Planetary Resources secured the funding for Ceres, its new Earth Observation platform. The total amount rises to $21.1 million, and the participants in this funding are various private companies.
The investors believe that Ceres will be an immense opportunity to collect data on natural resources situated on Earth’s surface and to have complete visibility across industries.
Some even consider this as a step to outer space explorations which will constitute to the beginning of a new space economy.
Planetary Resources aims to create spaceships and new technology based on a philosophy of cost-efficiency. The company declared that these technological discoveries will also be deployed on other additional markets.
The new Earth Observation platform will be equipped with infrared and hyperspectral sensors that will be able to deliver detailed information on our planet’s resources.
While traditional satellites only offer pictures of the Earth’s surface, Ceres will be able to provide data regarding thermographic properties and chemical composition of materials.
The mid-wave infrared sensor will deliver night imaging and thermographic mapping while the hyperspectral sensor will detect and capture images within 40 color bands, which is a premiere for commercial satellites.
At its final stage, Ceres will be constituted of 10 satellites that will be placed in the low-Earth orbit. The launch and positioning will be done with the help of an Arkyd spacecraft.
Benefits of the New Observatory
The platform is designed to provide affordable information on natural resources. The device will be able to monitor remote infrastructure and pipelines, to identify mineral resources and to provide customized information on crops.
Other activities will include tracking toxic algae, monitoring water quality and early wildfire detection.
This type of data is of high interest to industries like agriculture, forestry, oil and gas, or even financial intelligence.
Current Status of the Project
Planetary Resources is preparing to test the capability of the sensors in outer space. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket containing the Arkyd 6 spacecraft will be launched in the low area of Earth’s atmosphere to test the technical capacities of the Arkyd device and the correct functioning of its sensors.
The company that initiated this program is interested in exploring not just Earth’s natural resources, but also minerals and materials that can be found on asteroids. The results of the missions will be exploited for commercial purposes.
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