For the past few weeks, Elon Musk has been all over the news for various successes and setbacks related to his Tesla Model S car. But you do know he has other huge potentially ground-breaking companies, right?
One of the ambitious interplanetary goals of his company SpaceX is to mine asteroids. The art of extracting precious metals from these proto-planets (which is still very much theoretical) made headlines this week when Planetary Resources, a company that counts Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, and Ross Perot as investors, announced formal plans to mine for water and metals from near-Earth asteroids.
But aren’t asteroids those things that killed the dinosaurs and maybe will kill us? Or are those meteors? Or meteoroids? Meteorites, maybe? Oh and what about that explosion in the sky in Russia a few weeks that injured 1,200 people and caused $33 million in property damage? Was that like the rock that just barely missed the Earth in February? What’s going on here?
To help explain all the crazy asteroid activity of late, PandoDaily and Explainer Music enlisted the artistic and musical talents of the young students of Hartley House’s after-school program in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. The youngsters provided backup vocals and drew some amazing pictures of asteroids which we’ve animated in the video below.
Sure, an asteroid might kill us someday. But in the meantime, asteroid mining could bail us out if we run out of some of the basic materials for industry (which some say is a definite possibility in the next century). Oh and if we start visiting asteroids now, it will make it a lot easier when we blow up the next incoming life-threatening asteroid “Armageddon”-style.