Firefly in the Asteroid Belt. For Real.

Luck + Death at the Edge of the World — Click to preview it now!

Luck + Death at the Edge of the World — Click to preview it now!

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The TL/DR Synopsis Real world asteroid mining projects. Post includes links to (a) more material on this subject on the Siren Songs in Deep Time home page, (b) relevant persons and companies, (c) the theme to Firefly. Post includes embedded videos on Deep Space Industries.

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Seriously, asteroid mining companies are so thick on the ground these days I’m tripping over them.

Deep Space Idustries introductory video screen shot

Deep Space Idustries introductory video screen shot

The other day I was finalizing the Facts in the Fiction section for the new ebook edition of Siren Songs in Deep Time.

Facts in the Fiction (or FITF) is a bonus section in my ebooks that’s the equivalent of a behind-the-scenes DVD extra–it gives you details about factual stuff that forms part of the fictional story.

The FITF section of Siren Songs required some information about asteroid mining, a favorite science fiction trope since (believe it or not) the 19th century.

Deep Space Idustries introductory video screen shot

Deep Space Idustries introductory video screen shot

No problem. I know a little about this–hell, I’ve been following the topic long enough. Plus I did research for the story. I write a draft.

I cover the fictional roots of asteroid mining, I talk about the NASA study in the 1970s, and I touch on a recently formed private initiative (Space Wealth, founded 2008).

Then I come around to the present day and the big topic: last year’s announcement that the honchos at Google, plus a few of their high-powered friends, like James Cameron, had gotten together and used their gazillion-dollar bank accounts to cherry pick some experienced hands from the aerospace industry. They formed a company, Planetary Resources, to  make  the dream come true: real-life, boots on the ground asteroid mining.

(Find out more about Planetary Resources on the Siren Songs Bonus Material page.)

Deep Space Idustries introductory video screen shot

Deep Space Idustries introductory video screen shot

The very day that I’m editing the piece, Planetary Resources releases a video update on their work. Well, that’s a coincidence, but no problem, I can incorporate it.

Then, the same damned day, another announcement: a whole new asteroid mining company has been launched. Deep Space Industries is headed by space industry veteran and NASA contractor David Gump.

The DSI introductory video is embedded below, along with a video of the media conference announcing DSI’s formation and a video of the Q&A session afterward.

Deep Space Idustries introductory video screen shot

Deep Space Idustries introductory video screen shot

Like Planetary Resources, DSI has some in-house expertise in space ventures, although possibly not on the same scale.

They also appear to have a few catchy publicity angles up their sleeve.

Like the fact that their project involves spacecraft that just happen to share a name with the the fanatically beloved Joss Whedon show Firefly (the eminently singalong-able theme song of which can be found here).

The ship Serenity from Firefly and the Firefly class probe from Deep Space Industries

Above: the Firefly-class vessel “Serenity” from the show Firefly. Below: the real-life Firefly-class probe from Deep Space Industries. Not the same thing, but still.

Or the fact that DSI’s motto appears to be borrowed almost directly from midnight movie cult favorite The Rocky Horror Picture Show. “If you can dream it, you can be it” bears more than a passing resemblance to the title and spirit of the song “Don’t dream it, be it” (YouTube link here).

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on DSI, in part for their progress on the scientific and business fronts, but in part also just to see how many more catchy pop culture references they can cram into their marketing plan.

With all that said, I’m going to finish the Facts in the Fiction now. If nobody plans on announcing any more asteroid mining ventures just this minute, that is. The new edition of Siren Songs will be available starting tomorrow (January 28, 2013).

The videos are below, but don’t forget to check out the Siren Songs Bonus Material page for more asteroid mining information and other cool stuff, including embedded videos, links, and free PDF downloads.

DSI Introductory Video

DSI Media Conference Video

DSI Media Conference Q&A Video

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