The next era of space exploration might be here, with people like director James Cameron, and Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt investing in an ambitious venture called Planetary Resources, according to Reuters.
Details of the company will be unveiled at the Museum of Flight in Seattle tomorrow, according to a press release. So far, details about the venture have been tantalizingly sparse. Planetary Resources was co-founded by Eric Anderson, a former NASA Mars mission manager and Peter Diamandis, a space entrepreneur and founder of the X Prize.
More on GlobalPost: Uranus auroras captured by Hubble Space Telescope (VIDEO)
The speculation over the press release's promise to "unveil a new space venture with a mission to help ensure humanity's prosperity," has led observers to suggest that the company will explore extraterrestrial mining opportunities, according to MSNBC.
The press release said the company would "overlay two critical sectors — space exploration and natural resources — to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP. This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of 'natural resources,'" according to MSNBC.
Diamandis told Forbes, "I can tell you that since I was a boy I've wanted to be an asteroid miner," adding to the speculation.
More on GlobalPost: Space shuttle Discovery makes final flight (Video)
The Wall Street Journal noted that the possibility of mining materials from asteroids is not a new idea, but the cost and expertise required created obstacles to the venture. It said, "NASA experts have projected it could cost tens of billions of dollars and take well over a decade to land astronauts on an asteroid."
Michio Kaku, a physics professor at City University of New York, told ABC News, "I think private enterprise will boldly go where governments fear to tread. And I think the space program has been in purgatory in the last few years. NASA is an agency to nowhere. So, we need private enterprise, especially people with deep pockets to help jump start the program and maybe mining the heavens is just the ticket."
It's a case of life imitates art for Cameron whose 2009 blockbuster Avatar involved humans mining an alien planet for precious resources. Cameron also recently became the first human to reach the lowest point in the Pacific Ocean, at 35,756 ft.
More on GlobalPost: Hotdesking, the latest office trend to annoy employees