How Planetary Resource’s Asteroid Search Could Help Find Exoplanets

by Nancy Atkinson on August 23, 2012

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Planetary Resources is the private company that wants to eventually mine asteroids for profit. But initially, the group will focus on developing Earth orbiting telescopes to scan for the best asteroids, and then later, create low-cost robotic spacecraft for surveying missions and then actual spacecraft to do the mining.

But in the meantime, Planetary Resources has opened up the option of allowing access to their Arkyd-100 space telescope to others, and put out the question: “What would you do if you had access to our Arkyd-100 space telescopes?”

An MIT Researcher said he could use the Arkyd telescope to find alien planets.

Dr. Vlada Stamenkovic, a post-doctoral researcher at MIT who searches for exoplanets – distant alien worlds beyond our solar system — sent in this video to Planetary Resources with his explanation:

“It’s inspiring to think that the Arkyd can help researchers like Vlada discover Earth-like planets, and perhaps, someday, even life out there among the stars,” Planetary Resources said on their website. “We’re excited to see such enthusiasm around our projects.”

Another of the aims of Planetary Resources is to open deep-space exploration to private industry, much like the $10 million Ansari X Prize competition, which Planetary Resources member Peter Diamandis created. In previous talks, Diamandis has estimated that a small asteroid is worth about “20 trillion dollars in the platinum group metal marketplace.”

If you have something smaller in mind, perhaps similar to the proposal by Stamenkovic, Planetary Resources has opened up the possibility for anyone to submit a request for using their telescopes. If you have an idea, record a 90-second video on how you’d like to use the Arkyd-100, and share it with Planetary Resources. That can be done by creating a video response to this You Tube video or adding a link to your video on PRI’s website.

“Tell us the WHAT and the WHY. The videos getting the most likes will drive elements of our Kickstarter Campaign and get posted to the PRI website.”

Lead image caption: Artist concept of the Arkyd-100 series telescope. Credit: Planetary Resources.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

henk August 23, 2012 at 5:53 PM

that is great. We need to find much more exoplanets

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