James Cameron and Group Planetary Resources hopes to mine asteroids for precious metals.

Billionaires Outdo Themselves, Start Program To Mine Asteroids for Precious Metals

Billionaires Outdo Themselves, Start Program To Mine Asteroids for Precious Metals

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April 24 2012 2:44 PM

Billionaires Outdo Themselves, Start Program To Mine Asteroids for Precious Metals

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Director James Cameron and a group of tech billionaires hope to mine nearby asteroids for precious metals with Planetary Resources Inc. James Cameron speaks during a forum at the Beijing Film Academy in Beijing.

Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images

A group of high-tech billionaires are looking to scout asteroids for precious metals, mine them, and send the resources back to earth.

The venture, called Planetary Resources Incorporated, includes investors like—shocker—self-styled explorer and blockbuster director James Cameron. Planetary Resources has two goals: to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP and ensure prosperity, while helping pave the way for human settlement of space.

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Wired notes that nearly 9,000 asteroids larger than 150 feet in diameter orbit near the earth and could be rich in platinum, palladium, and iridium, highly valuable commodities for medical and technical devices.

The idea is incredibly expensive and will have many hurdles to clear, but the list of advisers is promising—it includes Google CEO and executive chairman Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, and former astronaut Tom Jones. Now we just need Bruce Willis on the asteroid mining crew and we should be good to go!

Video produced by Jim Festante.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.