“What's important is that space science, and science in general, continues to find ways to get public support,” he wrote in an email. “Our capacity to explore and understand our world and beyond is ultimately humanity's greatest endeavor.”
Planetary Resources, which was started in 2009, was founded by entrepreneur and aerospace engineer Eric Anderson and Peter Diamandis, chairman and chief executive of the X Prize Foundation.
It boasts billionaire financiers like Hollywood director James Cameron, Google Chief Executive Larry Page and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, and recent investor and Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson.
It's one of the many recent startups involved in what Lewicki calls a “second space race,” among private firms instead of governments, as technology gets better and less expensive.
Other private space programs include SpaceX, a Hawthorne, Calif.-based space-travel company founded by former PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk; Stratolaunch Systems, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's air-launching project; and Blue Origin, founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and intended to make space travel more widely affordable for the public.
Planetary Resources currently employs 40, but Lewicki expects that will grow soon.
And as Diamandis notes in a video on the company's website, technological advances mean “small teams are now able to do what only governments and large corporations were able to do before.”
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