Lou Dobbs Predicted This Whole 'Asteroid Mining' Thing (Yes, That Lou Dobbs) Cue that cheesy Aerosmith tune: We’re headed straight for near-earth asteroids. A company called Planetary Resources, Inc. this week announced its intentions to mine asteroids in order to “expand Earth’s natural resource base.” Think about that for a second: A ragtag team, presumably led by Bruce Willis, will shoot up into space and come back down with billions of dollars in riches, Marco Polo-style. “A single 500-meter platinum-rich asteroid contains thean [sic] equivalent of all the Platinum Group Metals mined in history,” the group wrote in its press release on Tuesday. The whole thing is complicated, as futuristic endeavors often are. It’s not as simple as blasting off, scooping up stuff and returning with ‘make it rain’-level minerals. Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait has an incredible breakdown of the multi-step process and whether he thinks it will work (spoiler: he does). But the full, long-range plan sounded a bit familiar when the asteroid-mining rumors began to swirl and the science fiction-becoming-reality headlines started to populate the Google. Where had I seen this idea of turning asteroid mining into a profitable business and a GDP bonanza? Oh, that’s right, Lou Dobbs. Yes, that Lou Dobbs, the same Lou Dobbs who appeared on CNN night after night wearing an American flag lapel pin, lamenting our “Broken Borders,” and wondering why nobody gave a damn that the transparency-driven Barack Hussein Obama wouldn’t release his long-form birth certificate. Dobbs has always been a space nut, in the best sense of the word. In 1999 he left CNN briefly to start up Space.com, and in 2001 he released a book with HP Newquist called “Space: The Next Business Frontier,” which combined his Moneyline knowledge and skill with his love of space. (Full disclosure: Dobbs handed me a copy of this book to read as homework on my first day working for him at CNN in June 2003; we worked together for the next seven years.) The idea of asteroid mining has been around since at least as far back as 1980. But it was Dobbs who brought this to the mainstream in his “Space” book. Here’s a dead-on excerpt: Mining in space will either be done on planets (like Mars) and large satellites (like the Moon), or on asteroids and comets. The first type of mining will probably be done on near-Earth asteroids, those that stray from asteroid belts and provide the inspiration for science-fiction movies where collisions threaten life as we know it. Asteroids are believed to be rich in minerals that are scarce—and therefore precious—on Earth, especially gold, platinum group metals, and nonmetals like gallium and arsenic. These resources have high material value for Earth-based industries, such as platinum for use in jewelry and high-durability alloys, and nonmetals for use in computer components. Even less valuable material like iron ore may have a purer form on these heavenly bodies. Astronomers believe that the structure of asteroids may be such that these elements could be concentrated individually in rich cores, making mining a more direct process than it is on Earth. Bringing large quantities of this material back to Earth may justify the expenditures of sending robot mining “crews” and probes to asteroids to retrieve the elements, or—as has been suggested—steering the asteroid back to Earth where it can be mined after crashing into a desert area. Somehow, this latter strategy doesn’t seem to be something that the FAA or State Department would approve of. Eleven years later, it looks like that very idea has finally come to fruition. Good call, Lou. Go on, go ’head and click and Follow Us THE BEST STUFF OF THE DAY: • Obama & Jimmy Fallon Slow-Jam the News • This Is One of the Most Unbelievable Basketball Shots You’ll Ever See • Badass Newborn Baby Flips Off Her Dad Like She Don’t Even Care • This Luxury Penthouse Bathroom Will Literally Scare the Sh*t Out of You • Pizza Hut Middle East Puts Mini-Cheeseburgers In Crust, Throws Down Caloric Gauntlet Slade Sohmer Slade Sohmer is editor-in-chief of HyperVocal and co-host of SiriusXM's daily "Politics Powered By Twitter" program. Tweet him at @SladeHV.