What do Larry Page, Sergy Brin, Eric Schmidt, Ross Perot, K Ram Shriram, James Cameron, Peter H. Diamandis and Cahrles Simonyi have in common? Last week one may have surmised ‘Their Pubicist’. The group had the internet all wobbly over rumours that they we’re about to start-up an inter-planetary galactic mining company. The press release – bottom of this page – was all about combining space exploration with resource extraction made it all but obvious that somebody was going to announce some very ambitious plans surrounding asteroid mining. Turns out it’s not a new idea, just a press junket! Planetary Resources has officially unveiled its plans to mine in space.
Planetary Resources – www.planetaryresources.com - the 3 year old company whose backers include the above list of luminaries, used the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington to launch a bold plan to prospect on resource-rich asteroids in space not far from Earth ::::
“The promise of Planetary Resources is to apply commercial innovation to space exploration,” former NASA astronaut Tom Jones, an adviser to the start-up, said. “They are developing cost-effective, production-line spacecraft that will visit near-Earth asteroids in rapid succession, increasing our scientific knowledge of these bodies and enabling the economic development of the resources they contain.”
Planetary Resources said it was “poised to initiate” space mining missions in what it predicted would become a multi-billion-dollar industry. A single 500-metre platinum-rich asteroid contains the equivalent of all the platinum group metals mined in history, according to the company.
Low cost commercial robotic spacecraft will explore asteroids and determine their position, composition, and accessibility of resources.
“Many of the scarce metals and minerals on Earth are in near-infinite quantities in space,” Planetary Resources co-founder Peter Diamandis said. “As access to these materials increases, not only will the cost of everything from microelectronics to energy storage be reduced, but new applications for these abundant elements will result in important and novel applications.”
Asteroids are the low-hanging fruit of the Solar System. There are close to 9,000 near-Earth asteroids, and nearly 1,000 more are discovered every year.
“Water is perhaps the most valuable resource in space,” Planetary Resources co-founder Eric Anderson said. “In addition to supporting life, water will also be separated into oxygen and hydrogen for breathable air and rocket propellant.”
Asteroid mining will allow the delivery of resources to the point of need, be it a fuel depot orbiting the Earth, or elsewhere in the Solar System.
More than 1,500 of the approximately 9,000 known NEAs are as reachable as the Moon in terms of how much energy it would take for the trip, the start-up says.
“Our mission is not only to expand the world’s resource base,” said Planetary Resources chief engineer Chris Lewicki. “We want to increase people’s access to, and understanding of our planet and solar system by developing capable and cost-efficient systems.”
The company has developed the first in what it said will be a family of prospecting spacecraft dubbed Arkyd-100 Series. The company Mission Statement: Planetary Resources’ mission is clear: apply commercial, innovative techniques to explore space. We will develop low-cost robotic spacecraft to explore the thousands of resource-rich asteroids within our reach. We will learn everything we can about them, then develop the most efficient capabilities to deliver these resources directly to both space-based and terrestrial customers. Asteroid mining may sound like fiction, but it’s just science.
* * * * *
PRESS RELEASE :: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2012
*** Media Alert *** Media Alert *** Media Alert ***
Space Exploration Company to Expand Earth’s Resource Base
WHAT: Join visionary Peter H. Diamandis, M.D.; leading commercial space entrepreneurEric Anderson; former NASA Mars mission manager Chris Lewicki; and planetary scientist & veteran NASA astronaut Tom Jones, Ph.D. on Tuesday, April 24 at 10:30 a.m. PDT in Seattle, or via webcast, as they unveil a new space venture with a mission to help ensure humanity’s prosperity.
Supported by an impressive investor and advisor group, including Google’s Larry Page & Eric Schmidt, Ph.D.; film maker & explorer James Cameron; Chairman of Intentional Software Corporation and Microsoft’s former Chief Software Architect Charles Simonyi, Ph.D.; Founder of Sherpalo and Google Board of Directors founding member K. Ram Shriram; and Chairman of Hillwood and The Perot Group Ross Perot, Jr., the company will overlay two critical sectors – 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 news conference will be held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle on Tuesday, April 24 at 10:30 a.m. PDT and available online via webcast.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 24, 10:30 a.m. PDT
WHO: Charles Simonyi, Ph.D., Space Tourist, Planetary Resources, Inc. Investor
Eric Anderson, Co-Founder & Co-Chairman, Planetary Resources, Inc.
Peter H. Diamandis, M.D., Co-Founder & Co-Chairman, Planetary Resources, Inc.
Chris Lewicki, President & Chief Engineer, Planetary Resources, Inc.
Tom Jones, Ph.D., Planetary Scientist, Veteran NASA Astronaut & Planetary Resources, Inc. Advisor
9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle, WA 98108
Event will also be streamed online: http://www.spacevidcast.com/live