Planetary Resources, a new player in the commercial space industry, is backed by a host of tech and aerospace luminaries with an integrated personal net worth on the far side of US$30 billion. A press release from the company hints that it will look to establish asteroid mining operations in space.

The President and Chief Engineer of the new company is Chris Lewicki, president of Arkyd Astronautics and former NASA Phoenix Mars Lander mission manager. A press release states, "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."

Various Internet sources speculate, based on this statement, the name of the company, and the past interests of some of the officers and investors, that Planetary Resources will be aiming toward asteroid mining, probably with a strong robotic slant. Some types of asteroids are profligate ores of the noble metals, such as gold, platinum, iridium, and rhodium, and thus ripe for exploitation.

The investors and advisers associated with Planetary Resources include:

  • Larry Page - Google
  • Eric Schmidt - Google
  • K. Ram Shriram - Google
  • Peter Diamandis - X-Prize Foundation - Space Adventures - Singularity University
  • Eric Anderson - Space Adventures
  • James Cameron - Film maker and explorer
  • Charles Simonyi - Intentional Software and two-time space tourist
  • H. Ross Perot, Jr. - Perot Systems and pilot of first round-the-earth helicopter flight
  • Tom Jones - Former NASA Astronaut and planetary scientist
  • All will be revealed on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, when Planetary Resources will hold an inaugural press conference and presentations. Gizmag will cover this press conference and publish an extended article in which their plans and goals will be laid out.

    Source: Planetary Resources via Technology Review