Nov. 6: Lecture about new asteroid mining company

Lewicki-VorheesPULLMAN, Wash. – “Planetary Resources: Asteroid Mining Company’’ is the title of the free, public Lanning Lecture at 12:10 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, in ETRL 101 at Washington State University.

Speakers will include Chris Lewicki, president and chief engineer, and Chris Voorhees, vice president of space development, from Planetary Resources, Inc., a start-up company based in Bellevue, Wash.

The company is aiming to mine near-earth asteroids for precious metals. Earlier this year it raised $1.5 million through a crowdfunding campaign for development of a publicly accessible space telescope. The campaign allowed people to support the project by buying ‘’selfie’’ portraits of themselves in outer space with the earth as a backdrop.

Lewicki is responsible for strategic development of the company’s mission and vision and engagement with customers and the scientific community. He serves as the technical compass and leads day to day operations. An aerospace engineer, he has been intimately involved with the lifecycle of NASA’s Mars exploration rovers and the Phoenix Mars lander.

The recipient of two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals, he has an asteroid named in his honor: 13609 Lewicki (;sstr=13609). He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Arizona.

Voorhees leads the technical team in implementing detailed design, development, integration, and operation of the company’s spacecraft line of products. He has played an integral role in both the Mars exploration rover and Mars science laboratory projects and served as chief engineer for mechanical assembly, integration and testing for NASA’s $2.5 billion Mars science laboratory.

He received NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal for design and development of the Mars exploration rover’s mobility system. He graduated summa cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Sponsored by WSU’s College of Engineering and Architecture, the Lanning Lecture series was established in 1988 and is funded by civil engineering alumnus Jack Dillon, ’41.



Tina Hilding, senior communications coordinator, WSU College of Engineering and Architecture, 509-335-5095,