Last week we told you about how James Cameron and some Google founders were going to announce an new space exploration project called "Planetary Resources". At the time no one knew exactly what the new company would be doing but there was a lot of speculation that it was going to be an astroid mining project. As the April 24th announcement confirmed, that is exactly what they will be doing.
If you are independently wealthy, you can waste your money on whatever you want. Investors have shied away in the past due to the enormous cost of space travel and the means necessary to get the material back to earth, once mined.
I will say that the prospect is really exciting, however. And Jon Stewart agrees on this point. He released a clip covering the topic on the Daily Show.
"Do you know how rarely the news in 2012 looks and sounds how you thought news would look and sound in 2012? The only thing missing from this story in my kid fantasy is newsman Scott Pelley's non-futuristic sense of style."
Jon brings up an interesting point. Why are they starting off with water, and why is "space water" is so expensive? He pokes fun, but no answer is ever given. That's because giving a monetary value to water in space is ridiculous.
At the end of the segment, Stewart brought on internet infamous "We got a bad ass over here" scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson in for a new segment "Bullshit or No Bullshit". Tyson casually solves a Rubik's Cube, declares "no bullshit", calls out Stewart for showing Earth rotating backward in the show's opening, and storms off stage.
If I was obscenely wealthy this is exactly how I would spend my money, minus the mining part. This thing all seems a little far-fetched, especially the graphic of a huge oxygen blanket covering the entire astroid. But who knows, something good may come of this. Many NASA creations found non-NASA functions here on Earth. This may not be a great investment, but if you have a virtually unlimited source of income, you can afford to take these kind of chances.
Included here is the webcast of the original Planetary Resources announcement.