Early on Wednesday morning, a group of billionaires and former NASA scientists will announce Planetary Resources, the first asteroid mining company in history. They claim they will "add trillions of dollars to the global GDP" and "help ensure humanity's prosperity".
The group of investors and scientists on board this enterprise is impressive:
...including Google's Larry Page & Eric Schmidt, Ph.D.; film maker & explorer James Cameron; Chairman of Intentional Software Corporation and Microsoft's former Chief Software Architect Charles Simonyi, Ph.D.; Founder of Sherpalo and Google Board of Directors founding member K. Ram Shriram; and Chairman of Hillwood and The Perot Group Ross Perot, Jr.
Harnessing the resources of asteroids is not a crazy proposition, and the return of investment could be amazing. So much so that they are convinced they can "add trillions of dollars to the global GDP". More importantly, this may solve many of our material needs as resources on Earth keep dwindling fast.
But is it doable? There are no details yet, but if they are going to invest millions of dollars on it, you can be sure it is doable and it will be profitable. They don't have to travel to the asteroid belt to grab them. There are many passing near Earth that may be accessible. In fact, there are already plenty of plans on scientists and engineers' drafting boards.
Needless to say, and despite the fact that it will probably take some years to achieve their goals, this is all extremely exciting. If they are successful, it will truly be a new dawn for humanity.
We'll be covering the press conference live on Tuesday, April 24, at 10.30am PDT (3.30am Wednesday AEST).