Just because they could – asteroid mining

James Cameron, Larry Page and the man behind the X Prize have set up Planetary Resources to scavenge for space treasure

Mining isn't the first thing I'd do in space

Maybe that's why you weren't invited into James Cameron's new gang then. While you're doing backflips and trying to find a takeaway, Planetary Resources will be ensuring the future of the human race by digging up unsuspecting asteroids for valuable metals like gold, platinum and rhodium.

Planetary who?

Planetary Resources – it's a private company set up by a couple of NASA scientists and Peter Diamandis, whose X Prize project offers big sums of cash for solving problems with tech. The money's coming from the Avatar director and Google execs Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, among other investors, which sounds pretty promising to us.

Avatar: the documentary in 2013?

The boys are giving themselves a little more time to start destroying alien ecosystems than that. Plans to mine 'near Earth asteroids' are more around the 10-year mark and the first step is to send £6.2m robotic spacecrafts to identify suitable targets.

Seems a lot of effort. Good for them.

Don't forget, these are businessmen. One asteroid just 7m in diameter could give us the same amount of pricey metals as we mine on Earth in a whole year. But the news has already got people talking about abandoning ship and moving to another planet. Our bags are already packed.

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