In which Gizmag visits the company’s Bellevue, Washington headquarters and talks to the President and Chief engineer, Chris Lewicki.
A nice little article. One of the highlights:
Our capacity as a species to move into an area, become the masters of that area, to improve the quality of life for everyone by using resources and developing businesses and creating economies means we’re at a point where we don’t want to constrained by the surface of this planet. Our mission statement is expanding the economic sphere of humanity off the surface of the planet.
The only thing that will do that outside of taxpayer dollars, which are finite and contested, is to create an economic engine and an economic reason for doing it. We fully believe that space resources are that economic engine.
To be able to use the resources of space, to explore space, imagine that if we were building railroads that we had to ship in everything from Europe. We didn't do that, of course. It’s all about using those resources locally, so in space the first resource we’re interested in is water.
Water is such a simple thing. Why would you ever need water? There’s plenty of it here on Earth. We’re not bringing water back to Earth. We don’t want to ship water into space because it’s very heavy and very expensive to send it there. Just to send a liter to the International Space Station it’s US$10,000 and to the Moon it’s $50,000.
Space habitats, space stations are going to need hundreds of thousands or millions of liters of water, but there are some asteroids 75 meters across that are water rich. Just one has enough hydrogen and oxygen to fuel every Space Shuttle that’s ever been launched. It’s useful for fuel, its useful for supporting life and it’s full-blown radiation shielding for all those people talking about going to Mars. So, that is a resource that is of near-term interest.
Interesting. These folks are thinking smart, and thinking about sustainable living in space. It's not glamorous, it's not fancy... but it's a necessity if we're going to establish permanent colonies off of the Earth. It's even more of a necessity if we want to establish independent colonies.
If I were in charge of HR at Planetary Resources, one of the first questions I'd ask prospective employees is if they've ever read The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress...