US company aims to 'harvest' asteroids
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A United States company said on Tuesday it plans to send a fleet of spacecraft into the solar system to mine asteroids for metals and other materials in the hopes of furthering exploration of the final frontier.
"Using resources harvested in space is the only way to afford permanent space development," said Mr David Gump, chief executive of Deep Space Industries, noting that more than 900 new asteroids that pass near our planet are discovered each year.
"In this case, metals and fuel from asteroids can expand the in-space industries of this century. That is our strategy."
In a first step, the company plans to send "asteroid-prospecting spacecraft" into the solar system, with the first - 25kg "FireFlies" - to be launched in 2015 on journeys of two to six months.