The Redmond-based company, which hopes to someday mine asteroids for valuable resources, will use the funding to develop a sideline business producing imagery and data for monitoring Earth’s resources.
Planetary Resources, the Redmond-based company pursuing the future mining of asteroids, said Thursday it had raised $21.1 million in venture capital that it will use to develop a sideline business producing imagery and data for monitoring Earth’s resources.
The Earth observation technology — dubbed Ceres, after a dwarf planet in the solar system’s asteroid belt — will use satellite-based sensors developed by the company to create imagery showing heat profiles as well as light in portions of the spectrum beyond what the human eye can see.
The sensors will be deployed on 10 low-Earth-orbit satellites, Planetary Resources said in a statement.
The company said the data produced could be used to provide information on the health of crops, to identify energy and mineral resources, to monitor pipelines and remote infrastructure, to track toxic algae blooms, monitor global water quality and detect wildfires in their earliest stages.
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The company gave no timeline for the deployment of its proposed system.
However, it said it will test the sensor platform in an upcoming launch of its spacecraft aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.