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Could Bellevue Asteroid Mining Company Help Protect Earth from Extraterrestrial Objects?

In the aftermath of a meteorite that exploded over Russia and a separate asteroid passing near earth on Friday, Bellevue asteroid mining company Planetary Resources describes how its technology might help protect Earth in the future.

Planetary Resources, an asteroid mining company based in Bellevue, says its technology could help the Earth in case we are ever once again beset by exploding meteorites, near earth asteroids and other extraterrestrial objects.

The posts come in the just as a meteorite exploded over Russia, that injuring at least 500 people when windows and other glass shattered in the blast. According to CBS News, NASA says the meteorite explosion, known as a bolide, has nothing to do with the asteroid 2012 DA14, which will pass the Earth safely on Friday Feb. 15 within 17,200 miles. 

Chris Lewicki, Planetary Resources President & Chief Asteroid Miner, wrote in his latest blog post:

In our previous update, we mentioned that many asteroids pass by Earth with little or no warning. We were not exaggerating.  Despite considerable progress in asteroid detection, only about one in ten close-approaching asteroids are known about ahead of time. While not every approaching asteroid may be detected, and with little warning not all can be prevented, in this case a little warning would have prevented many injuries, and quelled the panic that followed.

With the two events coinciding, Planetary Resources co-founder Peter Diamandis proclaimed today an "epic day" on his blog on the Huffington Post(also owned by Bellevue Patch's parent company AOL).

Diamandis wrote the following on the Planetary Resources blog:

While the primary business of Planetary Resources is to ultimately prospect and mine the most select of these for fuels and precious metals, the company views that this economically driven activities will assist humanity in the arena of planetary protection in two critical ways.

First, the Arkyd-100 Space Telescopes which the company is currently designing and building will assist in the detection and characterization of these small, potentially hazardous, yet undetected asteroids.

Second, as the company ultimately develops the capability and infrastructure for intercepting and mining asteroids, Planetary Resources expects to be able to help in the (slight) re-direction of these rocks to keep the Earth safe.

Mining Asteroids will ultimately benefit humanity on and off the Earth in a multitude of ways. First by providing us access to the fuels to accelerate human exploration of space. Second, by expanding humanity’s economic access to platinum group metals important for our rapidly growing high-technology industries; and, third, by giving us the infrastructure to routinely and swiftly interact with and redirect asteroids, like 2012 DA14, which could someday pose a threat to Earth.

Planetary Resources involves ex-NASA and ex-Microsoft employees, as well as a star-studded slate of investors and advisers, including Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, filmmaker James Cameron and Microsoft's former Chief Software Architect Charles Simonyi, who has traveled to space as a tourist aboard Russian Soyuz crafts.

The company, founded by Eric Anderson and Peter H. Diamandis, is banking that the future of space exploration depends on being able to gather resources in space. 

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Online:

Planetary Resources: 

Russian meteorite update

Future asteroid mining industry will provide capability to aid the deflection of potentially hazardous objects near Earth

Huffington Post:

Asteroid Impacts Over Russia -- Another Larger Rock Passing Very Close to Earth

Joe Heeney February 17, 2013 at 06:26 AM
While cherry picking the most desirable elements from the heavens, you should not overlook the value of any mass which does not require lifting out of the earth's gravity well. The lowest of materials have value as shielding, and the starting price, is the cost of boosting it off the Earth. Ultimately the value will fall somewhere in the middle spectrum of expensive high tech shields, and the cost of additional fuel. Promoting this kind of shielding will also have the benefit of increasing the value of your fuel, since it drives demand for it.

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