Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Interplanetary Resources – MAKE IT SO!

Many vital resources on Earth are limited. Any sensible person knows that.

Readers will be familiar with my endless rants about the inadvisability of further conventional economic growth because we live on a finite planet with finite material, energy and area resources. Conventional economists seem unaware of the dire consequences of this in the long term, probably the medium term and possibly in the short term. We are already at or beyond some environmental and resource limits so, barring something really unusual happening, we are likely to find out what Dicken’s Mr Micawber’s invocation meant – just substitute “the things we need to keep surviving and thriving” for the currency mentioned:

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery"

I used to be a science fiction fan (still am) so I am used to letting my imagination roam amongst the planets and stars (OK, OK – I’m a Trekker too…) and quite a few 50s and 60s stories were set at a time when mankind had got things sorted out. We hadn’t wrecked the ecosphere neither had we run out of stuff and one of the backdrop themes was that we would be mining the asteroids for resources. Sixty years later…. Step forward Planetary Resources (click linky for website).

Here’s their promotional video released yesterday. It starts off looking a bit like the Star wars intro…

Now you may say that they are dreamers…but they’re not the only ones (© John Lennon). They have serious heavy hitting finance behind them, including Larry (do no evil) Page, the CEO of Google, who’s not short of a few bob. Here’s the sort of poster any respectable geeky kid would have had on their wall in the 60s. Now people are making it real.


Taken from their website:

There are near-limitless numbers of asteroids and more being discovered every year. More than 1,500 are as easy to reach as the Moon and are in similar orbits as Earth. Asteroids are filled with precious resources, everything from water to platinum. Harnessing valuable minerals from a practically infinite source will provide stability on Earth, increase humanity’s prosperity, and help establish and maintain human presence in space”


Asteroid mining will ultimately lead to an environmentally and economically sustainable development of space resources