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byon 04-30-2012 at 07:49 PM (986 Views)
Perhaps it will be a platinum rush that finally opens up the final frontier.On Tuesday, a new company called Planetary Resources Inc. will unveil its plans to mine asteroids that zip close by Earth, both to provide supplies for [url=http://www.cheapraybanaviatorsunglassessale.com/]ray ban sunglasses sale[/url] future interplanetary travelers and to bring back precious metals like platinum. The venture may sound far-fetched — perhaps along the lines of Newt Gingrich’s campaign promise to colonize the moon — but it has already attracted some big-name investors, including Larry Page and Eric Schmidt of Google, as well as profitable technology development contracts.
“If you believe that resources in [url=http://www.cheapraybanaviatorsunglassessale.com/]cheap ray ban sunglasses[/url] space are critical towards a space-faring future, you will inevitably come to the result that the asteroids — in fact, the near-Earth asteroids — are the steppingstones to the rest of the solar system,” Eric C. Anderson, one of the company’s co-founders, said in a telephone interview.
He was quick to add that the company’s business premise was not as impractical as it might sound. Because an asteroid is devoid of air and its gravitational pull is negligible, getting there is relatively easy. Unlike landing on [url=http://www.cheapraybanaviatorsunglassessale.com/]ray ban rb3025[/url] the moon or Mars, a robotic mining spacecraft would not need parachutes or a large engine to fly up to and attach itself to a small asteroid.
“There are probably about 1,500 near-Earth asteroids that are energetically easier to reach than the surface of the moon,” Mr. Anderson said. Some of the asteroids are icy — up to 20 percent water — and the water could be drawn out by melting the ice. The water could be taken to supply stopovers for?future astronauts or broken down into breathable oxygen or propellant for spacecraft on interplanetary missions.