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Luxembourg Announces Asteroid Mining Venture With 2 US Companies


The Luxembourg Ministry of Economy announced a joint venture with two U.S. companies to mine resources from near-Earth asteroids.

According to The Luxembourg Wort, the nation's government is teaming up with Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries. Luxembourg Economy Minister Etienne Schneider stated minerals the mission would seek to harvest from an asteroid would include water, gold, and platinum, among others.

Planetary Resources, a company that counts Google CEO Larry Page as an investor and NASA astronauts, MIT physicists, and James Cameron as advisors, appears to be designing the spacecraft that will be used for the mission. DSI, a commercial space tourism company, stated on its website it "will launch tiny, robotic scouts to inspect Near Earth Asteroids."

"In the very near future, we will come forward with a strategic action plan defining concrete measures for the coming years," Schneider told BBC News. "In this context, the government of Luxembourg is willing to invest in relevant R&D projects. We are willing as well to invest into the companies themselves. Not all, of course, but if a company seems very interesting to us, we are willing and able to invest into the capital.

"What is more, we have the national investment bank, which is chaired by myself and the minister of finance, and this bank can give credits to these companies; and we have set up funds that will be eager to invest in this activity."

Jean-Jacques Dordain, the director-general of the European Space Agency, will serve as an adviser on the mission.

"I am convinced there is great scientific and economic potential in Luxembourg's vision," he told the Financial Times. "We know how to get to asteroids, how to drill into them and how to get samples back to Earth."

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