As promised, Bellevue, Washington-based Planetary Resources is letting everyone else in its plans. The project, backed by Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, film director James Cameron, and Ross Perot Jr., will initially focus on the creation of low-cost robotic spacecraft designed for use in surveying missions. Ultimately, the company hopes that the technology it creates will be used for the extraction of precious metals from space — invaluable as the supply available on Earth dwindles.
Planetary Resources hopes to begin mining in space within the next 10 years
The firm plans to have its first craft in orbit around Earth within the next two years, and by 2022 hopes to progress from observation platforms to selling prospecting services. It believes that it will be able to mine some of the thousands of asteroids that pass near to earth each year, and expects to discover expensive metals like Platinum in abundance. Much like Elon Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, Planetary Resources sees scientific bodies like NASA as its likely first customers. It also has the potential to look for more than metals — as founder Peter Diamandis told Reuters, "everything we hold of value on — metals, minerals, energy, real estate, water — is in near-infinite quantities in space."
The full extent of Planetary Resources' plans will be detailed in a public webcast at 1:30PM ET today — check out the company's website for more details.
Update: We've currently covering the event live over here.