Company announces it will mine asteroids for fun and profit. And the future.http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/04/24/breaking-private-company-does-indeed-plan-to-mine-asteroids-and-i-think-they-can-do-it/
The private company Planetary Resources has announced serious plans to begin finding, reaching, and mining asteroids over the next few years.
Yes, seriously. And I strongly suspect they can do it.
They're not fooling around. The company is being run by Peter Diamandis, who started the very successful X Prize Foundation, has several ex-NASA folks running the engineering ops, and has the backing of several
high-profile billionaires (yes, billionaires with a "B").
This is not pie-in-the-sky: it's a solid, step-by-step plan that starts slow and builds up. Details are in the link above, but my conclusion? This could be the first step to a permanent human presence in space.