Planetary Resources Animation of Asteroid Survey Mission

Video Caption: Planetary Resources is embarking on the world’s first commercial deep space exploration mission. The purpose is to identify and unlock the critical water resources necessary for human expansion in space. Sourcing water is the first step to creating a civilization in space. Water is used for life support functions and can also be refined into rocket propellant. The initial mission will identify the asteroids that contain the best source of water, and will simultaneously provide the vital information needed to build a commercial mine which will harvest water for use in space.

Editor’s Note: This is very cool. But, when? I understand the need for promotional videos, but they often serve as placeholders. In lieu of an actual mission/demonstrable progress, here’s a video of what we’re going to do eventually. Here’s a profile of our ground crew.

I’m a little puzzled by Planetary Resources. It was formed on Jan. 1, 2009, and emerged from stealth mode in April 2012. They launched one CubeSat from the space station but said virtually nothing about it after launch (not a good sign). A follow-on Earth orbit tech demo sat was scheduled for 2015, but it still hasn’t launched. They announced a Kickstarter to display selfies in orbit but later canceled that mission and refunded the money. They announced an Earth orbiting constellation that would monitor crops from orbit. Then they canceled that program after raising $21.1 million in Series A investment to fund it.

They had this big press conference back in 2012 to announce it, and there was all this hype from Peter Diamandis and all these billionaires with more money than God involved. I would have expected more progress by now, and that the company backed by so many immensely wealthy people wouldn’t be so dependent on government funding from Luxembourg.

The company has been advertising on social media that they’re hiring, so that seems to be a good sign.

  • Aerospike

    They really are an enigma to me. Constantly switching projects (at least what they communicate publicly) and no real progress to show.

    And this animation now… What is that supposed to be? A teaser trailer for an exploration computer game?…

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    It’s rough to start something from nearly nothing. Keep and mind that most investors are less educated on the subject than most readers of this blog and others like it. Also, most of them have a similar intelligence endowment as the standard cross section of humanity. They’re nothing special. Advertising techniques work on them too. Planetary Resources is playing to the whim, desire, and needs of the investors and you should not assume those investors are above standard human malfunction. Complicate that with the fact that there’s nobody to sell propellants or metals to yet, and this back and forth will either be viewed as either meeting the needs of what little market there is, investor whim, or folly. Only time will tell.

  • Starfyre

    Everyone involved is hoping someone else will take the first step to determine whether or not this project will make money. They want it to work, but for themselves are concerned it won’t, and don’t want to commit their own cash until someone else can show it will work, at which point they will dogpile it with hundreds of millions in funding while all independently claiming it was their own original brilliant idea.