Planetary Resources plans to develop prospector probes, which will determine the composition of asteroids before they are mined.
Credit: Planetary Resources
On April 23, a team of entrepreneurs announced a new venture aimed at mining the solar system. The Planetary Resources company, backed by filmmaker James Cameron, Google co-founder Larry Page and others, plans to launch a line of spacecraft to prospect, and eventually extract minerals from, near-Earth asteroids.
The ambitious project aims to advance space exploration by mining water from asteroids and selling it to spacecraft for use as fuel as well as for astronaut use. The company also intends to dig up platinum-group metals such as ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum, from asteroids and return them to Earth. These elements are hard to find in space, but come in handy for manufacturing, electronics and other applications.
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