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James Cameron and Google execs plot asteroid mining project?

A spacefaring project backed by James Cameron and Google's founders could be an asteroid mining company.

A spacefaring project backed by Aliens director James Cameron and Google head honchos is tipped to concern asteroid mining, and promises to "create a new industry and a new definition of 'natural resources'".

The news comes via a press release unearthed by MIT's Technology Review, detailing a new company called Planetary Resources that even has a cool space-age logo, and will officially lift-off next Tuesday, 24 April.

Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt are supporting the project, as is former Microsoft bod Charles Simonyi, with personal spaceflight entrepreneur Peter Diamandis helming the new company. Veteran astronaut Tom Jones (no, not that one) is serving as advisor, among other knowledgeable folks.

With the dream team of rich space enthusiasts and philanthropists thus assembled, Planetary Resources promises to "overlay two critical sectors -- space exploration and natural resources -- to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP."

The press release doesn't detail exactly what the company will do, but asteroid mining is the leading hypothesis right now -- purloining valuable minerals from hurtling space nuggets. How exactly that would work is, ahem, up in the air.

Hopefully all will be revealed at the launch, which kicks off at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, where I've heard Billy Bob Thornton will explain the mechanics of asteroid mining to a frightened Steve Buscemi. The event is also set to be streamed online.

This all sounds rather exciting to me, but what do you think? Let me know what you reckon in the comments or on our Facebook wall.