Sunday, April 22, 2012

Think like a spacer

Thomas keeps saying this. I look forward to real spacers showing us how that works exactly. These guys might become them. There's quite a difference between a place like mars or even the moon and all those millions of much smaller rocks.

From everything Thomas says I get the impression that thinking like a spacer is limited to thinking about mining. That seems pretty closed minded to me. Modern life is based on industry. Things people make that others buy. To me, thinking like a spacer would be more about changing perspective because of the unique physical environment of low g. Things aren't all going to work the way we expect. Which means changing the way we make things and what we make.

Property rights (focusing on real estate) seem essential to me regarding a place like mars. Asteroids are more like space ships. Find one the right size and hollow it out. Everything's moving, but the surface of a planet has an entirely different feel to it compared to a Winnebago.

So back to those guys. What does Planetary Resources plan? We could start with Chris Lewicki.

His bio includes, [he] has authored papers on small satellites, satellite ground stations, asteroid lander mission architecture, asteroid sample acquisition technology...

So first you send a robot to a low delta-V asteroid that isn't too large and bring back a sample. Then you bring back the asteroid itself to earth orbit if the sample looks good. Then what?

What's the real objective? Is it possibly not directly about mining? I notice a lot of tourist inclinations in the other people involved. What if it's more about show and tell than mining? If you bring back a good sized rock and put it into orbit... would people be interested in examining that rock close up? It's one thing to spend millions to spend a few weeks of weightlessness in a tin can. It would be another to get your own piece of an asteroid to bring back to earth with you? How much are these little pieces of the moon going for these days?

Update: via RandI wasn't far off. They bring an asteroid to lunar orbit and let others mine it.

Does Asteroid Mining Violate Space Law?

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