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In pictures: High-tech tycoons want to mine nearby asteroids

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This March 3, 2000 image provided by NASA shows the near-Earth asteroid Eros from the NEAR spacecraft at a distance of 204 kilometers. A group of high-tech tycoons wants to mine nearby asteroids, hoping to turn science fiction into real profits.

NASA/AP/NASA/AP

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This computer-generated image provided by Planetary Resources, a group of high-tech tycoons that wants to mine nearby asteroids, shows a conceptual rendering of satellites prospecting a water-rich, near-Earth asteroid. The group's mega-million dollar plan is to use commercially built robotic ships to squeeze rocket fuel and valuable minerals like platinum and gold out of the lifeless rocks that routinely whiz by Earth.

Planetary Resources/AP/Planetary Resources/AP

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This computer-generated image provided by Planetary Resources, a group of high-tech tycoons that wants to mine nearby asteroids, shows a conceptual rendering of a spacecraft preparing to capture a water-rich, near-Earth asteroid. One of the company founders predicts they could have their version of a space-based gas station up and running by 2020.

Planetary Resources/AP/Planetary Resources/AP

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This computer-generated image provided by Planetary Resources, a group of high-tech tycoons that wants to mine nearby asteroids, shows a conceptual rendering of several small robotic spacecraft mining a near-Earth asteroid.

Planetary Resources/AP/Planetary Resources/AP

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