Billionaire investors want to redefine ‘natural resources’

By Laurie Bennett

April 24, 2012 at 6:48am

An impressive group of prospectors plans to mine space.

Planetary Resources Inc. will announce plans Tuesday for a venture that aims to obtain precious metals from asteroids.

What might have been considered pie in the sky is lent credibility - and lots of cash - by a stellar investment team.

Peter Diamandis
Peter Diamandis

Larry Page, Eric E. Schmidt and K. Ram Shriram of Google have put money into the company.

So have former Microsoft software architect Charles Simonyi, filmmaker James Cameron and H. Ross Perot Jr.

Peter Diamandis and Eric C. Anderson are co-founders. The two also started Space Adventures, which books commercial flights to the International Space Station.

Four of the investors - Page, Schmidt, Shriram and Perot - are on the Forbes billionaires list.

The startup is not likely to trigger a space rush. As The New York Times reports, plans are long term, beginning with exploratory launches within the next two years.

Large-scale mining operations will take decades, Anderson told the Times.

Still, the investors have high hopes. As the company says in its press release, “This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of “natural resources.”

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