Thank flying duck for rich people. James Cameron and Google co-founder Larry Page have unveiled a brand new resources company that plan to mine asteroids floating near the Earth. I hear Michael Bay and the guys over at Yahoo were thinking of starting up a gardening business based on solitaire.
If you don’t know what Planetary Resources Inc. are up to by now you must have been hiding under a rock outside the asteroid belt, but have a look at video below.
How awesome/bat shit crazy is that? I’ve imagined them sitting around a futuristic board room telling each other “it’s so crazy it just might work…”
There are more than 8000 asteroids that boffins classify as “near Earth” that could be rich in rare and important metals that can be brought back to Earth, but more importantly the asteroids could contain water.
“Big deal, I can understand about the metals and shit, but we have water here,” I hear you say (that’s right; I’ve bugged your place. You shouldn't swear - it degrades you). But believe me, water in space is a big deal.
When you go hiking you can either take all your water with you or you can organise for water to be waiting for you along the way. If you are boldly going where no one has gone before, you need to take all your water with you. That can be heavy. Every day you need about 2 litres of water per person for drinking, cooking, washing, etc. But if you could have water waiting for you, you need only take the amount of water you need to get you there. This means carrying less water, lighter payloads in space shuttles, and therefore less energy to get that shit into space. Astro-dudes will be able to grow their own food, have longer showers, swim a few laps before breakfast, wet t-shirt competition... You know live a little.
This will allow us probe (he he) the special vast regions (he he) of space (he… oh wait, there’s no euphemism there), and who doesn't want more probing? H.G Wells is probably an exception; he knows what happened last time.
Some of these “near Earth” asteroids are a better choice than the moon for a drive through for two reasons; it takes less energy to get there and leave in some cases, and the moon is so 1960’s. Despite the Soviets getting there in 1959 with an unmanned craft that had less processing power than a modern air-conditioner.
I wish Planetary Resources all the best. If you find Unobtainium James, leave it the fuck there. Michael and I don’t want to have sit through another Avatar mate. But if we get Richard Branson away from being the face of space travel, it will be worth the risk.
If you could send an appliance to space, which one would you blow into the sky?