What is Larry Page up to these days? After an eventful year revolving around Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL), the tech wizard now faces an interesting challenge from a space activist. As the asteroid mining moves from sci-fi fantasies to reality, the Earth’s resources are being depleted faster, than expected. Due to the exhaustion of resources on Earth, the hunt has begun to exploit the unknown dark universe. In this race to mine the asteroids, two companies, namely, Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, are providing fierce competition to each other. With asteroid mining to become a reality by 2025, we wonder, who are these companies? Why do they want to mine asteroids? Let’s look deeper to satiate our curiosity.
What’s the prize for launching a more than four million dollars project? It is nothing less, than an awe-striking, US$50 billion! If that doesn’t boggle your mind, please note that who so ever wins this peculiar race, will emerge as the first trillionaire on this planet.
With Chris Lewicki as the President and CEO and Eric C. Anderson as the co-founder, the company is backed by, none other than, Larry Page. Considering the fact that Larry is already sitting on the gold mine and now backing this new venture that has great potential of adding hundreds of billion dollars to his net worth, Larry Page could lead the race to become the world’s first trillionaire.
The foundation stone for this mission was laid way early in 2009 when ARKYD Astronautics was found. In 2012, when the Google Chief decided to fund this ‘extraterrestrial‘ startup, the mission was all set to go. To add to the names of billionaires investing in this venture, Sir Richard Branson invested a hefty amount in 2013. Within few months, Planetary Resources surpassed US$1.5 million in its crowdfunding campaign to launch world’s first crowdfunded Space Telescope.
Deep Space Industries
With Rick Tumlinson as the founder and David Gump as CEO, this off-Earth mining company has joined hands with Luxembourg. With around two to three million asteroids moving around out little blue planet, David Gump has hopes of tapping into the resources of these rocks, thus considerably reducing dependence on Earth’s resources. Sharing the same objective as that of Planetary Resources, Deep Sea industries valued the resources on an asteroid which flew by Earth in 2013, to be ‘just’ US$ 195 billion.
“The start up of two asteroid-mining firms — along with the rise of private spaceflight companies such as California-based SpaceX — is a sign that humanity may finally be taking real steps towards the long-held dream of permanent space settlement”
This mission begins with asteroid water, which is found in abundance in space rocks. The Asteroid-derived water can not only quench astronauts’ thirst but can shield them from dangerous radiations, apart from refuelling their space crafts, once split into hydrogen and oxygen. The carbonaceous chondrites rocks also contain iron, nickel and cobalt, which can be used to construct buildings on Earth. The lucky dip in this intergalactic venture is the mining of platinum group metals. These precious metals are a rare commodity on Earth and are always in demand as they are used in the manufacturing of electronics and other hi-tech goods.
Although, Planetary Resources isn’t mining asteroids, yet, the company’s Arkyd-3R cubesat deployed into Earth orbit from the International Space Station last month, is testing avionics, software and other key technology. With hidden treasures of gold and platinum to be found, the 9,000 near-Earth asteroids can keep the companies busy and offer an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs to enter the universe, to create fortunes.
Welcoming Act by the Governments
These private space-bound companies have received an encouraging green flag from the countries of Luxembourg and USA. In 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law that gives the recognition to any space rock brought to Earth by a US citizen. And adding to this, the bandwagon of ultra supportive government is the tiny tax haven European country of Luxembourg. Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Etienne Schneider, in a statement, announced the establishment of the legal framework to allow private operators to claim the rights to resources extracted from space. These two Acts passed, have ushered in a sense of relief and merriment into the investors’ worrisome minds.
With space industry growing at a rapid pace of 27% since 2008 up till 2013, the space industry will, eventually, become congested and contested. The commercial space products and services revenue increased 7% since 2012, and commercial infrastructure and support industries increased by 4.6 percent, which clearly indicates that the ‘space jam’ is poised for growth.
As another year passes by, we can’t wait to see if, there possibly is, a real version of the famous movie, Avatar. If there does exist a real, Pandora moon, what are the odds that the director of Avatar, James Cameron, a committed explorer, is also an adviser to Planetary Resources– a fact as mystical as the universe itself!