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
Oct 21, 2014
David Perdue, Michelle Nunn

Two weeks to go till Midterm Election Day. We’ll look at how the biggest issues are playing out around the country.

Oct 21, 2014
This undated image provided by Google, shows an early version of Google's prototype self-driving car. For the first time, California's Department of Motor Vehicles knows how many self-driving cars are traveling on the state's public roads. The agency is issuing permits, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 that let three companies test 29 vehicles on highways and in neighborhoods. (AP)

The future of the car: from the fuels they’ll run on, to the materials they’ll be made of, to the computers that may drive them.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 20, 2014
In this Oct. 2, 2014 photo, patrons line up for “Nightmare: New York,” a haunted house attraction in New York. (AP)

Afraid of snakes? Heights? Ebola? We’ll unpack the science of fear.

 
Oct 20, 2014
A statue of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on New York City's Roosevelt Island. (Flickr / Alexisrael)

Greatness and the American Presidency. Aaron David Miller says aim for good. Really good.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
1 Comment
 
Two LIVE Tracks From Jazz Violinist Regina Carter
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Regina Carter shares two live tracks — one arrangement, and one original composition — with Tom Ashbrook in the On Point studio.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 17, 2014
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

We talk Facebook mishaps, whether Katy Perry was actually right and the glory of architectural giants and their iconic windows.

More »
Comment