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first_imgThanks in large part to SpaceX, we’re all pretty comfortable with private spaceflight. Planetary Resources, though, is a little different — rather than a standard space transport company that carries cargo to the International Space Station or into orbit, or even one that is prepping for a manned flight sometime in the future, Planetary Resources is a space mining company. In fact, the company is specifically interest in asteroid mining.Last year, we learned that the company was planning to begin step one of their mission, which was to send off orbital telescopes to seek out potential asteroid candidates, and then would assess whether or not the asteroids had desirable resources. Now, we’ve got an update from Chris Lewicki, President of Planetary Resources, who also labeled himself as “Chief Asteroid Miner,” which is much cooler than the simple “president” moniker.Lewicki showed off the Arkyd-100, which is the telescope that the company will be using to find and assess potential mining candidates. The telescope is actually quite small, weighing in at around 24lbs (11kg), and boasts a wide variety of tech in the light package — deployable solar arrays, an avionics bay, various sensors, and of course the flight system. Aside from image capture, the Arkyd-100 also possesses the capability for laser communications.Though Lewicki showed off the current prototype, he notes that Planetary Resources is still working on other prototypes, aiming to continually improve the design. The company is also working on a way to improve the production process, both by cutting costs and allowing a small team to build a unit in a relatively short period of time.That’s all Lewicki showed off so far, but if the previous projected plan of a 2013 orbital telescope mission is still on track, we only have to wait a year to see if the asteroid drilling company will actually achieve its goal and become humanity’s last hope when an enormous asteroid barrels toward Earth, threatening to destroy all life as we know it.last_img read more