It’s been a year and a half since the assets of Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining venture headquartered in Redmond, Wash., were acquired by a blockchain venture called ConsenSys. Now we’re finding out what ConsenSys is doing with those assets.
TruSat, a project that aims to use the power of crowdsourcing to upgrade the world’s satellite-tracking capabilities, has been transformed from a ConsenSys Space product into an independent, community-led open-source project.
The project is now managed by a committee that includes Chris Lewicki, who served as Planetary Resources’ president and CEO; and Brian Israel, Planetary Resources’ former general counsel. Both men joined ConsenSys Space in connection with the acquisition in October 2018.
“This transition of TruSat to a community-managed project was accelerated by the extraordinary economic conditions we’re living through, which has led ConsenSys Space to suspend its operations,” the committee said in an email to backers. “Determined to give TruSat a chance to survive and thrive beyond ConsenSys Space, the original team behind TruSat will continue to support the project beyond their time with ConsenSys.”
Part of the transition involves elevating the profile of the TruSat Community Forum, which serves as the online gathering place for the hundreds of observers in the TruSat network.
ConsenSys is also offering Planetary Resources’ intellectual property to all comers.
“ConsenSys irrevocably pledges that it will not initiate a lawsuit against any party for infringing a Planetary Resources patent or Planetary Resources intellectual property, for so long as such party is acting in good faith,” the company says on its website.
The patents being offered up include plans for microsatellites, dual-use imaging and optical communication systems and the design that Planetary Resources was going to use for its crowdfunded space telescopes, as well as the company’s method for prospecting and mining asteroids.
ConsenSys is reserving the use of the Planetary Resources trademark, however.
Before ConsenSys purchased the company’s assets, Planetary Resources had planned to auction off most of the hardware at its Redmond office and machine shop. Now the auction is back on: James G. Murphy Co. is listing 118 lots for sale in an online-only sale that runs from May 28 to June 4. There’s a real-world preview scheduled on June 3.
The items run the gamut from laptops, shop tools and office furniture to CNC milling machines, infrared camera systems, 3-D printers, a Meade LX80 telescope, a forklift and an S-band satellite dish.
“Even the Asteroids arcade game from the Planetary Resources breakroom!” Israel said in an email he sent me about the sale.
Once, Planetary Resources sought the chance to create a new trillion-dollar industry. Next month, some lucky buyer will get the chance to create a new high score.