Is Asteroid Mining Ready to Take Off?

Posted by on April 19th, 2012
asteroid mining.jpg

Space blog superstar Phil “Bad Astronomer” Plait has a prediction about a news conference set to take place next Tuesday. It will feature Peter Diamandis, leading commercial space entrepreneur Eric Anderson, former NASA Mars mission manager Chris Lewicki and planetary scientist & veteran NASA astronaut Tom Jones.

It promises an announcement nothing short of “a mission to help ensure humanity’s prosperity.”

Plait says that means the mining of asteroids.

The big clue comes from the press release.

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’.

Plait breaks it down…

If I were being optimistic, I might say something like this could get off the ground in 20 years or so, depending on several variables, and maybe sooner. Let me be frank: I don’t think this is a crazy idea.

This’ll take a lot of money… but he seems to have some fairly wealthy people — billionaires, and more than one — affiliated with this. So whatever idea he’s got, he’s being backed very seriously for it.

Will it be “Drill baby drill!” on Tuesday? We will have to wait and see but the concept is something truly mind blowing. For all the nostalgic handwringing surrounding the Discovery’s assisted flight around Washington D.C. this week, the dawn of a bold new space age is upon us.

Except this time, we aren’t visiting. We are annexing. We are occupying. We are moving in.

[Bad Astronomy]

One Response to “Is Asteroid Mining Ready to Take Off?”

  1. mxyzptlk Says:

    It’s no coincidence that the Bad Astronomer’s nickname is Bad Ast.

    (Isn’t there supposed to be more gold in a few of those asteroids than in all of Earth?)