Tech Billionaires Unveil Asteroid Mining Plans
Google bosses and Avatar director James Cameron have teamed up to form a company that aims to mine natural resources from asteroids.
The project, which will require a massive investment and huge advances in technology, was launched at The Museum of Flight in Seattle.
The plan is to use commercially-built robotic ships to extract rocket fuel and valuable minerals including gold and platinum out of the rocks that routinely whiz by Earth.
One of the founders of Planetary Resources Inc has predicted they could have their version of a space-based gas station up and running by 2020.
The first step, to be taken in the next 18 to 24 months, will be the launch of a series of private telescopes that would search for the right type of asteroids.
Planetary Resources has vowed to combine the sectors of "space exploration and natural resources" in a venture that could add "trillions of dollars to the global GDP".
It was co-founded by Eric Anderson, a former Nasa Mars mission manager, and Peter Diamandis, the commercial space entrepreneur behind the X-Prize, a competition that offered $10m (£6.2m) to a group that launched a re-useable manned spacecraft.
Anderson says the company will prove doubters wrong. "Before we started launching people into space as private citizens, people thought that was a pie-in-the-sky idea," he said.
"We're in this for decades. But it's not a charity. And we'll make money from the beginning."
Investors and advisers to the company include Google CEO Larry Page and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and explorer and film director Cameron, the man behind the blockbusters "Titanic" and "Avatar."
The venture will be the latest foray into the far-flung for Cameron, who dived last month in a mini-submarine to the deepest spot in the Mariana Trench.
The plot of his 2009 science fiction hit Avatar concerned resource mining on alien planets.
Asteroids are made mostly of rock and metal and range from a couple of dozen feet (7m) wide to nearly 10 miles (16k) long. Planetary Resources will initially target the 1,500 that pass near Earth.
what do you think?
its about time. only been in space 70 years!
Aliens the movie for real?
God speed and luck!!
Count me in.!!tenner in post
Wow films becoming reality or just dreams!
THE ... asteroid belt ... has formed during the course of ... FOUR or FIVE billion years. Each rock is now carefully balanced after all unbalancing rocks fell towards the centre of the solar system and burned up. It is not sensible to ... mess about with ... carefully balanced ... asteroids. When people start mining asteroids, the reality will be ... space suit damage and very rapid death leaving others to not want to mine asteroids but to live on the Garden of Eden Earth, where they belong.
Sorry I....don't.....get what you....mean
I believe... Captain James T Kirk has... COMANDEERED... Adrian Wagstaff's account. This.... is preposterous... to behold. Something... must be done... to stop this TERRIBLE occurance.
Make a station on the moon to do the work from. be a cool job i think
What distance from Earth is the nearest asteroid?
about 50000km. As far as I can tell. If you google it though you just get page after page of 'WHICH ASTEROIDS ARE ABOUT TO KILL YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN?!'.
What a load of poppycock - let them stick to films or tidy up planet Earth before taking the rubbish elsewhere. When they've invented a quiet dustcart then start widen the dream. In a world where more is paid for a supposed football star than is put into running a hospital, we've a lot more that can do with sensible attention.
Well said, Fred. Sounds to me that they are a group of rich kids that don't know what to spend their fortunes on next.
Live long and prosper
but i saw bruce willis do this years ago
Ok crush the asteroids use em all up what do we crush next ? The moon for cheese ? Mars for chocolate ? Scientists for suggesting it or the human race for consuming so much unneccessary rubbish in the first place. I think we need to go back 50 years or so and have a rethink on the future.
Adrain Wagstaff very well put if they mess with these Asteroids it could be that they will change course over time and crash head on into our planet. I SAY LEAVE WELL ALONE