Mining other planets and asteroids is a staple element of a great many science fiction stories. The prospect of being able to loot other rocks for the precious minerals that they contain is a corporate dream, though with the technology we have today it looks like that dream is probably unrealistic. That does not, however, stop people from trying to figure out a way to do it.
Some people who are far too rich for their own good (director James Cameron among them) are looking to make the dream a reality. Their targets are the many asteroids near the planet Earth and their goals include the veins of gold and platinum which they believe to be encased within. Some experts estimate that as much as $50 billion worth of platinum could be present in one 30-meter diameter asteroid. With hundreds of thousands of these asteroids within a reasonable distance of Earth, the potential for huge profit is there. And with huge profit comes the incentive to get things done.