Saturday, July 8, 2023

MINING THE ASTEROIDS The Final Post: Maybe THESE Are The REAL Space Pirates?

Initially, I started this series because of the 2021 World Science Fiction Convention, DisCON which I WOULD have been attending in person if I felt safe enough to do so in person AND it hadn’t been changed to the week before the Christmas Holidays…HOWEVER, as time passed, I knew that this was a subject I was going to explore because it interests me...

For those of you interested, my time of posting essays on Stupefying Stories has come to its natural end. We all come here for STORIES (it says so right in the blog's name!) My essays served a purpose to bridge a time of social upheaval. That time has passed (more-or-less) and so I'll leave you with this one last essay -- because it has the potential to spark ALL KINDS OF STORY built right in it! If you're interested in reading my essays, feel free to stop by my blog, POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAYS ( I'll be continuing both the MINING ASTEROIDS and the CREATING ALIEN ALIENS essays indefinitely!

So long, I've had a really grand time! (PS -- I've got some stories coming up here in the there you go!)

WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY defines it like this: “the status quo noun: the current situation : the way things are now [as in] ‘He's content with the status quo and isn't looking for change.’” Surprisingly, in a article in the January 2023, by Juliana Segura-Salazar and Kathryn Moore, state in various parts of the article (with grave and great authority):“…mining in space won't save the Earth”

“Our research casts doubt on many of them…”

“Whether mineral deposits lying beyond Earth are commercially viable has not yet been proven.” [The remains of asteroid strikes apparently are NOT any kind of proof of not only present but commercially viable: “The largest meteorite found on Earth is the Hoba meteorite discovered in Namibia in 1920. The Hoba meteorite weighs roughly 54,000 kilograms (119,000 pounds). The Hoba meteorite is so big, and so heavy, it has never been moved from where it was found! I’d emphasize “found” and “1920”; 15 seconds later, I found this: “Meteorites Were the Origin of All Things Iron Predating the Iron Age”…]

“…research suggests that, except for platinum group elements, the concentrations of most metals in space materials may be lower than on Earth.”

“To date, there are no regulations or adequate waste management plans for mining off-Earth. Space mining has a lot to learn from the best practices and missteps of mining on Earth.” [Did the authors read this statement out loud? Mining on Earth takes place in a living, breathing environment. In space there IS no environment; they also make the statement: “we know space debris already falls to Earth quite frequently.” [HOW frequently? Thirty seconds of research gave me this: “Although most debris burns up in the atmosphere, larger debris objects can reach the ground intact. According to NASA, an average of one cataloged piece of debris has fallen back to Earth each day for the past 50 years. Despite their size, there has been no significant property damage from the debris.”]

“But the technology for accessing these minerals is still a long way off (if it happens at all). But the renewable energy transition must happen urgently—and for now, the minerals will be extracted on Earth.” While the continued extraction of ores from this planet will absolutely continue, I am unsure how two highly intelligent physicists can write a sentence like this. In 1955, the technology to put anything into space was “a long way off”; in 1962, JFK’s challenge to land a Human being on the Moon was still “a long way off” – turned out “long way off” was seven years. What’s this supposed to mean, anyway?

Are these writers TRYING to use their intelligence and authority to derail a step off of Earth? Are they attempting to use the weight of their degrees as proof of authority that mining the asteroids is not only useless, economically non-viable, not even possible because the metal others say are there ISN’T, “it’s unregulated”, and guaranteed to be dangerous (with two examples of exactly HOW dangerous it will be!) to both Humans on Earth AND the environment. [BTW – this is biology: my undergraduate field]

Are they intentionally trying to steal the future of Humanity – pirating the future of the our whole world with weakly supported claims of virtually certain failure? Worse, are they suggesting that we should not even bother trying?

If a social scientist made a definitive statement regarding physics, it seems likely that these two scientists would laugh at them – but they predict, without a shred of evidence or academic verity that: “The current space race reflects a colonial mindset in which the powerful rush to stake a claim in new territories—and whoever gets there first gets the riches. This narrative is one of ‘techno-futurism’, where progress is measured by wealth generation, which in turn relies on technology development. Should this gold-rush style bonanza prove viable, only a small proportion of people would pocket the profits. The gap between the very rich and the rest of society would only widen.” [Hmmm, now THERE'S a story idea...]

Finally, they write: “Look down, not up. Viable and responsible space mining is a very distant prospect. But climate change is an urgent problem that needs solutions right now. Despite the many downsides, mining on Earth remains essential to the transition to a low-carbon energy economy[!?!?!] Rather than space mining, positive environmental and social outcomes on Earth are better achieved by ensuring terrestrial mining is done in the most sustainable way possible.”

The fact is that after we deplete the mineral resources of Earth – or more likely make it nearly impossible to dig out what’s left…we will need to get those minerals from SOMEWHERE…even the lithium used in electric cars is extremely rare. Copper that (rarely mentioned and NEVER explicitly stated) winds the core of EVERY electrical generator on Earth, including the ones foisted on us to generate “green energy from the wind”…which, of course necessitates tearing the ground up to find more and more deposits of copper, which most likely, will result in toxic leaching…

I don’t know, this just seems to be a (perhaps) unintentional attempt to pirate EVERYONE’S future – because it is undeniable (maybe they don’t see this???) that you need COPPER (and everything that mining of copper entails, they seem to be of the mindset that if we recycle it, it covers over the sins of the devastation the mining wrought in the FIRST place.)

Despite their coherent arguments, I’m still convinced that asteroid mining is BOTH needed and possible. I just hope these space pirates don’t take out too many of the messengers of hope…

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