI Talk To Molecular Cloud Barnard 68?
'I myself am building basic chemicals at about 10,000,000,000 times the rate at which building is occurring on the whole ... surface of your planet.'
LikeAGlove Smart Garment Knows Your Size
'The tailor set moving a mechanism...'
EXACTO Bullets Change Course In Mid-Air
'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'
Button-Pushing Robots Have Taken Our Jobs, Thankfully
'The ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'
Puls 'Smart Watch' Replaces Your Cell Phone
Even before Dick Tracy, there were Ideas about this.
Small Molecule Walker Takes First Steps
'The bits were in motion.'
US Navy Laser Ready For Use
Fifty years from cartoon to reality.
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