Can Asteroids Be Mined for Satellite Fuel?

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April 29 (Bloomberg) –- Planetary Resources Co-Chairman and Co-Founder Eric Anderson discusses mining asteroids and the company’s business model from the 2014 Milken Global Conference on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Larry page, james cameron, eric schmidt, they like your game.

Pitch it to us.

The world that we have is a tiny dot in the universe, literally.

All the things we have and hold the value in earth are available in nearly infinite quantities in space.

Some of the most valuable things are available in quantities that are magnificent and not that far away.

We are going after a set of asteroids called the near earth asteroids.

An asteroid the size of this room would have hmore -- than all of earth.

We will bring back rare earth minerals from them.

Put in dollars for us.

Our target for 2016 is worth about $500 billion.

$500 billion with a b. i thought this was a multistage plan where you have to put satellites in orbit and -- our first launches in october of this year.

How much does it cost to mine for it?

Much less than $500 billion.

Between $5 million and $10 million.

There is a risk you come up with nothing.

There is not really a risk we come up with nothing.

We can see from earth what is on the asteroid through spectroscopy.

It is easier to know what is on an ore body 50 million miles away then it is to know what is below the earth.

There is nothing in the way.

We can see lannett in other solar systems, for crying out loud.

These things are right next to us in space terms.

How does your business model work?

We are a mining and development company we prospect -- finance prospecting missions with partners.

Then we put back financing to go and mine.

Asteroids, plain and simple.

I can think of a few other names that have extraterrestrial ambitions, elon musk, jeff azores, richard branson -- jeff bezos, richard branson.

Have you talked to them?

Will there be partnership?

Richard branson is one of our investors.

Elon is a great, fantastic engineer, one of the best ever, who is working on spacex, which we will use for transportation.

This is a relatively small industry still for commercial spaceflight.

We are all in it and pulling for each other.

It is synergistic.

You are talking commercial.

Do you have a response or reaction to the u.s. ending nasa's program?

I'm a big fan of as much bass exploration as we can have.

-- much space expiration as we can have.

We didn't really and nasa's program -- we didn't really end nasa's program.

We ended the shuttle program.

I'm in favor of that, but we should have had something else ready.

Elon musk has demonstrated that private industry can get into space more effectively than government have.

Can't private industry get everything done faster than government?

Space is everything but earth.

In terms of setting the rules and the guidelines, there -- deep space exploration doesn't have a near-term profit -- those are the kinds of things that nasa should be focused on.

The same with the national institutes of health research certain diseases that don't make commercial sense or a publicly traded pharma company -- make sense commercially for a publicly traded pharma company.

Exactly.

What do you say in response to american leadership acting away from space exploration -- backing away from base exploration?

We have the largest commercial space industry by far.

I think leadership is transferring from the nasa bureaucrats -- and i don't mean to sound negative.

Who are you competing with?

Do the chinese have plans to mine asteroids?

They have talked about it.

I'm sure they will.

What could go wrong?

Lots of things could go wrong.

In terms of the technology, there is risk all along the way.

Luckily, the guys who actually landed the last three spaceships on mars are on our team.

These guys have put human built equipment -- your first mission is in october.

Explain exactly how it will go down.

The first mission is a test flight.

We will be launching part of our spacecraft into low earth orbit.

They will be churning out these vehicles that will be going to these asteroids.

How cool is that, our asteroid spacecraft factories?

How long between delivering a flight and coming back to earth?

It will be a while.

We set up these massive propellant depots to refuel satellites and take people around and reduce the cost of space.

Once we do that, bringing back platinum is easy.

What is the biggest risk right now?

The biggest risk between now and october -- i don't know.

We have enough money for the next couple of years.

Some catastrophic event in space that turns everybody off to space, maybe.

If an asteroid hits new york city, god for bid, or something like that.

We don't have a lot of risk between now and october.

Further on, too much government involvement would be a problem, but we do need some to set the rules and things like that.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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