Is Planetary Resources headed to space for a spot of asteroid mining?
Yesterday, an unknown company called Planetary Resources sent out a press release drumming up excitement for a new space venture that it claimed would "help ensure humanity's prosperity."
The press release went on to detail that Planetary Resources would combine space exploration and natural resources to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP.
"This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of 'natural resources,'" the release declared.
On top of that lofty statement, the project has the support of Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, filmmaker James Cameron, and Microsoft's former Chief Software Architect Charles Simonyi.
So, what the heck is Planetary Resources doing? All will be revealed during a conference call on April 24. Until then, your guess is as good as ours, really. However, the good people at MIT reckon its asteroid mining. We'll give you a second to process the sheer awesomeness of those words. Asteroid. Mining. The Verge delved a little further into that possibility and actually came up with some evidence to throw weight behind the asteroid mining theory.
The evidence rests with X Prize founder Peter Diamandis who is listed as the leader of the company, and comments he made while speaking at a conference some seven years ago. The Verge's Adi Robertson writes that in 2005, Diamandis appeared at TED and spoke about an extraterrestrial environment that offered metal, minerals, real estate, and energy in "infinite quantities." Specifically, he talked about asteroid mining and claimed he could finance mining a '20 trillion dollar' asteroid full of nickel-iron alloy by speculating in the precious metals market.
Aside from Diamandis' involvement, Planetary Resources also counts commercial space entrepreneur Eric Anderson; former NASA Mars mission manager Chris Lewicki; and planetary scientist & veteran NASA astronaut Tom Jones, as core members. The company's conference call will take place next Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. PDT, so stay tuned!