New Space Venture the Next Google? –“Could Add Trillions of Dollars to the Global GDP Mining Asteroids”

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Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and billionaire co-founder Larry Page have teamed up with "Avatar" director James Cameron and other investors to back an ambitious space exploration and natural resources venture, called Planetary Resources, that will be unveiled at a Tuesday news conference at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, according to a press release issued this week.


The new company will combine the sectors of "space exploration and natural resources" in a venture that could add "trillions of dollars to the global GDP." The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Planetary Resources will explore the feasibility of mining natural resources from asteroids, a decades-old concept.

Planetary Resource was co-founded by Eric Anderson, a former NASA Mars mission manager, and Peter Diamandis, the commercial space entrepreneur behind the X-Prize, a competition that offered $10 million to a group that launched a reusable manned spacecraft. Other notable investors include Charles Simonyi, a former top executive at Microsoft, and K. Ram Shriram, a Google director.

The venture will be the latest foray into the realm of "reality scifi" for Cameron. The plot of his 2009 science fiction blockbuster film, "Avatar," featured resource mining on alien planets.

We witnessed a similar shift from a DARPA-funded government-centric computer industry of the 70s and early 80's to an entrepreurial private sector strategy that created the computer industry, spawned the Internet, Apple, Intel, Google, and Microsoft. The shift from government-funded to private launched the US as the world's innovation leader.

"Events such as the flight of “SpaceShipOne” and current work on commercial human suborbital/orbital flight systems herald a ‘New Space’ era," said Dr Charles Lurio, publisher of "The Lurio Report" which covers the new private space sector. "Commercial activities could expand to produce economic benefits to rival the Internet/Web revolution.

"The Cold War era ‘moon race’ linked space to a government framework and a public mindset that effectively prohibited developing practical spaceflight abilities for people and cargo.  Only comsat – type space businesses could succeed, since radio signals provide their own transportation to and from orbit."

This is exactly why the rise of the US private space sector is so vital and so timely. US entrepreneurs from Jeff Bezos to Tesla and Space X's Elon Musk to Microsoft's Paul Allen, are heading at full steam into our space future. With international partners in abundance including the space programs in Canada, Japan, Europe and India along with other countries, the US space program is preparing for an exciting dynamic future.

"The US space program is not atrophying, quite the opposite. The new NASA budget and program will create the opportunity for the private sector to do for space what it did for computers: massively reduce costs and similarly increase capabilities," said Lurio.

The Daily Galaxy via Reuters

Image credit: http://www.google.com/logos/2011/space.html

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