In the midst of concerns that we are dangerously depleting Earth's resources, one start-up claims to have the answer to our problems: asteroid mining. Planetary Resources Inc., a Seattle-based company, plans to use robotic technology to extract valuable minerals from asteroids.
The company isn't going it alone. Since April, they've been backed by Google executives, as well as former Goldman Sachs Co-Chairman John C. Whitehead. Now, they're announcing that they have the support of even more billionaire investors, although they've declined to name names. Planetary Resources is also close to a partnership agreement with a "top-10" mining company.
The company has identified 1,500 asteroids near enough to Earth that reaching them would be as easy energetically as getting to the moon. According to Bloomberg, Planetary Resources anticipates that a single metallic asteroid with a 500-meter diameter would contain more platinum than all the platinum extracted on Earth.
We'll have to wait and see whether this solution is a practical or sustainable one. Planetary Resources co-founder Eric Anderson has said, "We're not going to be returning platinum group metals from asteroids tomorrow. It's going to take a while." For more on the latest financial news and analysis, follow us on Twitter @FNNOnline, or check out our website at fnno.com