April 24, 2012

Here's How Planetary Resources Plans to Mine Asteroids

Planetary Resources, Inc.:

“Resource extraction from asteroids will deliver multiple benefits to humanity and grow to be valued at tens of billions of dollars annually. The effort will tap into the high concentration of precious metals found on asteroids and provide a sustainable supply to the ever-growing population on Earth.

A single 500-meter platinum-rich asteroid contains the equivalent of all the Platinum Group Metals mined in history.”

(Via All Things D.)

Sounds like sic-fi, but it's not. The company is announcing its intentions at a press conference, today.

The engineering knowledge required to send a robotic craft to an asteroid, mine it and send back material is within our grasp. We already know how to get into space, mine small quantities on distant planets, and control processes from Earth.

It'll take significant production volume to make the economy of scale kick in. This effort requires space flight, after all. The only impediment to success is financial backing until that happens. Having a few billionaires on the team helps.