Tech billionaires fund company to mine asteroids with robots. Pictured above, XPrize pioneer, author and co-chair of Planetary Resources, Peter Diamandis. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Director James Cameron, Diamandis, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and other tech billionaires are banding together to announce Planetary Resources, Inc., a private company slated to announce the company and planned project April 24. It’s ambitious.
It’ll be announcing a project aiming at the eventual development of robotic asteroid mining.
Planetary Resources Inc., a private billionaire-backed space outfit, will unveil April 24, 2012. The idea is to mine asteroids and, eventually, the moon, for precious metals and fuel producing isotopes. Wired has a great deep dive on this.
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.
Despite the promise of astronomical profits, the long time-scales and uncertain return on asteroid mining has historically driven most investors away from such undertakings. But the new company is also backed by a number of other billionaire luminaries, including Google’s CEO Larry Page and executive chairman Eric Schmidt, former Microsoft chief architect Charles Simonyi, and Ross Perot Jr. The venture also counts on filmmaker James Cameron, former astronaut Tom Jones, former JPL engineer Chris Lewicki, and planetary scientist Sara Seager as advisers.
XPrize leader Diamandis is its co-founder and co-chairman.
It sure sounds like it: Here’s an excerpt from the release giving a sneak peak to journalists today:
… the company will overlay two critical sectors – space exploration and natural resources – to add trillions of dollars to the global (GDP). This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources.
A live streaming announcement is slated for tomorrow.
We’ll be following this closely.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 24
10:30 a.m. PDT
Here is what the secretive Planetary Resources has on its site so far — a list of who is involved, details for where the press event will be held in Seattle and that they will be doing a live stream of the event.
WHO: Charles Simonyi, Ph.D., Space Tourist, Planetary Resources, Inc. Investor
Eric Anderson, Co-Founder & Co-Chairman, Planetary Resources, Inc.
Peter H. Diamandis, M.D., Co-Founder & Co-Chairman, Planetary Resources, Inc.
Chris Lewicki, President & Chief Engineer, Planetary Resources, Inc.
Tom Jones, Ph.D., Planetary Scientist, Veteran NASA Astronaut & Planetary Resources, Inc. Advisor
9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle, WA 98108
Event will also be streamed online.