Film director James Cameron is well on his way to being known just as much for his explorer credentials as his movies.
The 58-year old–whose films Titanic and Avatar are the highest-grossing movies of all time–can now add space exploration to his resume, which already includes being the first man to reach the bottom of the waters of the Mariana Trench and going on expeditions to the wreckage of the Titanic.
Cameron has now partnered with Google execs Eric Schmidt and Larry Page to fund a trip to space in order to seek out natural resources there, a venture which has been talked about as a goal for years but hasn’t had the right backers to fulfill. The idea is to mine asteroids for resources that can be used here on Earth, such as nickel and iron, and is estimated to cost tens of billions of dollars, which is why no one has been able to do it yet. And while it may sound like something out of one of Cameron’s movies–Avatar, perhaps–more and more scientists are getting behind the movement of space mining. In fact, a study was recently published which says that the technology to bring a 500-ton asteroid into the moon’s orbit in order to be mined is either already being used by NASA or will be in the next few years.
The men behind the ambition form a company called Planetary Resources, which was co-founded by former NASA employee Eric Anderson. The company will unveil more details about their plans next week in a press conference.