On the eve of the passing of the massive asteroid known as 2012 DA14, which is estimated to come within 17,200 of Earth, Planetary Resources has released a update of its asteroid mining plans, including a new video that illustrates the density of un-mined space rocks in our solar system.
The 40-second video offers a graphic illustration of the relative activity and number of asteroids discovered over the the past 16 years. According to Planetary Resources, there are roughly 610,000 asteroids in our solar system, with about 10,000 classified as near-Earth objects.
Former NASA astronaut and Planetary Resources advisor Tom Jones said, "our planet is orbiting in a swarm of small remnants from the formation of the Solar System. Some of these objects have orbits that either approach or even cross Earth's orbit around the Sun. There are currently only 10,000 known near-Earth asteroids, with close to a million more that still need to be cataloged."
Given those numbers, it's no wonder the race to mine nearby space rocks is heating up. Competing space mining company Deep Space Industries believes the 2012 DA14 asteroid may be worth up to $195 billion in water and precious metals, if only we could catch it as it flies by.
You can check out the Planetary Resources asteroid illustration in the video below.