James Cameron's Next Trick: Mining Asteroids?
He, Google execs back new space venture
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2012 7:20 AM CDT
James Cameron gives two thumbs-up as he emerges from the Deepsea Challenger submersible March 26, after his successful solo dive in the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean.   (AP Photo/Mark Theissen, National Geographic)

(Newser) – After hanging out in the deepest depths of the oceans, how does a Hollywood super-director top himself? By space mining, of course. James Cameron has teamed up with two Google billionaires, several ex-NASA officials, and some other ambitious investors to form Planetary Resources Inc., a space exploration company that seems to have its sights set on mining near-Earth asteroids for materials such as iron and nickel, reports the Wall Street Journal.

So far the people behind Planetary Resources are keeping quiet, but they did issue a press release promising to "overlay two critical sectors—space exploration and natural resources—to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP" and "help ensure humanity's prosperity." The company will provide details on Tuesday. Out of this world sure, but it might not be unrealistic. Earlier this month, a NASA study said it would cost $2.6 billion to capture a 500-ton asteroid and bring it into an orbit around the moon to be explored or mined by 2025.

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Apr 21, 2012 3:22 PM CDT
At a cost of $20,000 per pound to get into space, how much money would it take to build a factory on the moon? Trillions and trillions. What exactly does the moon have that we need? The moon is made of the same things the earth is, but it is 250,000 miles away.
Apr 21, 2012 2:24 PM CDT
hmmm...Interesting. It would be expensive getting the infrastructure "up there', to begin with..but once you did, it could eventually get to be lucrative. Imagine a 1 km solar parabolic reflector, going 24/7. No clouds, no atmospheric attenuation it might exceed 6000f ...that's plenty to boil iron, even tungsten, irridium all from the sun, hmmm
Apr 21, 2012 10:12 AM CDT
"capture a 500-ton asteroid and bring it into an orbit around the moon to be explored or mined" Why not just mine the moon?