Updated at 3:13 p.m.
K&L Gates has registered to lobby on an out-of-this-world matter: asteroid mining.
The firm notified Congress last week that it is advocating for Planetary Resources Inc. on issues related to quarrying the celestial bodies, but not on any particular legislation. The Seattle-based company says on its website it is "establishing a new paradigm for resource discovery and utilization that will bring the solar system into humanity's sphere of influence."
Former Representative Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), a K&L Gates partner, is handling the account with firm partners Daniel Ritter and R. Paul Stimers, as well as associate Stephen Roberts.
"This is not some Buck Rogers story," Gordon said of asteroid mining.
Founded in 2009, Planetary Resources' investors include Google Inc. chief executive officer Larry Page and executive chairman Eric Schmidt, as well as Ross Perot Jr., chairman of Hillwood Development Co. and The Perot Group. Filmmaker James Cameron and retired General T. Michael Moseley, a former chief of staff of the Air Force and member of the Joint Chiefs, are among the company's advisers.
Planetary Resources says on its website that "more than 1,500 [asteroids] are as easy to reach as the Moon." The company plans to create robotic spacecraft that will explore the celestial bodies, allowing it to learn about them and develop equipment to extract their resources.
K&L Gates is the first firm to register to lobby for Planetary Resources, according to congressional records. But the company isn't the firm's first lobbying client from the space industry.
The firm in 2012 advocated for the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and reusable-spacecraft manufacturer Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX.
Gordon, Ritter, Stimers and Roberts lobbied for the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. But Ritter wasn't involved with his firm's SpaceX work, which ended in July after a limited engagement.