Deep Space Industries announced Tuesday its plan to mine near-Earth asteroids by 2015, joining a second company vying for a foothold in outer space.
The plan is to build unmanned ships that can somehow grab asteroids as they rocket past earth and mine precious metals like platinum from them, the Daily Mail reported.
"More than 900 new asteroids that pass near Earth are discovered every year," said Deep Space CEO David Gump in a statement.
"They can be like the Iron Range of Minnesota was for the Detroit car industry last century — a key resource located near where it was needed. In this case, metals and fuel from asteroids can expand the in-space industries of this century. That is our strategy."
With a 55-pound spacecraft called FireFlies, Deep Space intends to locate and target asteroids, Fox News reported.
"We can make amazing machines smaller, cheaper and faster than ever before," Deep Space chairman Rick Tumlinson said in a statement. "Imagine a production line of FireFlies, cocked and loaded and ready to fly out to examine any object that gets near the Earth."
As Space.com points out, Deep Space is not the first company to think of mining beyond Earth's atmosphere. Company Planetary Resources, backed by Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, made its pitch last April, seen here:
Deep Space was slated to hold a live announcement later Tuesday: