Asteroid mining company Planetary Resources has raised $12 million in funding, according to an SEC filing on Wednesday.
The company, which is backed by celebrity investors like Richard Branson, filmmaker James Cameron and Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, plans to sell a total of $20 million worth of equity, according to the filing.
Planetary Resources did not reply to several requests for comment, and it’s unclear what exactly the filing represents.
Typically, these documents are filed when companies sell equity and bring on outside investors. That certainly may be the case here, but $20 million would be a drop in the bucket for a company with the kind of space exploration ambitions that Planetary Resources keeps talking about.
The company, which was founded in Redmond, Wash. by space veterans Eric Anderson and Peter Diamandis in 2009, says it’s pioneering a new trillion-dollar industry. It wants to capture near-earth astroids and mine them in space for valuable resources like gold, platinum and water.
In May the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that clears the way for companies to keep whatever they find in space, and two months later Planetary Resources successfully launched its first test spacecraft into orbit.
These are all major milestones, but it’s still going to be a long — and expensive — journey to those lofty goals.
We’ve reached out to Planetary Resources for more information on this SEC filing and their fundraising plans. We will update as we hear more.