Looks like the private industry is finally going to get a big push into space. Google’s CEO Larry Page and executive chairman Eric Schmidt, James Cameron, Ross Perot Jr., and some other tech billionaires are behind a new company called Planetary Resources, Inc
They say that platinum metals would be their focus; platinum alone is worth $23,000 a pound. By mining only the first few feet of a modestly sized asteroid, it would yield about $6 billion. $6 BILLION! There are roughly 9,000 asteroids orbiting near the Earth. Even if it averages out to $1 billion per asteroid (still only talking platinum)…that’s a lot of money.
The key question is whether to bring the ore back home for refinement or to do it in space. To bring it home is not cost effective and defeats the economical purpose for this endeavor. If done in space it could jump start the colonization of the solar system. Other materials like water could be used for life support and rocket fuel, enabling us to refuel and travel further than before. This is an exciting time as we have future minded people with the money to bring our dreams into reality.