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Tech Billionaires Plan Audacious Mission to Mine Asteroids
Space Exploration Power
" ... A group of wealthy, adventurous entrepreneurs will announce on Apr. 24 a new venture called Planetary Resources, Inc., which plans to send swarms of robots to space to scout asteroids for precious metals and set up mines to bring resources back to Earth, in the process adding trillions of dollars to the global GDP, helping ensure humanity's prosperity and paving the way for the human settlement of space.
Outside of NASA, Anderson and Diamandis are among the most likely candidates to realize such a dream. Space Adventures has sent seven private tourists to the International Space Station while the Ansari X Prize led to a spurt of non-governmental manned spaceships.
"We have a long track record of making large-scale space ventures real," said Diamandis.
The first hurdle will likely be ensuring that Planetary Resources has covered all their legal bases. While some have argued that governments need to set up specific property rights before investors will make use of space, the majority of space lawyers agree that this isn't necessary to assure the opportunity for a return on investment, said space policy analyst Henry Hertzfeld at George Washington University in Washington D.C. Mining occurs in international seabeds — even without specific property rights — overseen by a special commission dedicated to the task, he said. A similar arrangement would likely work in space.
In terms of extraction, Planetary Resources hopes to go after the platinum-group metals - which include platinum, palladium, osmium, and iridium - highly valuable commodities used in medical devices, renewable energy products, catalytic converters, and potentially in automotive fuel cells. ... "
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