Planetary Resources--Asteroid Mining Becoming Reality

I'm a little behind the curve on this one, but in April, Planetary Resources announced its creation and its mission to start a mining operation on asteroids in near Earth orbit.  (Near Earth objects are .98 to 1.3 AUs from the Sun; and AU being the distance between the earth and the sun.)  They intend to mine these asteroids for precious metals--primarily platinum and palladium, which will give the best return on investment--and for water, which is one of the most useful resources for earth and space.

This is going to be a long-term project running, no doubt, into the billions of dollars before it bears fruit.  Good thing there are some extremely rich people with vision to set it in motion:  director James Cameron (net worth approx $700 million) and Google co-founder Larry Page (net worth 16.7 billion).  Say what you want about the "one percent," but it's the one percent with vision and ambition that will fund what we aspire to--and when they succeed, we will all benefit in things like cheaper medical equipment and automobile fuel cells.  How?  "A single platinum-rich space rock 1,650 feet (500 meters) wide contains the equivalent of all the platinum-group metals ever mined throughout human history," company officials said in an article in Space News.  (Learn more about platinum applications here:

In the meantime, they have several steps to take, many of which will mark firsts in commercial space, like the launch of the first private space telescope in low earth orbit to seek out potential asteroids.  They will also need to develop inexpensive robotic probes to check out the asteroids, and then of course, mining robots.  You can read about their process here.

I love what they say in the beginning:  "With technological advances that are coming out of exponential technologies and investors willing to bear the risk, small teams are now able to do what only governments and large corporations can do before."  That's what makes this centruy so exciting to live in.

I am definitely a fan of Planetary Resource's vision and mission.  I'll be watching to see how well they can make it a reality.

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