Risk-taker Musk joins group of asteroid prospectors
Musk: "Space is the final frontier and we have to make progress.”
Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk, well known in the auto industry and U.S. business for his risk-taking startups, has joined a group of investors in a company that plans to send robotic spacecraft to mine asteroids.
Planetary Resources Inc. said in a statement on Tuesday it is developing a series of spacecraft to prospect and mine "near Earth" asteroids for water and metals such as platinum, iron and nickel.
Planetary Resources didn't say how much money it will need or had raised for its plan and didn’t disclose whether it has the technology to prospect and mine an asteroid.
Planetary co-founder Peter Diamandis told The Wall Street Journal Tuesday that Planetary will benefit from a new generation of "risk-tolerant investors" such as Musk.
Musk, now 40, is the co-founder of online payment service PayPal, which was sold to eBay Inc. in 2002, and is now CEO of Tesla Motors.
Musk co-founded Telsa in 2003. In June 2010, he helped launch Tesla’s initial public stock offering -- the first IPO for a U.S. automaker in 54 years -- and the company raised $226 million on Wall Street.
Tesla has yet to report a quarterly profit but says it is on schedule to build about 5,000 cars this year and 20,000 in 2013. Deliveries of its premium electric sedan, the Model S, are scheduled to begin in July.
Musk is also CEO and chief designer for Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, a space transport company in Hawthorne, Calif.
“This is not the path to go to maximize riches,” Musk told Forbes about his investment in space travel. “It’s a terrible risk-adjusted return. But it’s gotta happen. Space is the final frontier and we have to make progress.”
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