New Venture: Mining Asteroids

April 22nd, 2012
in econ_news

asteroid-near-earthSMALLEconintersect:  On April 23, 2012, at the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery at The Museum of Flight in Seattle, a company called Planetary Resources has scheduled a press conference where they will reveal details about their formation and mission.  The company is backed by an eclectic assembly of  money and glitter:  film maker James Cameron, adventurer Ross Perot Jr, founders and top executives of Google  and a longer list presented below.

Illustration is simulation of an asteroid near earth.  Click on image for larger picture.

Follow up:

A partial list of investors and advisers associated with Planetary Resources include (provided from Gizmag):

Larry Page - Google

Eric Schmidt - Google

K. Ram Shriram - Google

Peter Diamandis - X-Prize Foundation - Space Adventures - Singularity University

Eric Anderson - Space Adventures

James Cameron - Film maker and explorer

Charles Simonyi - Intentional Software and two-time space tourist

H. Ross Perot, Jr. - Perot Systems and pilot of first round-the-earth helicopter flight

Tom Jones - Former NASA Astronaut and planetary scientist

Some details that back up the speculation about asteroid mining comes from The Verge:

Looking at the evidence, asteroid mining seems pretty likely at this point, especially since X Prize founder and perpetual optimist Peter Diamandis is at the head of the operation. In 2005, Diamandis appeared at TED describing an extraterrestrial environment where "everything we hold of value on this planet — metal and minerals and real estate and energy" are available in "infinite quantities." He specifically singled out asteroid mining, claiming that he could finance mining a "20 trillion dollar" asteroid full of nickel-iron alloy by speculating in the precious metals market.

Here is the press release announcing the news conference (from MIT Technology Review):


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 entrepreneur Eric 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

WHERE: Charles Simonyi Space Gallery at The Museum of Flight

9404 East Marginal Way South

Seattle, WA 98108

Event will also be streamed online.

Editorial Comment: Perhaps this venture will double as a means of preventing a devastating asteroid impact with planet earth, such as the one that is believed to have precipitated the demise of the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. Imagine turning a potential disaster into a gold mine, literally. However, this new company most certainly will not be in a position to do anything about an asteroid that will pass dangerously close to earth in February 2013. (See Asteroid Apophis, simulated image is second one below.)


Image from Gizmag.


Image from Asteroid Apophis.

John Lounsbury


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