Tech

              An undated artist rendering released by NASA shows the NASA Dawn spacecraft in orbit around the giant asteroid Vesta. After spending a year examining Vesta, Dawn is poised to depart and head to another asteroid, Ceres, where it will arrive in 2015.(AP Photo/NASA)

Asteroid mining industry expands with launch of new company, Deep Space Industries

A new asteroid mining venture was announced Tuesday, intensifying the already red-hot corporate competition to exploit asteroid resources.

Deep Space Industries said in a press advisory that it is  ”pursuing an aggressive schedule and plans on prospecting, harvesting and processing asteroids for use in space and to benefit Earth.”

Space investor David Gump is leading the company, along with several former NASA engineers. Gump was previously involved in an private effort to land a rover on the moon, reported Space.com.

Deep Space Industries, along with Planetary Resources, are among the first companies of a new industry. Asteroids are believed to house important resources necessary for building and manufacturing on Earth, as well as for deep space flight.

“The resource potential of space outstrips that of any previous frontier – without the environmental impacts,” Deep Space Industries said on its website.

Such resources include metals like nickel, cobalt, platinum and ice, which can broken down into the hydrogen and oxygen necessary for rocket fuel.

Planetary Resources launched in April 2012 as the first company in the industry, with plans to use space robots to identify mineral rich asteroids and bring them into orbit around Earth or the moon.

Planetary Resources also has some high-profiled star power backing it, in addition to its own pool of former NASA talent:. Google’s Eric Schmidt and Larry Page are early investors in the company, as well as filmmaker and explorer James Cameron.

Deep Space Industries is scheduled to begin launching its fleet in 2015.

The European Space Agency (ESA), however, has different plans for asteroids that come near the Earth. On February 1 the agency will begin soliciting proposals to deflect asteroids that come near Earth. (RELATED: NASA says doomsday asteroid will miss Earth)

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