Luxembourg prince tours Redmond-based asteroid mining company

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REDMOND, Wash. — The crown prince of Luxembourg was in Seattle Monday checking out his country’s investment. Last year, the tiny but wealthy European country struck a $28 million deal with a Redmond-based asteroid mining company.

Planetary Resources is developing a spacecraft to explore and mine asteroids.

“You can build things in space with things that are already in space,” veteran NASA astronaut and Planetary Resources’ adviser Dr. Tom Jones said.

“So now it becomes possible to imagine building the raw materials for factories in space. First, they’ll be launched from the ground, but as these materials become available we’ll begin to set up factories, hotels, construction sites and eventually human colonies.”

Jones says the first step is a process to extract water which also provides oxygen and hydrogen for rocket fuel.

Luxembourg became a shareholder in Planetary Resources in November 2016.

Its investment was in the company and not a specific site or technology.

Crown Prince Guillaume, along with Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider, other officials from Luxembourg's Ministry of Economy began the day at the Space Needle before heading to Planetary Resources.

"My wife and I think Seattle is a beautiful, innovative and dynamic city," Prince Guillaume said.

Some space analysts predict mining asteroids for water and other space resources could turn into a multi-trillion-dollar industry.