Asteroid-mining firm hiring “space nuts” and interns

Google’s billionaire co-founders and filmmaker James Cameron’s owned asteroid-mining focused Planetary Resources has started hiring interns for 2013.

The much-hyped start-up is seeking college students for paid positions starting in January to help develop the next-generation technology for space mining.

Planetary Resources’ president Chris Lewicki, who bills himself as “chief asteroid miner,” says the company hopes to launch the first mining mission by the end of the decade.

If you think you are a bit too old for an internship, there are also other job listings at Planetary Resources, including one posting calling for a “General Space Nut.”

The company says to prepare among others for the following questions during the job interview:

  • Are you a space nut? Prove it!
  • Look around your home. How would we know that you are an engineer?
  • What are your three favorite tools to get the job done? What makes them your favorites?
  • What do you want to get out of working for Planetary Resources?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • Have you seen a product through its full life cycle: design, analysis, fab, assembly, test, and ops?
  • Have you designed and built hardware that someone else has used?
  • Have you written code that someone else has used?
  • Do you know how to use a mill and a lathe?
  • Can you debug a PCB?
  • Does a convoluted, system-level problem make you tingle with excitement?
  • Do you know how to create an interplanetary spacecraft trajectory to a celestial target?
  • Are you a mean cook?
  • Can you fix the heat if it breaks?
  • We would recognize your handiwork on such space missions or product releases as…
  • Are your soldering skills are best described as Cro-Magnon, Offensive, Survivable, Clean and Functional, Mil-spec compliant, or Angelic (cue choir sounds)?
  • How would you feel about moving to the Seattle area?
  • At Planetary Resources, we fail. A lot. In fact, we celebrate failure. Give us an example of one of your failures, how you fixed it, and what you learned from it.
  • What name would you give a crash test dummy, and why?
  • Paste a link to a picture that best describes you, but is not OF you.
  • If you were asked to give a 20 minute presentation on a subject for which you consider yourself an expert, what would be the topic of the presentation?

Though focused on space mining, the company promises most positions are very much down to Earth. “It may sound like science fiction,” it says one of the postings, “but it’s just science!”

Asteroids are rich in valuable minerals. Just one km diameter of an M-type asteroid, the third most common type, could contain more than two billion tons of iron ore and nickel.  And they are not too far away.


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