What would it take to become the Silicon Valley of Space?
When Planetary Resources rolled out its ambitious plans last week, Paul Allen tweeted, “Asteroid mining is an audacious idea and we need more of these.”
Allen’s got cred. In 2004, the co-founder of Microsoft was the sole investor in SpaceShipOne, a suborbital craft that won the $10 million Ansari X Prize competition. He is also behind Stratolaunch, which wants to build a giant aircraft that would be a rocket-launch platform.
Like Allen and many of the company’s billionaire backers, I am a child of the Space Age. We had no doubt that by now humans would be on Mars if not, as Star Trek’s Capt. Kirk said, “on a thousand planets and spreading out.”
Instead, we got two wars, the worst downturn since the Great Depression and the America’s manned-flight program essentially shut down.
Planetary Resources, headquartered in Bellevue, is the most important effort to come from President Obama’s call for greater private-sector involvement in space exploration. It’s certainly more consequential than low-Earth-orbit “space” tourism.
See on seattletimes.nwsource.com