Asteroid Mining On the Way?

I came across a couple of articles that called attention to an upcoming announcement by a new company called Planetary Resources and the possibility that it will operate as an asteroid mining business. On Tuesday, April 24, Planetary Resources will host a conference call that it claims will “create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources.'” Planetary Resources also claims that it will “overlay two critical sectors — space exploration and natural resources — to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP.” And who exactly is making these claims? Planetary Resources is backed by Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, director James Cameron, and the son of Ross Perot, among others.

Both articles speculate that Planetary Resources intends to launch an asteroid mining venture. Why? Well, X Prize founder is at the head of the operation. In 2005, Diamandis gave a TED talk where he focused on asteroid mining. He said that he could finance mining a “20 trillion dollar” asteroid full of nickel-iron alloy by speculating in the precious metals market. But the technology is probably a couple of decades away. There are a number of technical problems that need to be resolved, but asteroid mining could be a very cool industry.

Planetary Resources conference call will be streamed, so stay tuned to see if asteroid mining will move from the realm of science fiction to reality.