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Company unveils plan to mine asteroids for riches

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The Associated Press
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This computer-generated image provided by Planetary Resources, a group of high-tech tycoons that wants to mine nearby asteroids, shows a conceptual rendering of a spacecraft preparing to capture a water-rich, near-Earth asteroid.

Space-faring robots could be extracting gold and platinum from asteroids within 10 years if a new venture backed by two Silicon Valley titans and filmmaker James Cameron goes as planned.

Outside experts are skeptical about the project, which would likely require untold millions or perhaps billions of dollars and huge advances in technology.

But the same entrepreneurs pioneered the selling of space rides to tourists — a notion that not long ago seemed like a pie-in-the-sky idea, too.

The plan was formally announced Tuesday at a news conference in Seattle.

The inaugural step, to be achieved in the next 18 to 24 months, would be launching the first in a series of private telescopes that would search for the right type of asteroids.

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