Planetary Resources announced Sunday that Sir Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin Group, has joined the company's core group of investors. Based in Seattle, Wash., Planetary Resources is planning a series of low-cost robotic space missions with the ultimate goal of one day mining precious minerals from near Earth asteroids.
“I’m excited to be part of the Planetary Resources’ team working on extracting precious minerals from near Earth asteroids," Branson said. “The only way to truly explore our Solar System is to develop the technology and means to sustain our presence in space without depleting resources of Earth.”
Branson generously made a campaign pledge of $100,000 toward the ARKYD space telescope project managed by Planetary Resources. ARKYD will be the world's first crowdfunded space telescope for the public, which has generated nearly 17,000 supporters and over $1.3 million in pledges.