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Planetary Resources Raises $21.1 Million; Unveils Advanced Earth Observation Capability

May 30, 2016 03:37 AM EDT
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The asteroid mining company, Planetary Resources, Inc. announced that they secured $21.1 million in a series of funding. This enables them to operate Ceres, a space-based sensor to further enhance the observation of natural resources.

Ceres, being a constellation of satellites, will definitely need a huge amount of funding to operate. It will use state-of-the-art hyperspectral sensor and infrared sensor to help researchers understand the composition of the object they're looking at.

Ceres is responsible for collecting information about Earth and the asteroids in deep space.

"Things that help us understand the makeup of an asteroid can help us understand how a crop can grow today," said Chris Lewicki, CEO of Planetary Resources in a video presentation.

The funds were successfully completed with the help of Idea Bulb Ventures, Tencent,  Vast Ventures, Grishin Robotics, Conversion Capital, The Seraph Group, Space Angels Network, Angel.co and Larry Page, led by Bryan Johnson and the OS Fund.

Planetary Resources will utilize their Arkyd spacecraft to deliver "Earth Intelligence" of the planet's natural resources.

Ceres is said to deliver better imaging technology which can provide "actionable data with a higher resolution" compared to other observatories.

"The midwave-infrared sensor is the first ever commercial capability from space to offer thermographic mapping and night-imaging, and the hyperspectral sensor includes an unprecedented 40 color bands in the visible to near-infrared spectrum" according to a statement released by the Planetary Resources.

In total, there will be 10 satellites in the low-Earth orbit. The data gathered will be useful in many industries on Earth including oil, gas, water, forestry and agriculture. CERES can provide spectral signatures and information regarding crops, mineral resources, toxic algae bloom and global water quality providing authorities a heads-up so actions can be performed even before a problem worsens.

"With Ceres, Planetary Resources has leapfrogged traditional imagers for monitoring Earth's natural resources, creating far-ranging opportunity.  It's a seismic shift for the new space economy" said Bryan Johnson, founder of OS Fund and board of director member at Planetary Resources, in a press release.

The company is also expanding their space exploration programs. Planetary Resources is scheduled to launch Arkyd 6 onboard SpaceX Falcon 9 for further testing of its new technologies.

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