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Planetary Resources Kickstarter Meets Its Initial Goal 99

symbolset writes "Most of you know about Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company, and their Kickstarter campaign in the finest spirit of Heinlein's The Man Who Sold the Moon. The campaign has reached its minimum $1M goal to get funded with eight days left to go. In celebration, PR's CEO and Chief Asteroid Miner Chris Lewicki does an interview with Forbes where he discusses the future opportunities, the potential pitfalls, and the unlimited potential of private sector space exploitation. It's well worth the read. Planetary Resources' kickstarter has some worthy stretch goals that are well worth looking at, and the sort of supporter premiums that many Slashdotters will not want to miss. Only $175,000 more and they get a second ground station, at $2M they add exoplanet search capability. Both of these stretch goals are within reach."
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Planetary Resources Kickstarter Meets Its Initial Goal

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  • Re:This is odd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @11:43PM (#44082559)

    You must be remembering it wrong. Kicktraq shows steady progress over the project, and a surge of backers about three days ago: []

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Sunday June 23, 2013 @12:12AM (#44082671) Journal
    The asteroid Ceres contains more water than all the fresh water on Earth - in a low-G environment. Water, for those who don't know, is rocket fuel once the Hydrogen atoms have been separated from the Oxygen. In addition to that, hydrogen is one of the many preferred reaction masses for ion engines. Water is also drinkable and useful as a source of breathable air. A reliable source of water in low-G is what we need to kick off exploration of the solar system, and Ceres is it.
  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Sunday June 23, 2013 @01:24AM (#44082881) Journal

    While (I believe) current space treaties prohibit any COUNTRIES from claiming planetary bodies, it is not clear if a an individual or company can claim the resources on them.

    The U.N. should allow (and someday protect and enforce!) property rights.

    This might open up a huge wave of investment and exploration. Say (perhaps like shipwreck salvage rights) one could claim the exclusive mineral rights to a (piece of a) celestial body. Even if it weren't permanent, like only a 100 year lease, many people might be tempted (look at what the British did with Hong Kong; their administration help turn it from a fishing port into one of the world's great cities even though they knew they'd have to give it back to the Chinese. So a completely regulation/tax free environment on an asteroid might be useful (once prices to LEO become more reasonable, go Space X!).

    This has been mentioned as one of the possible ways to help get Africa out of its misery, if property rights could be accurately (right now it's a complete mess) determined and assigned it would become a source of capital that their people could buy and sell; in short it would open up a huge source of capital. Along with the proper controls (I know, that's the big problem) it could permanently stimulate their economies in a big way. (I understand the Chinese, in order to lock down property boundaries in their rural districts have been using google maps and satellite photos. Once properly recorded the villagers and make transactions confident in knowing that they have enforceable contracts).

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Sunday June 23, 2013 @02:44AM (#44083135) Journal
    Terrestrial notions of ownership don't apply outside Earth's atmosphere any more than Native American's notions of property survived the European invasion. On the frontier what matters is if you can take it and hold it long enough to form a local government to recognize your possession as ownership.
  • there's no market for the mined resources in space, and it's too expensive to transport them back to earth.

    Not really, it's easy to transport stuff from space back to earth. The expensive part is getting things up from Earth to space, which is the problem asteroid mining is trying to solve.

  • No, it's not over (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Su27K ( 652607 ) on Sunday June 23, 2013 @06:25AM (#44083827)
    1. People like you thought airplane or moon landing are unrealistic and unfeasible, but they're wrong
    2. Just because there's no technology to do it now, doesn't mean there won't be technology to do it in the foreseeable future. This is what PR is doing, developing the technology.
    3. And who says the developed technology won't be used on earth too, it can benefit both earth based mining and asteroid mining. The material from asteroid is not meant for Earth anyway.
    4. The extraordinary claim is not we'll be mining asteroid, it's the claim that "It's over, and we're going nowhere"
    5. Space may be dead for you, but the kickstarter campaign proves it lives on in many people's hearts, so go ahead and drown in self-pity, we got asteroids to mine.

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine