“If you look back historically at what has caused humanity to make its largest investments in exploration and in transportation, it has been going after resources, whether it’s the Europeans going after the spice routes or the American settlers looking toward the west for gold, oil, timber or land,” Diamandis said.”
I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FEEL about mining asteroids in space. When I first saw the article proposing this, I thought That’s absolutely absurd, and kept on surfing.
It came back to me in the dead of night, though, during one of those times I can’t sleep. There’s something inherently flawed in a system that has to go looking for resources off-planet. Have we outpaced globalization already? Already? I think it’s the mindset that bothers me most. The “payoff” (because there always must be one) will be in platinum and rare minerals. Peter Diamandis, the co-founder of the company explains, “…everything we hold of value on Earth – metals, minerals, energy, real estate, water – is in near-infinite quantities in space.”
Everything of value in near-infinite quantities. What a relief. I was starting to worry, a bit. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief as I eat my breakfast.
What I can figure is this: This company is planning to go out into space, break up a bunch of asteroids, bring the metal back here, and make a whole bunch more cell phones and iPads and cheap toys. Is China ready for this? WalMart?
Imagine what will happen next. With planned obsolescence wholeheartedly built into these wonderful items, a year or two later they will break and end up in landfills (perhaps most folks will kindly recycle them, but I’m not holding my breath), where the metals will leach more poisons into our groundwater, soil and air.
Do we really need to import toxic waste from space now?
On the other hand, part of me rejoices. YES! Take your earth-eating machines and your loaders and your smelters TOO, PLEASE, along with your staggering greed and unconcern and GET OFF MY PLANET. I can’t think of a better place for a mining operation than on a barren asteroid a few light years away. Perhaps the indigenous people at Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea would agree, since they probably won’t be able to drink the water from their rivers for another 290 years or so. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ok_Tedi_environmental_disaster)
I thought I’d better check out what’s been happening at the OK Tedi, since last I heard it was fated to close in 2013. Turns out that the indigenous people are simply tickled pink about it now, and want it to stay open for eleven more years. On Dec 4, 2012, ABC reported that seven of the nine “community umbrella groups” have signed the extension agreement (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-04/an-ok-tedi-close-to-extending-png-mine/4407924?section=business).
That’s what ABC is reporting. I’m wondering what exactly an “umbrella group” is.
The alternative media tells a different story. Australia’s Green Left site reports that the OK Tedi Mine Impacted Area Association, with over 70,000 members, demanded the immediate closure of the mining operation on November 5, 2012 ( http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/53020) .
It doesn’t look like asteroid mining in space is going to make a difference here on earth anytime soon. It certainly isn’t going to help the people affected by mining operations. Maybe they should all get free “out-of-this-world” iPads when they come out, just because we feel so bad. In fact, they can have mine.