Remember that movie where a giant space rock was hurtling towards planet earth, and the best idea that humanity was able to come up with was rocketing Bruce Willis towards the asteroid to drill an atomic bomb into its core? Remember how silly you though that was but also how you secretly wished that it might come true one day? Well, it looks like your dreams may come true soon (at least the “sending miners to asteroids” part…you’ll have to wait a bit longer for King Bruce to blow one up with a nuke).
While the idea of asteroid mining is far from new, in the past few years the concept has garnered quite a bit of attention from the private sector. The latest step came in April, when the company Planetary Resources announced its intention to design and build a system that could extract minerals from nearby asteroids. The basic idea was similar to many that had come before it, but the roster of individuals behind Planetary Resources turned quite a few heads. Amongst the ranks of investors in the company are superwealthy entrpreneurs Larry Page and Eric Schmidt (of Google fame), space billionaire Charles Simonyi, and Texas billionaire Ross Perot Jr.
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