Monday , November 22 2021

Everything has to go boldly! Hardware of the asteroid mining company no longer available offered for auction

Rich Reynolds, an employee of James G. Murphy Auctioneers, observes the thermal vacuum chamber in the machine shop of the former Planetary Resources headquarters in Redmond, Washington (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle).

REDMOND, Wash. – Would you like to buy a used thermal vacuum chamber?

If you have a sudden yen to replicate space conditions, you need to check this Today's pure hardware online auction left over from Planetary Resources, the Redmond company that wanted to create a trillion-dollar asteroid mining industry.

But don't hesitate: everything is possible until this evening – from the 10-foot-high vacuum chamber in the machine shop on the first floor to the dozens of laptops and chairs that are distributed in the work area on the second floor, to the satellite dish at the top of the office building in Redmond – will have gone to the highest bidders electronically.

As of late Wednesday night, the vacuum chamber cost $ 730. A vertical CNC machining center made the most expensive offer at over $ 34,000. However, there was no offer for the satellite ground station that required removal by crane and $ 3 million in liability insurance.

That is likely to change today.

"It's like a card game," said Hank Kilmer, head of the auction site at James G. Murphy Auctioneers. "You don't really know until it's over."

Clean room
Tool-filled boxes stand on tables in the former clean room at Planetary Resources headquarters. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

The same thing could have been said by Planetary Resources. When the startup came out of hiding in 2012, it was supported by greats like Google co-founder Larry Page and film director James Cameron. The company planned to build probes to track near-Earth asteroids and test them for resources from water to platinum.

"I believe the first trillions will be made in space," said co-founder Peter Diamandis in 2015.

Unfortunately, Planetary Resources ran out of funds in 2018. This summer, the company was close to auctioning off all of its assets – but held back long enough to be taken over by ConsenSys, a New York-based blockchain studio.

For a while it looked like the company was being renamed ConsenSys Spacewould turn its way to new frontiers. Chris Lewicki, formerly President, CEO and Chief Asteroid Miner of Planetary Resources, was a pioneer in a blockchain-based crowdsourcing satellite tracking project called TruSat.

Then, last month, ConsenSys announced it would make Planetary Resources' intellectual property freely available to all newcomers – and finally continue the auction.

Potential buyers were able to register bids last week. The sale will come to a head from 11:00 am today when the bid for each of the 1,165 lots will be closed in succession at a rate of three lots per minute. At this rate, it will take six and a half hours for all lots to go, go, go. The proceeds go to ConsenSys.

Flags in the former headquarters of Planetary Resources
Flags of the USA and Luxembourg sit on a table in the former headquarters of Planetary Resources. The asteroid mining company received millions in investment capital from Luxembourg, but the money eventually ran out. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

Wednesday was scheduled for a preview on site. According to Kilmer, prospects with 10 to 20 people got through at a constant rate throughout the day.

"We have the workshop group. We have the office group. We have a strange science group, the regular auction junkies and the electronics people," he said. "We see it all."

There isn't a lot of really spacious stuff on sale. The asteroid video game that used to sit in the break room is closest to the asteroid mining equipment. (Wednesday night's highest bid was $ 801.)

The statue of the Star Wars bounty hunter Boba Fett, which used to stand next to the reception, was returned to the investor who lent it to Planetary Resources. One of the company's most valuable objects, a replacement infrared imaging satellite, is reportedly being held in reserve for an unannounced mission.

However, hardware parts are not the only valuables in the space business. Many of the engineers who used to work at Planetary Resources started their own company called First Mode. Lewicki continues to guard them TruSat projectand other veterans have ended up with space companies, including Blue origin, SpaceX and Lockheed Martin.

It may well be that Planetary Resources' most valuable assets cannot be bought or sold.

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Update for 6pm PT June 4th: All of the hardware is now bravely sold. The vacuum chamber offered an offer of $ 9,100. The vertical CNC machining center was the most expensive product at $ 43,250. The satellite ground station was a bargain for $ 1,005. And the Asteroids video game was stolen at a price of $ 2,152. In addition to the offer price, buyers paid an auction premium of 13%.

About Nancie Clifford

Nancie Clifford is a housewife and loves technology. He writes on various websites.

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