X-Message-Number: 12143
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 1999 22:26:11 -0700
From: Olaf Henny <>
Subject: Asteroids And Space Technology

Thomas Donaldson:
"As I said before, if we can deal with asteroid collisions earlier than 75
years from now I would be among those who would rejoice."

Rand Simberg:
"Thomas, you seem to have missed the point of my post.  I said that we would
be moving asteroids within the next couple of decades *for their resource
value* (probably water initially for use in space, but the platinum group
metals may be a viable market for use on the planet), and this will be done
by private concerns--not governments." 

Thirty years ago, when I watched Neil Armstrong take that "small step" and
heard him promise that "giant leap" for mankind I expected, that this
"leap" would include 25 to 30 years later at least one moon base, if not
two competing ones, or some other equally significant presence in space.
Unfortunately I realize now, that we are not even halfway there yet.  That
makes me highly skeptical about speculation on any rapid progress in space
technology.  On the other hand computer technology has provided us with
technical advances, which I could not even have imagined thirty years ago.

When the Soviet competition in space faded, so did the American effort.
The problem appears to be the high market barrier in space commerce, i.e.
the enormous costs involved before a marketable commodity can be developed.  

Now we see billions earmarked for nanotech, including nanomed.  Giant leaps
are clearly possible here too, with great benefits for cryonics related
revivals and rejuvenation.  The question is: Will this research effort be
carried through, or will it also stop short before direct benefits are
derived (there are a lot of spin-off benefits from space research, but no
direct ones like asteroid mining or establishment of habitable environments
in space as a first step to terra forming technology).

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