Space Rock Mining is Big Money.

Resources on Asteroids can be worth billions:

asteroidmining2-200x150There’s money in space mining!”

Usually that sort of bluster translates to money thrown AT space- as in tens of billions for Apollo, Shuttle, Space Station, etc.

 

Sure we’ve discovered an awful lot of important stuff, and now have commercial satellites, pretty good weather reporting, and Tang.

We also, thanks to Hubble and it’s sister telescopes, are peering at incredibly far away things, at all light wavelengths.

Follow on Space projects, like the oft delayed, but very advanced James Webb Space Telescope will let us see us all the way back – celestial matter formed near the beginning of our Universe.

“BUT There’s money in space!”

Oh, that.

Tired of waiting for NASA to do cool things like foster Space Tourism, or send humans to Mars, or, well, anything we’d seen in the summer blockbuster movies- A group of enthusiasts, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, wealthy folks, and yes a few astronauts- began the ultimate “do it yourself” plan:

Let’s create a Space Tourism industry.
Let’s supply the Space Station more safely and cheaply.
Let’s use robot spacecraft to mine our nearby asteroids for precious metals.
What once sounded like a flight of fancy may soon to become real.

A new company was announced today- It’s called Planetary Resources.

Behind this notion are some real heavyweights-

Two of the three Google principals, as well as Peter Diamandis (the creator of the X-Prize that started all this Space Fever) have joined forces with the likes of Ross Perot Jr, an ex Microsoft exec, and group of well respected spacecraft engineers.

The first series of craft will be telescopes, seeking the most promising asteroids. After that, the 200 and 300 series craft will seek, mine, and later return the minerals most in demand.asteroid-300x168

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.
Planetary Resources is betting that finding and returning a concentrated amount of precious metals out there- will beat the high financial and environmental costs of crushing a mountain for the stuff down here.

If you believe it’s important to have continued prosperity for future generations, we need resources from somewhere,” said Eric Anderson, a co-founder of Planetary Resources, in an interview with ABC News. “Near-Earth asteroids are way, way more appealing than just about any other place we might look.”

Given that it was the asteroids that put it all here in the first place… they may be onto something- and maybe there is money in space after all.

 

Portions of this article were published on our previous blog, The Work-Bench
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