Not sure if this was as big news as it was just plain crazy to hear but it sounds like some rich people might have watched Armageddon too many times.
A collection of billionaires and distinguished "advisors" - like Marians Trench explorer and 3D pioneer, James Cameron - have decided to conquer the last frontier, space.
Planetary Resources Inc., a new venture founded in Seattle, Wash., intends to mine asteroids for valuable resources. That's right. They're going to build a rocket, fly to outer space and come back with space minerals.
In a means of explanation for this new endeavour, the group issued a release detailing the methodology for this Indiana Jones-level of crazy:
Planetary Resources, Inc. announced today its plan to mine Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) for raw materials, ranging from water to precious metals...Resource extraction from asteroids will deliver multiple benefits to humanity and grow to be valued at tens of billions of dollars annually. The effort will tap into the high concentration of precious metals found on asteroids and provide a sustainable supply to the ever-growing population on Earth.
Ok. While in theory, this sounds a bit like a rambling interpretation of the future, there is some science behind it. According to the release, a single 500 meter asteroid could contain the as much Platinum Group Metals as has been mined in the history of earth. That, and water.
See, exploring space is complex in part due to the whole water issue. Humans need water for nearly every facet of life and it's already been proven that frozen water can be found in asteroids. By mining this water, deeper space exploration might be possible as one can theorize spaceships could "refuel" on asteroids when water is getting low. That, and it could help assuage the water problems here on earth.
Personally, I just can't wait for the next natural step after space mining; Moon colonies. If we can grow crops and mine water in space, what's to stop someone living out there like Sam Rockwell in Moon. I mean, without the whole conspiracy angle...