Expanding the resource base of humanity to include the solar system
Krypton Radio Newswire
Minutes ago, we received a press release directly from Planetary Resources, Inc, the business mashup created by film-director-turned-explorer James Cameron and Google, Inc. about the supposed plans to go to the asteroid belt to mine it for resources. The fact that it turns out not to be a hoax has us only about half surprised. The big plan is to collect near-Earth asteroids (not the ones in the asteroid belt, that’s apparently a bit too far to go) and bring back precious metals that are rare here on Earth, but that exist in abundance in intra-planetary space. A single 500-meter asteroid rich in platinum contains more of the rare metal than all of the platinum ever found on Earth in the history of humanity.
We see two potential problems. The first is, how do they get their prize down to the planet surface without burning it up? We imagine they’ve figured a method out for this one, probably including putting the thing in a parking orbit and slicing off hunks and shuttling them back every few months. But the other is, what will a suddenly abundant supply of platinum do to the world economy? The sudden devaluation of the precious metal may send many of Earth’s economies into a tailspin.
Here’s the text of the actual press release from Planetary Resources; the news is so fresh they haven’t even gotten their media posted on their own PR site yet: