A lot has happened in 2014 as we have progressed towards our mission to mine asteroids in our Solar System. Our team has grown, we have progressed in our technology and spacecraft development, and worked with YOU on some amazing Citizen Science endeavors.
Here is a quick snapshot of all the incredible 2014 accomplishments from our team, YOU, and the industry.
Planetary Resources supported NASA in 4 contracts which utilized our technology and experience, and various contracts with private companies who are interested in leveraging our spacecraft innovations.
Move to Redmond, WA
We moved into our brand new asteroid mining spacecraft facility in Redmond, WA this year! With more space and advanced facilities, we have even greater capabilities to build our Arkyd spacecraft.
Our new website launched this year, and it is chock full of amazing content and functionality.
Asteroids Data Hunters
We partnered with NASA, Topcoder, and Harvard Tournament Labs to develop the Asteroid Data Hunters challenge!
In this challenge, participants are asked to develop algorithms that improve upon existing algorithms used by the Catalina Sky Survey for detecting asteroids in the night sky. So far, the algorithms developed have shown some great optimizations in the data! We are excited to release the official results early in 2015.
In our partnership with Zooniverse, we developed Asteroid Zoo. A web challenge where you can search for real asteroids in the night sky with your own eyes! Using Catalina Sky Survey data, click through frames of various locations in the sky, and you might be able to find the next target mine for Planetary Resources, or the next hazardous asteroid Earthlings need to keep an eye on!
In a huge step in policy this year, members of Congress introduced the ASTEROIDS Act and held a hearing to discuss it. This is an important step as the government demonstrates its support of the commercial development of space resources.
The European Space Agency, or ESA, achieved something truly amazing this year when they landed their spacecraft on a comet! The Rosetta Spacecraft ventured 6 billion kilometers, and over 10 years, to rendezvous with the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The Philae Lander then landed on the comet, and has sent back incredible findings from far, far away.
The Japanese Space Agency, or JAXA, launched their 2nd asteroid sample return mission, Hayabusa 2. In the coming years, we will be watching as they unfold the secrets of the asteroid 1999 JU3!
Arkyd 3 Launch
Our first technology demonstration spacecraft, the Arkyd-3 (or A3), was delivered this year to launch from the International Space Station, to low-Earth orbit. This was the first step in testing our key technologies towards prospecting and mining asteroids. Unfortunately, the A3 was on board the Antares ORB-3 mission that failed 6 seconds into launch. Despite this minor setback, we are moving forward fast and are planning on launching 2 spacecraft in 2015: a replacement Arkyd-3 and its successor, and Arkyd-6! More details on both missions will be announced in early 2015.
In 2015, we will need YOU to be a part of our mission more than ever! Stay tuned in 2015 for new ways you can be a part of our mission.
Happy Holidays, and cheers to a prosperous 2015!