Wednesday, April 25, 2012

James Cameron's Trillion-Dollar Question


Today an all-star cast of adventure capitalists and space entrepreneurs—James Cameron, Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, Charles Simonyi, Peter Diamandis (creator of the X Prize), and others—announced the creation of Planetary Resources, an asteroid-mining company. (The announcement will be live streamed Tuesday off the company’s website at 1:30 p.m. ET.) In theory, asteroid mining is an enormously lucrative endeavor: a single small asteroid has been estimated to contain trillions of dollars in gold, platinum, iron, zinc, aluminum, and other minerals. The first step, its founders say, will be to launch a telescope into space to search for asteroids suitable for mining, something they claim they’ll do within two years.

Still, once suitable candidates have been identified, how would one go about getting all those minerals? As skeptics of the new company’s mission have pointed out, the challenges are enormous, and with current technology, the cost of bringing minerals back from an asteroid to Earth are so great as to dwarf the considerable market value of the minerals themselves.

Click here to see the whole article on Asteroid mining

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