Asteroid miner Planetary Resources has won millions in funding to deploy satellites to measure the earth’s mineral composition.
It has secured US$21.1 million in Series A funding, which will be used to deploy and operate Ceres, an earth observation company that uses infrared and hyperspectral sensor platforms to measure thermographic properties and detect the composition of materials on the planet’s surface.
“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,” Planetary Resources said.
“Ceres will provide actionable data with higher spectral resolutions – going beyond what the human eye can see.”
Ceres will integrate the imaging technology onto Planetary Resources’ Arkyd spacecraft, which will deliver the satellites into low-earth orbit.
Planetary Resources is currently testing Ceres’ sensor platform and will demonstrate the technology in space with an upcoming scheduled launch of the company’s Arkyd 6 spacecraft onboard a Space X Falcon 9 rocket.
The mission will validate the thermographic sensor and supporting technologies for the Arkyd series of spacecraft.
“As we continue toward our vision of the expansion of humanity and our economy into the Solar System, our team has been working on the critical technologies required to detect and identify the most commercially viable near-Earth asteroids and their resources,” Chris Lewicki, Planetary Resources CEO, said.
“To characterise these resources, it required more than just a picture, and our team has developed advanced spectral sensors to serve this need. We have also created new technologies for onboard computing, low-cost space platforms, and are now applying these transformative technologies in additional markets.”
James Crawford, founder of Orbital Insight, said, “When Planetary Resources’ Ceres constellation is complete, it will transform the ability to monitor, model and manage global commodities and provide visibility across all major industrial supply chains.”