90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Mining Asteroids

Some scientists and entrepreneurs say they’ll go to outer space for precious metals. We’ll think about that.

This computer-generated image provided by Planetary Resources, a group of high-tech tycoons that wants to mine nearby asteroids, shows a conceptual rendering of a spacecraft preparing to capture a water-rich, near-Earth asteroid. (AP)

This computer-generated image provided by Planetary Resources, a group of high-tech tycoons that wants to mine nearby asteroids, shows a conceptual rendering of a spacecraft preparing to capture a water-rich, near-Earth asteroid. (AP)

In the old days, we sang about fear and fortune way down in the mines. This week, the mining talk was way up in space. Mining asteroids. A bunch of rich guys with big track records and big dreams have formed a new company – Planetary Resources – to chase down asteroids and suck out their riches. Platinum. Iridium. Water in space.

If it sounds like the movie Avatar, well, director James Cameron is in the venture. So are Google guys. And Microsoft money. Is this for real?

This hour, On Point: Planetary Resources founder Eric Anderson and more. We’re thinking about mining asteroids.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

J. Kelly Beatty, contributing editor at Sky & Telescope magazine.

Eric Anderson, co-founder and co-chairman of Planetary Resources, Inc.

Henry Hertzfeld, Research Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs at George Washington University.

From Tom’s Reading List

You can read more about the asteroid mining plan at the website of the company behind the idea, Planetary Resources.

Christian Science Monitor “Google Inc executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt and filmmaker James Cameron are among those bankrolling a venture to survey and eventually extract precious metals and rare minerals from asteroids that orbit near Earth, the company said on Tuesday.”

Discovery News “Although Tuesday’s exciting announcement that the asteroid mining start-up Planetary Resources has attracted some very high-profile investors and advisers, it’s probably a good idea to take a step back and understand why we don’t already have refineries attached to near-Earth asteroids.”

Space.com “The prospect of mining asteroids may sound like science fiction, but that’s exactly what the ambitious new company Planetary Resources, Inc. plans to do — and a recent study by  NASA, university and private groups says it’s actually possible.”

Video: CBS News On Asteroid Mining

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 22, 2014
President Barack Obama gestures during a statement in the State Dining Room of the White House, on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in Washington. Obama spoke after Congress voted to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against the Islamic State group. (AP/Evan Vucci)

A tough, critical examination of US plans to take on ISIS. Strategy in the hot seat.

Sep 22, 2014
Demonstrators make their way down Sixth Avenue in New York during the People's Climate March Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. (AP/Jason DeCrow)

Big climate protests in New York before a big UN summit. Activist and author Naomi Klein says change the economy or die. She’s with us.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 19, 2014
Joseph O'Neill (courtesy of the author)

Author of “Netherland,” novelist Joseph O’Neill is back, with “The Dog,” on globalization, capitalism, and self-discovery in Dubai.

 
Sep 19, 2014
No campaigners celebrate as results come in at the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh,Scotland,Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Scottish voters have rejected independence and decided that Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom. The result announced early Friday was the one favored by Britain's political leaders, who had campaigned hard in recent weeks to convince Scottish voters to stay. It dashed many Scots' hopes of breaking free and building their own nation. (AP Photo/David Cheskin)

ISIS and arming Syrian fighters. Scotland rejects independence. NFL turmoil. US troops and Ebola. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 19, 2014
Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Lots of big, contentious topics on the show this week — from Zionism to early education, corporal punishment to development in the Grand Canyon.

More »
Comment
 
Talking Through The Issue Of Corporal Punishment For Kids
Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

On Point dove into the debate over corporal punishment on Wednesday — as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson faces charges in Texas after he allegedly hit his four-year-old son with a switch.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

More »
Comment