Asteroid mining

Planetary Resources, a company backed by Google, film director James Cameron and other executives, yesterday announced plans to extract precious metals and other rare materials from asteroids that orbit close to Earth.

In the news

Asteroid mining

It sounds like a plot device straight out of a science-fiction movie, so it is perhaps apt that plans to extract precious metals and other rare materials from asteroids is being backed by Alien and Avatar director James Cameron. The co-founders of the company behind the scheme, Planetary Resources, expect to launch a demonstration mission within two years and intend to be space mining for a number of commercial clients within 10 years. Though only a small start-up company, with just 20 employees, the high-profile backers which, in addition to Mr Cameron include Internet company Google, suggest that this is a serious business plan which aims to ‘add trillions of dollars to the global GDP’. Both of the company’s co-founders have been involved in space ventures before - organising space tourist trips to the International Space Station and private flights out of this world.

Space fever seems to be ripe in the UK at the moment too as artist Katie Paterson prepares to present her centrepiece for this summer’s Exhibition Road Show - a meteorite, 50cm across, that fell to Earth 4.5 billion years ago.

Related resources

Space exploration - costly or cost effective?

  • A look at NASA as a case study to evaluate the cost effectiveness of space exploration- is it worth spending money on? Start debating today.

Planetary neighbourhood

  • Explore our solar system and get modelling planets with this fun introduction to our space neighbours.

The dangers of asteroids

  • Mining in space might sound like a great adventure, but asteroids pose a serious threat to Earth too. Help students understand this with a physics experiment lesson.

Asteroid in Australia

  • A science investigation questions whether an asteroid could destroy Australia - students’ scientific accuracy is key in this practical lesson.

Further news resources

First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week

The World Shakespeare Festival launched on Monday with a Maouri performance of Troilus and Cressida, the first in a series of international adaptations for the Globe to Globe season.

37,500 runners filled the streets of the capital on Sunday for the 32nd London Marathon. British runner Claire Hallissey was selected to join the Olympics marathon squad after gaining 2nd place in the women’s race.

Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix went ahead despite violent anti-government demonstrations on the streets of Manama.

Scientists made a breakthrough in breast cancer research last week, discovering that there are 10 varieties of the disease. The discovery will help doctors tailor treatment more specifically to individual patients.

First News

First News Weekly News Bulletin, in association with Sky News, is a three minute round-up of the news every week - available every Wednesday. For previous weeks' bulletins, go to our First News website: