Page, Cameron, Simonyi, Perot to back launch of new space venture to ‘ensure prosperity’
April 19, 2012
Peter H. Diamandis, M.D.; leading commercial space entrepreneur Eric Anderson; former NASA Mars mission manager Chris Lewicki; and planetary scientist and veteran NASA astronaut Tom Jones, Ph.D. announced Wednesday that they will unveil a new space venture with the mission to help ensure humanity’s prosperity.
The new venture will “overlay two critical sectors — space exploration and natural resources — to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP.”
The venture is supported by an impressive investor and advisor group, including Google’s Larry Page & Eric Schmidt, Ph.D.; filmmaker & explorer James Cameron; Chairman of Intentional Software Corporation and Microsoft’s former Chief Software Architect Charles Simonyi, Ph.D.; Founder of Sherpalo and Google Board of Directors founding member K. Ram Shriram; and Chairman of Hillwood and The Perot Group Ross Perot, Jr.
“This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources,’” the statement said.
The news conference will be held at the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery at The Museum of Flight in Seattle on Tuesday, April 24 at 10:30 a.m. PDT and available online via webcast. It will feature Charles Simonyi, Ph.D., Space Tourist, Planetary Resources, Inc. Investor; Eric Anderson, Co-Founder & Co-Chairman, Planetary Resources, Inc.; Peter H. Diamandis, M.D., Co-Founder & Co-Chairman, Planetary Resources, Inc.; Chris Lewicki, President & Chief Engineer, Planetary Resources, Inc.; and Tom Jones, Ph.D., Planetary Scientist, Veteran NASA Astronaut & Planetary Resources, Inc. Advisor.
Several commentators are speculating that the venture will involve extraterrestrial asteroid mining, suggested by statements by Diamandis to Forbes in a video (below) recorded on Jan. 25, 2012. He said he “wanted to become an asteroid miner … so ‘stay tuned’ on that one” and in the following video, he provides more details.
NASA announces asteroid study project
In a possibly related announcement also made on Wednesday, NASA announced an outreach project will enlist the help of amateur astronomers to discover near-Earth objects (NEOs) and study their characteristics. NEOs are asteroids with orbits that occasionally bring them close to the Earth.
A new citizen science project called “Target Asteroids!” will support NASA’s Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security – Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission objectives to improve basic scientific understanding of NEOs. OSIRIS-Rex is scheduled for launch in 2016 and will study material from an asteroid.
Amateur astronomers will help better characterize the population of NEOs, including their position, motion, rotation and changes in the intensity of light they emit. Professional astronomers will use this information to refine theoretical models of asteroids, improving their understanding about asteroids similar to the one OSIRIS-Rex will encounter in 2019, designated 1999 RQ36.