back to article Another new asteroid-mining firm: 'First commercial space fleet'

A new space mining venture is all set to do battle with James Cameron’s asteroid mining outfit in an industry that isn’t even certain to be possible yet. Deep Space Industries will announce “the world’s first fleet of commercial asteroid-prospecting spacecraft” later today in Santa Monica. The cosmic drill firm’s founders, “ …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mining on Asterioids

    A better get-rich-quick scheme than mining in Nephelokokkygia?

    1. LarsG

      Some people live in a virtual reality bubble and will believe the hype then invest their life savings into this venture.

      Someone will make money out of it, but it won't be the investor. Let Bernard Mandoff be a warning to all.

      1. The Indomitable Gall


        It doesn't take a crook like Bernie Madoff to discredit this sort of thing.

        London City Airport only became profitable when it folded, loosing the original investors a lot of cash. Another group picked it up cheap and the turnaround was pretty much inevitable because they didn't start with a crippling debt.

        The original channel tunnel company went bust, leaving another group to pick it up cheap, and again, it was because the original debt burden was lost that the thing went profitable.

        The same thing happens on smaller projects if they're still ambitious, such as the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, that the council picked up cheap after the guys that built it went bust (the original construction cost was too high to ever make a profit).

        For anything really big, you need someone else to make the loss first so that you can make the profit in the aftermath.

        (And of course this is the point of patents: to afford some protection to the trailblazing losers so that they remain competitive against the guys without the debt burden from the R&D. Space patents will most likely deal with the specifics rather than the core problems of space mining, particularly given most of the big problems have already undergone a lot of public debate, so there'll be a fair bit of wiggle room to work around them....)

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      Resource wars??

      "the actual technicalities of mining any asteroids in any sort of meaningful or profitable way are somewhat daunting"

      Technical difficulties aside, what about the legalities? Will a private corporation be allowed to 'own' any asteroid that they are mining? If asteroids are OK, how about comets? moons? planets, or parts thereof? And if a company DOES have teh technical ability to get there, why should it submit to the jurisdiction of any earth-bound nation?

      Of course none of that will need to be decided for many years into teh future, so let's start with the obvious one that WILL have immediate impact: What happens if there's 1 close-by asteroid that is viable to mine (but only if a company can mine all of it) and BOTH companies go for it? Wild west with lasers instead of 6-shooters?

      1. MrXavia

        Re: Resource wars??

        I suspect a corporation will be able to own what it can defend... but initially it will own what it can get its hands on.. When humans finally start leaving this planet in larger numbers, there will be a land grab...

        Who owns what on the moon? if the USA sets up the first moon base (I know VERY unlikely), would they be happy if China plonks one a mile away?

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: Resource wars??

          For the moment, as was stated in the referenced Reg piece, space property is legally non-existant following the UN charter on the subject.

          So no, there will be no "claim" to an asteroid by a company, and yes, there will be lasers.

          1. Ragarath

            Re: Resource wars??

            I am an optimist when it comes to space etc. and I look on it that by the time we are able to get anywhere significant and do anything significant. Our little ball of rock will stand as one rather than still being lots of separate nations competing. I know this is a long way off at the moment but so is a mass space exodus/land grab.

            After all it is the only way we will be able to compete with the Alpha Centaurians!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              * The Centauri


      2. Esskay

        "wild west with lasers instead of six shooters?"

        Sounds like the talk of a browncoat to me.

        I'm sure once the Alliance asserts control everything'll be shiny.

  2. Knoydart


    So when can I sign up to work for the Jupiter mining corp? Surely that is the better question

    Beer cos no curry icon for Dave Lister

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: JMC

      As long as the drugs peddled by the slimy megacorps are not of the psychosis inducing variety, I might consider a job up there...

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: JMC

      Wouldn't you rather contract out to Weyland Yutani?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: JMC

        >Wouldn't you rather contract out to Weyland Yutani?

        No, I wouldn't. Red Dwarf looked more fun. Besides:

        "Priority one

        Insure return of organism for analysis.

        All other considerations secondary.

        Crew expendable."


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Insure"

          I don't think you can take out insurance for cargo in space. Not yet, anyway.

  3. frank ly

    I have a business idea

    "However, Deep Space Industries is promising an animated video that shows off not just its spacecraft but “a breakthrough process for manufacturing in space”.

    The company also claims to be “pursuing an aggressive schedule” for its mining ventures."

    I'm working on an animated video of my planned business venture and I'm pursuing an aggressive schedule. If you want to be a pre-IPO investor, you get the right to name certain characters in the video. Send me your e-mail address to get details and a share application form.

  4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: red tape

      You are now being detained for aggravated unbellyfeelness and nogooder govdistrust. Please assume the party escort submission position, a bluebutler will meet with you shortly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: red tape

        Can't help expect "There will be cake" to be mentioned in there somewhere.

  5. Mikel

    The race is on!

    There's gold in them thar hills.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

      Re: The race is on!

      You' be in competition with pharmaceutical companies:

      Theres gold in them thar ills

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: The race is on!

        "Theres gold in them thar ills"

        It's true that pills will pay your bills.

        But the knife sets you up for life.

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    This sounds like what Krugman ordered.

    Well, not quite, as its not a big government program to defend against Space Aliens but it's pretty close. Space Race to Asteroid Mining! Just needs more government money containers and we might go WWII SAVED MUH ECONOMY again!

    Sure is a better plan than a rekindled Global War on Terror through the whole Sahel region as recently fanwanked in front of cameras by Monsieur Cameron.

