Bellevue company shoots for the stars

June 6, 2012 by  

Print shops in Bellevue could be in for some interesting requests in the future, with asteroid mining on the agenda for one local company.

Last month saw a bold statement from Planetary Resources who, with the backing of rich investors, are to start seriously exploring the exploitation of asteroids. It will certainly make for interesting brochure and catlog printing but, writing in nature magazine, one Astrophysicist sees a bright future.

Martin Elvis, who works at at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, goes further. He has said that future space exploration and the scientific understanding of space could depend on it.

Going further still, he says it also fulfills one of the lesser known aims of NASA. The agency’s original space program included a mandate to further the economic strengths of the USA.

Asteroids are believed to be, by large sectors of the scientific community, a major force in the creation of life on Earth. They are also known to contain vast quantities of precious metals, which would be worth billions of dollars if able to be successfully brought back home.

It is of course an extremely complex and expensive venture. We are unlikely to see any missions to even analyze suspected suitable asteroids for many decades. As a prospect though, it is certainly an interesting one to consider.

That the next big thing in space exploration could start in Bellevue is great to know. Business card printing suggesting your an “asteroid miner” may be a way off though.