Reports Hint at Asteroid Mining Project for New Space Exploration Company 'Planetary Resources'

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!

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  • Hopefully this will be an automated system, or at least remote. Costs would sky-rocket if we had to bring humans along. Those darn fleshy, needy creatures.
  • You want infinite resources?
    Use recycling technology to transform mountains of trash that piled up all over the planet into usable materials.
    We could have done this decades ago.
    Not only would it alleviate the environmental contamination, but it would also lower our need to use new untapped resources.
    And call me crazy, but wouldn't creating a fully-self sufficient society via recycling methods be cheaper than shuffling resources from space?

    I'm hardly opposed to the idea of using resources from asteroids or going into space, but people can be real morons if they are thinking we are in a shortage of any resources here on Earth in the first place (ah but wait... we live in a Capitalist society - sensibility and logic regularly fly out the window for the sake of profits and money - and its very possible that shuffling resources from space will probably require increased costs which will probably raise prices on products made from those resources - that is, if they ever reach the consumers in the first place).
  • Other Comments
  • Hopefully this will be an automated system, or at least remote. Costs would sky-rocket if we had to bring humans along. Those darn fleshy, needy creatures.
  • Sky-rocket...get it?
  • if scifi movies and books are any indicator space mining will be completely safe and demon/alien invasion free and completely safe with excellent workign conditions for all >.>

    but seriously if we have the tech to accomplish this it'd be pretty awesome assuming the added influx of mass to our planet from mined materials didn't mess with the earth's rotation/ orbit btuu i'mnot nearly smart enough to work that out so hopefully some physisist out there has already worked out the math and it'll be good for all