Mining asteroids to tap resources for humanity – by Lori Ioannou (CNBC – March 11, 2016)

It’s not every day that an entrepreneur comes up with an idea for a trillion-dollar business. But some futurists can spot opportunities that are out of this world.

Take serial entrepreneur Eric Anderson, co-founder and co-chairman of Planetary Resources. This aerospace engineer who dreamed of becoming an astronaut plans to mine treasure on asteroids — everything from water and diamonds to platinum.

With the backing of $13 million from A-list investors — including Virgin’s Richard Branson and Alphabet founder Larry Page and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt — the company has already launched a test vehicle into space and plans two more this summer.

Already, the company has had more than a dozen R&D contracts, with NASA, Darpa, the Department of Defense and private companies, to develop such technologies as optical communication lasers, space drones, 3-D printing technology for satellites and hyper-spectral imaging to measure the composition of materials.

The prospects for the venture’s future growth have just gotten brighter since President Obama recently signed into law a bill that gives U.S. companies the property rights to resources they obtain from asteroids and other places in the cosmos.

To get an insider’s look at this space venture’s trajectory, CNBC spoke with Anderson to learn about his lofty ambitions.

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