Not long ago, of course, this was the stuff of sci-fi.
It smacks of the 1998 movie Armageddon, in which a team of roughnecks lands on an asteroid on a collision course with Earth in order to blow it out of the sky.
As it turns out, there is a real-life asteroid hunter doing something even more exciting.
Dr. Ed Lu is a former NASA astronaut and veteran of three space flights, and he has just announced a new mission - to find the asteroids that pose a threat to our planet and eradicate them. His work is more vital than you might think.
You see, near-Earth asteroids are a double-edged sword.
No doubt, thousands of them contain valuable metals and other physical assets that will open up a whole new paradigm of resource discovery and make some savvy investors rich.
On the other hand...
We're surrounded by a belt of them that could strike Earth. Under the worst-case scenario, a large rock traveling at high speeds could wipe out most of the life on our planet. That remains a remote chance. But this fact is clear: Even a small space rock could cause widespread damage. It could kill thousands, or perhaps millions, if it were to strike a heavily populated urban area.
This is not the stuff of theory.
Earth has been hit by asteroids before - big ones.
Asteroid mining hasn't even gotten off the ground yet.
But it's already drawing some bad - and very misguided - press
I wrote to you last month to tell you about a new startup that wants to mine asteroids for resources that could be worth trillions.
Indeed, as I said, just one of these rocks the size of an art museum could be worth $100 billion. (See "'Mining the Sky' for an Abundant Future.")