back to article NASA wants you to help space mining corp strip mine the Solar System

NASA is crowdsourcing the hunt for asteroids in Earth's purview, and has teamed up with the proposed space mining corporation Planetary Resources to use your spare compute time to the project. Last year the Planetary Resources visited hipster festival SXSW to announce the Asteroid Data Hunter challenge, a $55,000 competition …

  1. Christoph

    Check the prior art

    They should have a look at an early paper on this topic.

    "On the Dynamics of an Asteroid" by a Professor Moriarty.

  2. fortran


    Who distributes documentation as a .docx file? Have they heard of PDF?

    It probably is not a GPU program. The website doesn't seem to say anything on this, and I don't read .docx worth a darn.

    I didn't look, but I would not be surprised if the source code is in a Zip archive, instead of a proper tarball. :-)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bruce Willis on standby

    "this application will become a key part of its Asteroid Grand Challenge to spot the next civilization killer before it hits."

    No thanks, I'd prefer to be surprised.

    1. OzBob

      Re: Bruce Willis on standby

      Actually, more Dave Lister and Arnold Rimmer.

  4. enerider

    Paging PTMC, where is my Pyro GX?

    Because we already know where off-planet robot mining leads, right Descent fans? :-)

  5. John Tserkezis

    But what if..

    ...the smelting facility on the asteroid starts creating duplicate robots, and they come back to earth for vengance?

    1. Eagleon

      Re: But what if..

      This is the backup plan functioning in place of exactly that. Ideally they -would- love to make something that can produce itself, because that would make it possible to mine much, much more quickly. Not to mention forgetting entirely about maintenance and further launches. Only then do we get resource shortages in the inner belt, but don't worry - the robot biome probably won't be able to cope with reentry and specimens capable of reproducing in macrogravity until something in the wild evolves intelligence, same as us pollinating space.

  6. The Nazz

    Asteroids, one of the better arcade games ...

    especially when they turned down the house lights for when the "turn" was due on.

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    That picture

    Looks like someone blew the whole Capitol building into space where it settled peacefully on an asteroid to forever orbit the sun with a bunch of vacuum-dried samples of mentally differently developed homo sapiens sapiens inside.

    America Fuck Yeah!

  8. frank ly

    They can use my computer

    Dual quad core Xeon, 3GHz, 8GB. Will they pay cash now or shares in asteroids for later?

  9. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Crowd funding...

    ...crowd computing...

    Anyone know what the legal governance and stated aims are of this company are if it happens to be successful and ends up incredibly rich? Will all this begging the public for resources and cash give a real return to the world or just make some very rich people even richer?

    I don't doubt the science being done and the good that can do, but I'm a little concerned at not being able to find anything about any future commercial returns. Yeah, crowd funding is effectively charitable giving without a registered charity licence designed to make the giver "feel good", but the list of people running this venture could find a couple of million down the back of their respective sofas.

  10. DropBear

    "Orbit Redirection & Gravity Assisted Space Mining (ORGASM): perfectly safe as long as you're on a different planet than the one getting mashed to a pulp by the incoming product!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      See what happened with Philae when it only had gravity assistance after its harpoons failed...

      1. DropBear

        Re: Gravity-assisted?

        Gravity-assisted as in "bend that asteroid's orbit in the general direction of the destination planet, let gravity do the rest"...

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

      Did the Asteroid move for you?

  11. Dan Paul

    Why does this asteroid mining talk remind me off...

    the movie "Outland"? Not one of Connery's best but interesting nonetheless. Certainly seemed like a primer on corporate responsibility to employees (or the lack of).

  12. Crisp

    Oh yes! There's no safer occupation than mining!

    Especially when you're perched on top of a rock hurtling around the solar system at 28,000mph!

    (bonus points if you read it in Professor Farnsworths voice)

  13. Adrian Tawse

    What a load of crock

    This reminds me of a daft scheme to dredge the deep ocean for manganese nodules. All looked good till someone pointed out that if the project succeeded the world would be awash with Manganese and it would be worthless. So, what happens to the value of diamonds if a meteor weighing a hundred tons consisting of pure diamond suddenly lands on earth.

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