April 27, 2013 11:20 am

This Sunday – The Future Is Getting Closer with “Eureka! Asteroid MIning”

Simulation of Planetary Planetary Resources capturing an asteroid in preparation for mining operations. © Copyright 2013 Planetary Resources.

Simulation of Planetary Planetary Resources capturing an asteroid in preparation for mining operations. © Copyright 2013 Planetary Resources.

I never got to listen to Andrew Carnegie or John D. Rockefeller describing their visions for the future of America. They were way before my time. But it’s hard not to get excited listening to Peter Diamandis explain exactly how Planetary Resources is going to find and mine near-earth approaching asteroids. His vision for a future where precious metals and technology-enabling minerals are abundant, where the scarcity of natural resources is no longer a factor in causing wars here on Earth, seems right out of a Gene Rodenberry future.

Except that, when you hear Diamandis describe the Arkyd-100 spacecraft which will find ideal candidates, and the Arkyd-200s which will approach them and determine the presence of Platinum Group Minerals (PGM) – ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum – it doesn’t feel like science fiction anymore.

It’s really going to happen… soon… now.

Another thing that helps me believe that this is real is listening to astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson asking the questions. This isn’t some color commentator on a 24-hour cable news network gushing over the hot space story of the week. And one look at the Planetary Resources website’s “Team” page tells you that the people behind this operation are serious: Larry Page, Eric E. Schmidt and Sergey Brin of Google, Charles Simonyi (a 2-time space traveler and the Microsoft superstar responsible for Word and Excel), James Cameron… the list of people who achieve what they put their minds to goes on and on and on.

I’ve replayed this episode twice now, because, even though I’m a big science fiction fan, I get much more excited about our real forays into the final frontier.

You can listen to Neil, comic co-host Chuck Nice, and Peter Diamandis yourself on “Eureka! Asteroid Mining” this Sunday, April 28th at 7:00 PM EDT, here on our website and iTunes.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!

–Jeffrey Simons