Who wouldn't want to work with these guys? Peter Diamandis, Chris Lewicki and
Peter Diamandis, Chris Lewicki and Eric Anderson of Planetary Resources.

Can you imagine packing your belongings and hopping on a spaceship to go live on another planet for the rest of your life?

Eric Anderson, co-founder of Bellevue-based asteroid mining company Planetary Resources, certainly can.

Anderson gave a great talk at this week’s Hacker News Meetup, a monthly get-together of geeks who like reading Hacker News. The spaceflight and tech entrepreneur spoke about his company, which has plans to launch robotic spacecraft to mine resource-rich asteroids.

He also believes we’ll be sending people to space permanently within a few decades.

Anderson speaking to the Hacker News Meetup group.

“This migration of humans leaving the earth is happening this century,” he said. “If we do our job right at Planetary Resources, and Elon [Musk] does his job right at SpaceX and Richard Branson does his job right at Virgin Galactic, we’re going to be doing this in the next 30 years.”

“That’s a big statement,” he added. “It doesn’t mean that there will be a billion people living on Mars in 100 years. It’s going to take time. The colony on Mars will start with a few thousand people, then a few million. But it will be permanent. And from Mars, there are lots of other interesting places to go like the Moon or the asteroids themselves if we build structures inside them that can create artificial gravity.”

Pretty cool, right?

Anderson went on to talk more about how these asteroids contain trillions of dollars of materials that can be back brought to Earth. He said mining for the resources is necessary for driving human progress.

Planetary Resources president Chris Lewicki with an Arkyd-100 space telescope, which will help search for asteroids to mine. [Corrected.]
“We live on a fixed planet, there’s a fixed amount of resources — we need to expand the resource base, period,” he said. “It’s just something we have to do.”

Anderson also said these asteroids are actually in a good location strategically relative to the Earth and the energy it takes to reach them. Nearly one in five of them in space are closer than the Moon.

There is also an abdunance of them out there. In 1995, only one near-earth asteroid was known. Now, there are 594,705 known asteroids.

“It’s like fish in the ocean,” he said.

The Planetary team is made up of super-talented people who have led Mars Rover missions and started new industries. There are also several big-names that are backing Planetary, from James Cameron to Larry Page to Ross Perot Jr.

“These people believe that space access is critically dependent upon the resources in the asteroids, as do we,” Anderson said.

Anderson knows that many are skeptical when they first hear about Planetary’s mission. But he says that out of the companies he’s raised money for, Planetary was “by far the easiest.”

“This whole thing is technically really hard, but there’s something about the way it turns people,” he said. “They totally get it.”

Along with his co-founder Peter Diamandis, Anderson gave a similar presentation earlier this year. You can watch it above or with this link.

Previously on GeekWire: Planetary Resources shows ‘daringly small’ asteroid-hunting spacecraft

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-J-Mercieca/100000896280213 John J. Mercieca

    “Planetary Resources president Chris Lewicki with an Arkyd-100 telescope prototypes, the robot that will mine asteroids.”

    Uh no … that arkyd-100 telescope is a telescope, you can find asteroids with it, definitely not mine them.

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      Thanks, John. We’ve corrected the caption above.

  • http://twitter.com/User_F451 Arnold Theisen

    It’s a good thing most people who follow this kind of news aren’t in my age bracket. I’m old enough to remember that Bellevue was synonymous with an imsane asylum. These institutions no longer exist; pity because a lot of politicians belong in them. And, I don’t think the idea is crazy. I’m just disappointed it’ll be too late for me to apply.

    • Vid Beldavs

      Arnold – I recently saw that 80 is the new 40. You probably have many good years to come. The success of this idea, however, depends on much more than asteroid resources. Lunar resources may be more important in the next few decades than asteroid resources. However, with Aphosis coming within 18,000 miles in 2029 it would be great to have a plan to start mining it ready.

  • http://twitter.com/User_F451 Arnold Theisen

    Correction: insane not imsane. =Digital dislexia=

  • Your Mother

    “Anderson went on to talk more about how these asteroids contain trillions of dollars of materials that can be back brought to Earth.”

    There are no dollars in space, let’s keep it that way.

  • tooCents

    Irrationality in humans knows no bounds!They’re space cadets alright. No better than 1950s predictions of flying cars, robot butlers and nannies, vacations on the moon. Just considering the history of humanity and these types of predictions, a more likely accurate prediction is global catastrophe at human hands.

    • Dennis Nilsson

      If “Irrationality” has been true you wouldn’t be here to write your opinion.

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