Jeden Augenblick dürfte James Camerons neue Firma Planetary Resources offiziell Details zu ihren Plänen verkünden, Metalle und Rohstoffe von Near Earth Asteroids abzubauen. Die Pressekonferenz
läuft wohl grade beginnt in knapp 40 Minuten, hier der Livestream, ich bin jetzt allerdings erstmal unterwegs.
Die besten Updates dürfte es auf The Verge geben (ohne die nervenden, nichtssagenden Null-Updates von Gizmodo oder io9). Außerdem hat Phil "Bad Astronomy" Plait ein schönes Posting für sein Discovery-Blog geschrieben: Private company does indeed plan to mine asteroids… and I think they can do it.
Planetary Resources will innerhalb von 24 Monaten ihr erstes Spaceteleskop namens "Arkyd" starten und damit in Frage kommende Asteroiden auskundschaften und eine Route für ihre Mining-Robots auszuarbeiten.
The ship that will launch is likely going to be the Arkyd 101, which operates in low-Earth orbit as a space telescope. The Arkyd 102, another telescope, has also been developed. The 100 series is designed as a personal telescope and a proof of concept for the company. After that, the 200 series will push forward into space, doing the first actual asteroid prospecting. The 300 series, which appears to be the ultimate goal, will then "swarm" into space to check the material composition, location, spin rate, and other information about the asteroids. A team of about two dozen engineers is currently working for the company.
The group hasn't given specifics on the cost of the Arkyds, but it claims the launches will cost "tens of millions" rather than the usual "hundreds of millions." It also appears to be getting significant backing from its investors. If the company succeeds in reaching asteroids and mining for water, it could set up an orbital depot to supply NASA with either liquid water or separated hydrogen and oxygen for fuel (an idea directly influenced by the science fiction novels cited several times so far.) The overall goal is to extend space flight capabilities, either for the private or public sector.