is a company founded in 2010. They're backed by billionaires Larry Page (Google CEO) and James Cameron, VIPs like Joint Chief General Moseley, and experts in the fields of engineering, physics, and astronomy such as Dr. Sara Seager (MIT Astrophysics Professor), Dr. Thomas Jones (NASA Astronaut), and Dr. Mark Sykes (NASA Astronomer).
Their purpose? To develop efficient, cheap space technology capable of identifying and harvesting resources from Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) within the next 10 years. That's right: they're going to be landing on asteroids, mining their ore, and carting it back to Terra Firma. Sci-Fi? Not anymore. Here's a link to their long term plans: Planetary Resources Technology
This is, to put it as mildly as possible, one of the most exciting things to come out of the world in the past decade. In the wake of the horrific budget cuts to American science programs -- especially NASA -- the future of humans in space became very dim. Now, there exists a real initiative to drive forward the next step of space exploration. The resources and intangible benefits that will come of this venture are ridiculously immense. We're talking billions of dollars of GDP per year, thousands of (real) jobs, and an entire new industry. Even if it fails, the technological benefits will be immense. Remember the tech that came from the Moon Race? Well, this could trigger that all over again.
More important than any of that though is the return of a goal for humanity's nations and organizations to work towards. Earth as it is now is stagnating. There's nowhere left to explore, no more hidden resources to exploit, nothing to do but go about our lives. Not that our lives are unrewarding, not at all. We try to do meaningful things, make a lasting impression. And on a personal level, we got that covered. But in the grand scheme of things, as a species
, we are in a bad spot right now. Humanity has always done its best when pushing into new frontiers, exploiting new resources, developing new technologies. It's that sense of discovery that we've been missing for decades now; that sense of achievement, that driving purpose to a singular nigh-impossible goal, and that overwhelming sensation of unifying accomplishment.
I think Planetary Resources will reignite that dying spark. Once we know we can travel through interplanetary space and mine asteroids... Well, I'm just glad I'll get to see it in my lifetime.