'Fireflies' to scope out space rocks for mining
Meteorites sit on a display table Tuesday at the Deep Space Industrie.
January 22nd, 2013
09:51 PM ET

'Fireflies' to scope out space rocks for mining

Space, it has been said, is big. Really big.

But big enough for two companies that want to mine near-Earth asteroids?

A venture announced Tuesday in California hopes so.

Deep Space Industries says it wants to start sending miniature scout probes, dubbed "Fireflies," on one-way missions to near-Earth asteroids as soon as 2015. Larger probes, "Dragonflies," that will bring back 50- to 100-pound samples from prospective targets could be on their way by 2016, company CEO David Gump told reporters.

The goal is to extract metals, water and compounds that can be used to make spacecraft fuel from the chunks of rock that float within about 50 million kilometers (31 million miles) of Earth. Gump said the ability to produce fuel in space would be a boon for NASA, as the U.S. space agency shifts its focus toward exploring deeper into the solar system.

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soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Mary

    Later that night, Bubbles was seen mining for fruit flies with a PEDO prob heading straight for Sandusky's cell ... 😉

    January 22, 2013 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Steven

    What a great name for a ship!

    January 31, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |