The Promise and Perils of Mining Asteroids
A new company has joined the ranks of entrepreneurs looking to space for their next economic opportunity.
The new company, Deep Space Industries (DSI), is not the first in the field, nor is it the most well-financed. But with their ambition to become the first asteroid prospectors, and ultimately miners and manufacturers, they are aggressively going after what Mark Sonter, a member of DSI's board of directors, called "the main resource opportunity of the 21st century." (Related: "Asteroid Hunter to Be First Private Deep-Space Mission?")
Prospecting using miniaturized "cubesat" probes the size of a laptop will begin by 2015, company executives announced. They plan to return collections of asteroid samples to Earth not long after.
"Using low cost technologies, and combining the legacy of [the United States'] space program with the innovation of today's young high tech geniuses,