New company to mine asteroids?

James Cameron, Google Execs to launch space mining company, Planetary Resources, next Tuesday.

Comments Off April 19, 2012
by Design Engineering Canada

Taking a page from one of his movies, Avatar director James Cameron, along with a number of big name investors including Google execs Larry Page and Eric Schmidt and former U.S. presidential hopeful Ross Perot, is reported to be launching a space mining company next Tuesday.

According to a media alert sent to MIT Technology Review, the new company, Planetary Resources, Inc., will “overlay two critical sectors – space exploration and natural resources – to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP.”

Rather than ruthlessly extracting “Unobtainium” from an inhabited alien planet, the venture is expected to mine asteroids, many of which are rich in industrial and precious metals. Telescopic spectroscopy studies show that asteroids and comets contain vast amounts of nickel, iron, cobalt and platinum, among other resources.

In his book, Mining the Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Comets, and Planets, Author John S. Lewis states a 1-km-diametre M-type asteroid, for example, could contain more than two billion metric tons of iron–nickel ore. In addition, NASA estimates the value of the minerals contained in the asteroid belt is approximately $100 billion for each of the six billion people on Earth.

Details of the company are still under wraps, but in addition to the celebrity list of investors, Planetary Resources will also employ former NASA Mars mission manager Chris Lewicki as president and chief engineer as well as planetary scientist and veteran NASA astronaut Tom Jones, Ph.D. as an advisor.

On Tuesday, April 24, the company’s mission will be announced by webcast from the The Museum of Flight in Seattle at 10:30 a.m. PDT.
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