The Billionaires’ Club Wants To Go To Space

A few of the richest men on the planet have recently decided that they want to go play in space. Specifically, they want to start mining near-Earth asteroids for gold, other precious metals, and other more mundane but equally valuable resources.

That sounds like a fantastic idea.

While on the surface it’s a purely money-driven scheme, the far-reaching objectives of the newly-forming “Planetary Resources Inc.” are much more altruistic and of a broader scope than simply making money. The company, which is still in its formative stages, is backed by the likes of CEO Larry Page and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt as well as the former presidential candidate Ross Perot Jr. and filmmaker/explorer James Cameron of the “Terminator” and “Avatar” movie franchises. They project being able to mine asteroids from the moon by 2025, their system of unmanned mining drones and lunar-based space stations facilitating the extraction of precious metals like gold and platinum, along with other platinum-class metals that do not occur naturally on Earth, as well as water, which can be used for human habitation. Water can also be broken down into its constituent elements of hydrogen and oxygen, which are the base components of the rocket fuel needed to transport the extracted goods back to Earth, not to mention the needed manpower and equipment required for the mining stations. That entire system of transport would require a completely new infrastructure system to be constructed wholly in space, an obvious first step to the further exploration of the solar system and possible colonization of celestial bodies outside of Earth. That very concept is part of the company’s overall long-term goal; expansion of human civilization into the stars.
The idea to mine gold, water, and precious metals from asteroids has been around for decades. Successful exploitation and integration would bring down the prices of electronics that rely on gold and other light metals that are hard to come by on Earth for their circuitry, making quality electronics easier to produce and thereby bringing down costs for the entire industry that would be driving the space exploration and exploitation business. Jobs in many sectors would open up, leading to the eventual creation of a few completely new vocational fields. How does one go about applying to be a transport trucker for carrying materials from the moon back to Earth? It also makes the dream of putting the common man in space a reality within the next two decades. And that, all by itself, is a giant and spectacular leap forward for all of humankind.
The formal announcement of the billionaires’ plans is coming soon. The first of their asteroid-prospecting space-traveling telescopes is projected to launch within the next two years to begin targeting asteroids with high concentrations of gold, water, and the other materials most highly sought-after. High hopes are held for the cost efficiency of producing the needed rocket fuel in space. There are some arguments over the legality of asteroid exploitation but those are likely to be quashed quickly, as well as some debates over possible costs. But with the serious money players that Planetary Resources Inc. has backing it, the expenditures are going to be far outweighed by the benefits.
Not just to them, but to all civilization.

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