Re: Humans doomed without space colonies, says Hawking

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Wed Oct 17 2001 - 21:58:16 MDT

[Collecting replies]

Colin Hales wrote:
> Adrian Tymes []wrote
> <snip>
> > This is only one possibility. Asteroid mining might become feasable
> > around step 3...and if it does, watch for the bottoms to drop out of
> > metal commodity markets worldwide, .....
> >yet the asteroid miners *still* make a killing.
> <snip>
> If means we can at least partly stop raping the earth to get basic
> minerals.....I'm not going to cry over it. Anyone with a gram (I was going
> to say ounce but I'm fed up with imperial units) of vision will get out of
> earth based bulk mineral stocks early.

My thoughts exactly. "Hello, Greenpeace? How'd you like to help put
one of the major industrial causes of pollution out of business

> We're also going to need a new term for 'worldwide' aren't we?
> Say....systemwide, Has anyone thought of the DNS system for
> off-world web sites yet?

"Interplanetary Internet". Look it up on NASA's Web site. .mars and
.moon have been suggested, with more than three letters to emphasize
that they are neither TLD nor country code (with the most practical
everyday aspect being to expect extra latency).

Let's just say I concur re: getting huge chunks of metal down *now* as
opposed to waiting for nanotech to mature...

> *why doesn't someone find a heap of gold out on those asteroids. Good ol'
> greed'd get'em movin'*

I believe some of the M (for Metal) type asteroids have, indeed, been
estimated to have huge amounts of gold. By "huge", I mean "of similar
or greater mass than the sum total of said metal humans have dredged up
in the history of said species". I definitely remember that
description applied to the amount of stainless steel in one M type
asteroid. And these are M type asteroids that, at their closest, pass
closer to the Earth than the Moon itself. It is at least theoretically
possible to decelerate these things into medium-to-low Earth orbit,
where they could be mined for raw wealth and scientific data.

Can you say "ka-CHING!"? ^_^

There are, as always, problems. The first and perhaps biggest is
launch costs. $10K/pound to get stuff into orbit is not that far from
the cost of gold to begin with, no? Yet that's about the current
costs, and only a fraction of that mass can be used to get stuff into
Earth orbit, or even to put it into a controlled drop onto Earth's
surface. So, step 1 must be to reduce these costs drastically.
There's reasons why current launchers haven't, but other parties (like
XCOR) are developing launch tech so they can reduce the costs.

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