A group of entrepreneurs, including Google CEO Larry Page and executive chairman Eric Schmidt, former Microsoft chief architect Charles Simonyi, filmmaker James Cameron, former astronaut Tom Jones, X Prize co-founder Peter Diamandis, Space Adventures' Eric Anderson and others have found Planetary Resources, Inc. This new enterprise intends to mine asteroids and bring valuable elements like platinum and gold to Earth. Full details at Wired.
A group of wealthy, adventurous entrepreneurs will announce on Apr. 24 a new venture called Planetary Resources, Inc., which plans to send swarms of robots to space to scout asteroids for precious metals and set up mines to bring resources back to Earth, in the process adding trillions of dollars to the global GDP, helping ensure humanity’s prosperity and paving the way for the human settlement of space.
“The resources of Earth pale in comparison to the wealth of the solar system,” said Eric Anderson, who founded the commercial space tourism company Space Adventures, and is co-founder of a new company along with Peter Diamandis, who started the X Prize foundation, which offers prize-based incentives for advanced technology development.
Nearly 9,000 asteroids larger than 150 feet in diameter orbit near the Earth. Some could contain as much platinum as is mined in an entire year on Earth, making them potentially worth several billion dollars each. The right kinds of investment could reap huge rewards for those willing to take the risk.
Within the next 18 to 24 months, Planetary Resources intends to launch between two and five space-based telescopes to identify potentially valuable asteroids. Mining just the top few feet of a single modestly sized, half-mile-diameter asteroid could potentially yield 130 tons of platinum, which is worth around $6 billion at current market prices. However, the cost of setting up and running an asteroid mining mission is very high, and many doubt whether it can be made profitable.