Updated 12:58 p.m. EST, Monday, January 28
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The race is officially on to mine the first asteroids in outer space.
On Tuesday, a new American spacefaring company, Deep Space Industries, Inc., publicly unveiled its plans to mine near-earth asteroids, develop a "microgravity foundry" to produce metal parts from ground up asteroid ore, and eventually, construct entire outer space refineries to produce fuel for spacecraft from the other volatiles contained in asteroids.
"Our overall plan is to get into this field [asteroid mining] as it begins and it is beginning today," said Rick N. Tumlinson, chairman of the board of Deep Space Industries, during a press conference held at the Santa Monica Museum of Flying in California on Tuesday.