On Tuesday, Planetary Resources Inc., whose mission has been shrouded in secrecy, will outline in Seattle its plan to send an unmanned spacecraft to an asteroid and mine it for valuable metals and water that could be used in further space exploration or returned to earth. The company, backed by several billionaires, is working to recruit engineering and mission-planning expertise and allow private companies to bid to help it launch the spacecraft, said John S. Lewis, a University of Arizona planetary-science professor who said he is an adviser to Planetary.
Planetary’s founders and key backers hope to mine an asteroid for valuable metals and water. Key supporters:
· Peter H. Diamandis: the company’s chairman and X-Prize Foundation CEO
· Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, both of Google, and investors
· Charles Simonyi and Ross Perot Jr., venture investors
· Chris Lewicki, former NASA Mars mission manager, is Planetary’s president and chief engineer
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