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Articles from EXPLORATION & GEOPHYSICS (87 Articles)

Precious metals like platinum are in abundance in asteroids.
Precious metals like platinum are in abundance in asteroids.

Vision for asteroid mining

After bits and pieces of information appearing over the past few weeks, the whole story to mine near-earth asteroids was revealed by Planetary Resources at a media conference in the US. The company intends to launch its first spacecraft within two years.
Mining on asteroids is for any resource considered worthwhile - from propellant in water to precious metals and minerals.

Precious metals like platinum are in abundance in asteroids. A single asteroid could hold the equivalent of all the platinum on Earth. Other minerals found in asteroids include nickel and iron.

Planetary Resources' plan is in three steps. First, the company wants to identify all near-earth asteroids, what they are made of, and how to reach them. Then the company will build the spacecraft and other capabilities necessary to mine those resources. Finally, the company will begin mining and delivering.

Planetary Resources co-founder Dr Peter Diamandis started the company in 2010 with commercial spaceflight entrepreneur Eric Anderson.

Wealthy information technology personnel such as Google co-founder Larry Page, Google chairman Eric Schmidt and former Microsoft chief architect and space tourist Charles Simonyi are the company’s backers.

Dr Diamandis has told Forbes that he is trying to start a gold rush.

"Since my childhood I've wanted to do one thing - be an asteroid miner," he said. "So stay tuned on that one. If I have a near-term shot at becoming a billionaire it will probably be through my interest in asteroid mining."

Sources: Information Week, News Limited

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