10 May 2007

Mining Space--A Gold Rush that Never Ends

Cheaper space launch opens the door to the mining of space objects for useful materials.
In 2004, the world production of iron ore exceeded 1,000 million metric tons[1]. In comparison, a comparatively small M-type asteroid with a mean diameter of 1 km could contain more than 2,000 million metric tons of iron-nickel ore[2], or two to three times the annual production for 2004. The asteroid 16 Psyche is believed to contain 1.7×1019 kg of iron-nickel, which could supply the 2004 world production requirement for several million years. A small portion of the extracted material would also contain precious metals....

Most people think in a small and limited scope. This leaves them completely unprepared for the changes that are coming.
Who will benefit from the exploitation of space? Information on this area has made plain that the costs of initial start-up and initial maintenance are beyond the capability of the non industrialized nations and can only be undertaken by nations with large developed economic infrastructures, specifically the European Union, The U.S., possibly Russia and Japan. Each of these has positive and negative factors which will determine how large a share of space industry and mining they will control. The U.S. has several advantages. First of all the previously mentioned public and private commitment to space research. Secondly a great deal of governmental research has gone into space "Space ventures require investments beyond the capacity of the private sector. Already the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has spent more then $200 billion (in current dollars), much of it to create the infrastructure needed to exploit space." (Osborne 45) Like any momentous undertaking a planning stage is required, thanks to some far-sighted policy makers a fair amount of planning has already been accomplished.

Because of the huge potential payoff from any invention that makes the riches of space more accessible to human developers, there is no shortage of people who make extraordinary claims for their inventions. But even if such inventions do not pan out, a more sober analysis suggests that no more than a few decades will pass before the space revolution will be fully in play.

Modern news media is far too short-sighted and unintelligent/uninspired to alert their clients to these immensely important possibilities. Media controllers are far too interested in trying to swing the next political elections to take the time to understand the huge and powerful forces that are likely to throw them and their antiquated industry on the junkheap of history.

There is no need for the rest of us to be so myopic.

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Blogger Michael Anissimov said...

Great post! Although, as I argue on my blog, space travel will become somewhat useless when we think at millions of times human speed, I suspect it may have an important role before such technologies are developed.

Thursday, 10 May, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks, Michael.

I suspect that exploitation of space resources will help to pay many of the expenses for the required work to achieve a faster speed of cognition, and relative immunity to disease and physical attack, among other advances.

Thursday, 10 May, 2007  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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