Tuesday the world received great news. Planetary Resources went public with their intentions to mine near-earth asteroids. I have been waiting for new like this for many a year. After reading Mining the Sky a few years ago, my perception of resources changed; the same way my perception of energy changed after reading Sustainable Energy: Without the hot air. I used both these book as sources when I did my presentation at the Ontario Engineering Competition in 2011. The main point to take away from all of this is that humans do not have a resource problem, the earth does. Now we have a group of people pushing science fiction into reality.
The solution is simple, look for resource sources off-world. We live on a small island in the vast ocean that is our solar system and the solutions to our problems are out in space. I’m optimistic for our future when I hear about powerful people using their intellect and financial capital to put plans in place to get humans to the stars. For those of you who haven’t heard of the X-Prize, shame on you. Their CEO, Peter H. Diamandis came up with the idea to use cash prizes to create an incentive to innovate. The model for this prize was the Orteig Prize that basically created the aviation industry as we know it by showing possibilities. That’s what this is about, possibilities. What can we do with near infinite resources? What will we accomplish if everyone has basic education? What heights can we achieve when all basic needs are met?
After watching the press release for the company, I went and bough this book by one of the founding members of Planetary Resources. It’s been on my radar for a while now, so I decided it was time to see what the fuss was about. I’m about 10 pages in and he’s already made his point very well. I’ll have to see if he talks about digital media, because the infinite nature of digital information it at great odds with our market system of scarcity… But that’s another topic all together.
In any event, interplanetary gas stations, orbital manufacturing plants and abundant resources are in the cards for the future.