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Planetary resources and asteroid mining: what you need to know

by Laura Domela

April 24, 2012 at 4:54 PM

Planetary Resources just wrapped up a press conference in Seattle, officially announcing both its existence and its ambitious plan to mine near-Earth asteroids. We were listening in live, and here's everything you need to know about how this asteroid mining plan is going to work and when it's going to happen.

Essentially, Planetary Resources is looking to send spacecraft to mine near Earth asteroids for resources, ranging from precious metals (like platinum) to water. The company has assembled a team of engineers and visionaries with a large helping of financial support from the likes of Larry Page and James Cameron, and today they went public with their vision for the future of harvesting resources from space.

There are between 500,000 and 1,000,000 near-Earth asteroids greater than 50 meters in size, and any one of them might be brimming with useful goodies. Planetary Resources thinks that we've gotten to the point where it makes sense (both technologically and financially) to take advantage of this.

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