Category Archives: Eric Anderson

Thoughtful Interview of Planetary Resource’s Eric Anderson in The Atlantic

“Eric Anderson [Planetary Resources]: In the next generation or two—say the next 30 to 60 years—there will be an irreversible human migration to a permanent space colony. Some people will tell you that this new colony will be on the moon, or an asteroid—in my opinion asteroids are a great place to go, but mostly for mining. I think the location is likely to be Mars. This Mars colony will start off with a few thousand people, and then it may grow over 100 years to a few million people, but it will be there permanently. That should be really exciting, to be alive during that stage of humanity’s history.”
“In 10 years or so, what we’d really like to do is get robotic exploration of space in line with Moore’s Law [the tech-world maxim that the price for computing power falls by half every 18 months]. Remember, asteroid mining doesn’t involve people. We want to transition space exploration from a linear technology into an exponential one, and create an industry that can flourish off of exponential technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.”
“It will be possible to know more about an ore body that’s 10 million miles away from us in space than it would be to know about an ore body 10 miles below the Earth’s surface.”

Asteroid Mining Mission Overview (Subtitled in Any Language)


“Since 2010, a world-class team has been quietly working to expand humanity’s resource base. Their path forward is to mine asteroids that have high concentrations of water and precious metals.

Everything we hold of value on Earth–metals, minerals, energy, water, real estate– are literally in near-infinite quantities in space. Planetary Resources’ mission is to gain access to natural resources of space by mining near-Earth-approaching asteroids. With technological advances that are coming out of exponential technologies and investors willing to bear the risk, small teams are now able to do what only governments and large corporations could do before. Our vision is to catalyze humanity’s growth both on and off the Earth. We’re breaking new ground.

Now is the time for us to gain access to these resources, and at the end the entire human race will be the beneficiary as we expand our reach beyond the Earth into the solar system. One asteroid may contain more platinum than has been mined in all of history. We’ve been searching for near-Earth objects mainly to assess the hazard of an impact on the Earth.

It turns out that most of these asteroids are not a threat to the Earth, but they do offer potential benefits. They are in Earth-like orbits that offer assessable resources that we can tap into, both for scientific knowledge and returning those strategic supplies to Earth. Resources from asteroids will add tens of billions of dollars annually to the global GDP.

Our plan for opening up the resources of the solar system is threefold. First, we’re going to identify all of the most valuable near-Earth asteroids– where they are, what they’re made of, and how to reach them. Second, we’re going to develop the technology and the capability to transform those resources into valuable materials. And third, we’re going to deliver those materials to the point of need, whether it’s a fuel depot orbiting the Earth or elsewhere in space.

Water sourced from asteroids will greatly enable the large-scale exploration of the solar system.

Our small and focused team will enable the commercial exploration of the solar system. We’re using experts who have gained their experience in NASA and the tech industry, and we’re keeping our goals simple and clear. Planetary Resources is applying commercial innovation to robotic space exploration. We have a need now for the knowledge of what’s on these asteroids.

There are potential resources in space, and the government is taking a scientific and measured approach to exploring them. We can really increase the knowledge that we get and the pace at which it comes back to us by involving commercial innovation and commercial visits to these asteroids. Planetary Resources will help ensure human prosperity by accessing the vast resources of space.

We are going to change the way the world thinks about natural resources.