Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mining Asteroids: Billionaires' Plan

James Cameron and Investors Seek to Lasso and Mine an Asteroid

The filmmaker is joining Google and Microsoft execs in a venture to mine asteroids for commercial use that would ‘add trillions to global GDP.’ But while lassoing an asteroid could be big business, it might just be a wild ride into space.

Imagine riding through space on your trusty scooter and, feeling the urge to lasso an asteroid, reaching out and doing just that. It is a top-notch, boyhood sci-fi fantasy. If the scooter were pink I would ride it, too.

After his journey to the icy-dark ocean depths, film director James Cameron is heading to space. He is advising a company called Planetary Resources, details of which will be unveiled today. The press release announces the stealthy company’s mission is to “overlap” space exploration and natural resources with a plan that will “add trillions of dollars to the global GDP,” and “help ensure humanity’s prosperity.”

MORE: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/24/james-cameron-and-investors-seek-to-lasso-and-mine-an-asteroid.html

Does Asteroid Mining Violate Space Law?

Date: 24 April 2012 Time: 02:05 PM ET

Planetary Resources plans to build swarms of low-cost robotic spacecraft to extract resources from near-Earth asteroids.
Planetary Resources plans to build swarms of low-cost robotic spacecraft to extract resources from near-Earth asteroids.
CREDIT: Planetary Resources

Several well-known billionaires are forming the new company Planetary Resources with plans to send a robotic spacecraft to mine precious metals from an asteroid and bring them back to Earth. Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt and their business partners say the enterprise will "add trillions to the global GDP."
But to whom do those trillions belong — the company, or everyone? Does a private company have a right to stake claim to an asteroid, or are celestial bodies such as the moon, planets and asteroids the communal property of all Earthlings?
"The law on this is not settled and not clear," said Henry Hertzfeld, professor of space policy and international affairs at George Washington University. "There are lots of opinions on the status here, and nobody is necessarily right because it's complicated."

MORE: http://www.space.com/15408-asteroid-mining-space-law.html

Asteroids may yield precious metals, cosmic riches.
SEATTLE (AP) — Using space-faring robots to mine precious metals from asteroids almost sounds easy when former astronaut Tom Jones describes it — practically like clearing a snow-covered driveway.
Jones, an adviser to a bold venture that aims to extract gold, platinum and rocket fuel from the barren space rocks, said many near-Earth asteroids have a loose rocky surface held together only weakly by gravity.

MORE: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gjcWIEGqkBRqZSmJvxSwy9DI1twA?docId=8343374856254f27b8da6b19f5f87866


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