James Cameron Backs Planetary Resources: Asteroid Mining Firm
Planetary Resources: Use Robots to Mine Asteroids (Video)
Co-founders Eric Anderson and Peter Diamandis have launched Planetary Resources, which is, in essence, an asteroid-mining company. Planetary Resources is backed by a gaggle of Silicon Valley billionaires (including Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt), as well as James Cameron, who seems to be switching gears from deep sea to deep space.
Planetary Resources has existed for a few years already, but now its bosses want a higher profile as the company moves to actually mine something. The Planetary Resources launch (as it were) was announced at the Museum of Flight in Seattle on April 24, 2012.
Planetary Resources' mission statement reads as follows: "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."
So, as opportunities to strip-mine on Earth get slimmer, we must strip-mine other celestial bodies. That's certainly one way of dealing with the looming issue of depleted Earthly resources.
Robotics aside, a major hurdle facing Planetary Resources will be figuring out how to land a spacecraft on an asteroid. This has never been done before.
Yes, using robots to mine asteroids was part of the plot of Blade Runner.