  7. localzuk

    Oooh, an animation

    That proves they have a fleet and mining capabilities. I'm really not sure about these companies appearing like this. Sure, we need new companies in the space arena but until someone has proven that we can actually mine an asteroid, or even the moon for that matter, its kinda just genital waving from them.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can hear the marketing presentation opening music

    Pete moore's asteroid theme, you know it better as the the Pearl and Dean cinema advertising music.

    It sounds a great idea, pass that spliff and we'll work on the practicalities when we've straighten up.

  9. Bent Outta Shape

    Next off the starting blocks...

    The Union Aerospace Corporation for Mars operations, followed later by the Liandri Mining Corporation for those engagements further afield.

    1. Richard IV

      Re: Next off the starting blocks...

      I, for one, won't be interested until the Post Terran Mining Corporation is formed.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They are more than half way there already...

    Leave off "teroids", and I'd say the mining plan is coming along nicely,

    When I worked in the gold industry asses* were more plentiful and easier to mine profitably than gold.

    *But please to be always calling them "investors"

  11. jon 72

    Nothing new

    I still take the old MKIII Cobra out to do some asteroid mining when nobody's watching.

    Mines the grimy one with the Con Am 27 logo

  12. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Space exploration is the only hope

    If the West wants to continue to remain in economically leading position in the world. There is no other immediately forthcoming source of growth left on Earth for the developed countries.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Space exploration is the only hope

      Yeah, expanding into the solar system is our current economic model reductio ad absurdum.

      Even then we would run out of habitable space eventually, though we could postpone that time a little more by reconfiguring our available matter into forms that have a higher surface area than rocks and planets - ie Ringworlds (AKA, Orbitals, Halos) or Dyson Spheres...

      Hmm, it might be easier to just adopt a different economic system instead.

  13. The BigYin

    In space, there is no tax

    Company launches robot mining droids into space.

    Mines an nice bit of iron.

    Government demands tax on profit from selling iron.

    Company points out that they can, at will, drop that iron from orbit on top of the capital city ("Project Thor" style).

    Government whimpers and offers them knighthoods instead.

    1. MrXavia

      Re: In space, there is no tax

      I had always envisioned them dropping the tax from orbit directly onto the tax office....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In space, there is no tax

      "Government demands tax on profit from selling iron."

      What profit ? Iron ?

  14. Mage Silver badge

    I for one ...

    Welcome our "belters".

  15. AceRimmer1980
    IT Angle

    It's been said

    that the first *trillionaire* will be made, from space mining.

    By the way, you've been woken early cos we need you to check out a distress signal.

  16. Ian K

    'First commercial space fleet'

    Technically, don't you need more than zero craft to have a fleet?

    1. Esskay

      Re: 'First commercial space fleet'

      Didn't you read the article? They're made an *animated video*.

      From an investor perspective this means they've practically gone into space already, all that's left is deciding what sort of noise the sliding doors will make :)

      1. Magani

        Re: 'First commercial space fleet'

        Don't doors always say, 'Glad to be of service.'?

  17. David Pollard

    Biotech on Mars?

    How long will it be before someone promotes idea of hunting for life on Mars to enable the production of novel pharmaceuticals? It's only slightly less plausible than asteroid mining, and if anything there is even more hype to support it.

  18. arrbee

    If they're quick there is one passing conveniently close (~ geosync orbit distance) in just over 3 weeks.

  19. Bod

    Right on Commander!

    Takes a bloody long time to get anywhere mining asteroids. Screw that, take up bounty hunting or piracy.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Right on Commander!

      Piracy only works if there are some successful miners to rob first. Otherwise you're just in it for the rum, shanties and buggery.

  20. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Buzz Aldrin's Cycler:

    And in other news:

    And they put him in a standard class carriage.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Despite all you naysayers, I think it's cool to have people proposing the implausible and putting their money behind it.

    It seems that people have stopped dreaming.

    Who would have thought that even 20 years ago I could tap a very large part of the vastness of human knowledge from a small electronic phone, and for such a relatively small price?

    Long live the dreamers I say!

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      I think its more a case of some people proposing the implausible in order to persuade other people to put their money behind it.

      As for your phone, 20 years ago now only takes us back to 1993. Viewdata and similar systems were trialed for exactly this purpose in the 70s and the notion that the receiver might eventually shrink to a hand-held device would not have surprised any familiar with transistors. I imagine you need to be talking at least 50 years before the number of people "who could have thought" drops below a million or so.

      And by a bizarre co-incidence, asteriod mining might actually be possible in 2063.

    2. jphb

      In many cases they never started dreaming let alone have stopped.

      In 1993 I started using WWW and thought it rather amazing, I'd already been using the Internet's anonymous FTP archives extensively (remember Archie?), the potential was pretty obvious - but trying to persuade university brass to back development of our own resources was another matter. They were more interested in the possibilities of training people to use Microsoft Office.

      In 1993 I already had a home computer and home Internet seemed an obvious development. Whether I'd have anticipated a 60 Mb permanently on home connection is another matter.

  22. Mike Flugennock

    Another one who's been watching too many sci-fi flicks

    Deep Space Industries will announce “the world’s first fleet of commercial asteroid-prospecting spacecraft” later today in Santa Monica. The cosmic drill firm’s founders, “who include leaders in the space field”, will also be unveiled.

    Deep Space Industries will announce “the world’s first fleet of commercial venture capital-prospectors” later today in Santa Monica. The cosmic drill firm’s founders, “who include leaders in venture-capital schmoozing”, will also be unveiled.

    There, fixed it for you.

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