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  •  Although.... (12+ / 0-)

    When asked about Planetary Resources' business model, Paul Krugman brought up an interesting concern about the venture.

    Wired: There’s a company called Planetary Resources that’s planning to do real-life asteroid mining. What do you think about that business model?

    Krugman: The first thing I thought when I saw that was, “Aha, and so the evil villain hijacks whatever the system is to move the asteroids into mining position and aims one at earth.” Haven’t we seen that movie many times? It’s one of those things where it’s just like, surely we’ve seen enough dystopian movies like that, that I probably wouldn’t go there just on that basis.

    •  So many rocks, so many targets.... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rimjob, Aunt Pat, Troubadour, BYw, Sarbec

      But more seriously, yeah, that's a possibility.

      So is getting run over by a truck or dying in an economic collapse from starvation and general chaos.

      It's about time someone started playing what looks like a long shot, because the Very Serious People have just about used up all the margin conventional answers could supply for the challenges we face while they consolidate their gains...

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 07:32:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why do teevee people think space is purple? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rimjob, Lawrence

      Anyway, I've had similar thoughts about the possibility of asteroid-direction materials being hijacked to lob asteroids at Earth, but the same capability that makes that possible also makes it totally not worthwhile.  So some hacker or rogue state hacks the command center and puts it on a years-long collision course with Earth - I'm pretty sure the home team could get back control of their systems in time to readjust the trajectory.  Probably within the week, if not the day.

      And if we're at a point where asteroid mining is happening economically, even if the miner robot is destroyed in the process of directing the asteroid toward Earth, so what?  They just launch two or three or five more to reattach to the object and put it back on the proper course.

      As for sovereign states using their own eventual capability to mine asteroids to lob them at each other, that's no more likely than nuclear war, as the retaliation even for an attempt could be nuclear or perhaps just all-out invasion.  As to interplanetary war, that's centuries away - and it's not like anywhere other than Earth has a "fragile" ecosystem to protect, so we'd probably have fortress-like defenses in our planetary environs.

      "I'm going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid." - Muad'Dib

      by Troubadour on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 09:03:20 PM PDT

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      •  why did Lucas think (0+ / 0-)

        we could hear things blow up in space? Horrible movie.

        and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

        by le sequoit on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 04:50:47 AM PDT

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        •  Great movie. Just shitty scifi. (0+ / 0-)

          "I'm going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid." - Muad'Dib

          by Troubadour on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 06:57:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well.. space isn't totally empty.. (0+ / 0-)

          If the explosions that are happening are putting off enough force to affect your ear drums, you will hear them.  

          All of the bits and pieces that are propelled away from the explosion will hit something eventually.  If a bunch of them hit the ship you are in hard enough to make that energy resonate throughout the hull, and the inner compressed air, that energy will find it's way into your ears and vibrate your ear drums.

          They won't sound quite the same as an explosion in atmosphere, where sound waves have a lot of matter to travel through constantly, but they would still create sound if any brains are there to do the translation from waves.

    •  Both the US and Russian militaries have looked at (0+ / 0-)

      asteroid drops as weapon systems and decided they weren't viable.

      You're twice as likely to hit water as land if you don't have that bank of supercomputers plotting your course. Then there's the possibility of crashing that rock harmlessly into some place that doesn't have people and the equal possibility that it will hit people you like.

      Developing rock-drop-as-weapon would take significant testing. We can figure out how to target rocks to take out cities, but nobody wants to do the math and spend billions of dollars in R&D when there are more efficient ways of killing billions of people.

      Then there's the fact that helium fuel is frigging hard to get into space, so barring the development of efficient ion engines, there's no way that we're going to be bringing the big rocks into orbit. What's probably going to happen is that unmanned drones will fly out, hack off a piece of a rock, and bring it back. I don't see them strapping engines to a hunk of metal the size of Texas and plopping it in orbit.

      If we do bring any big rocks back, we'll be dumping them in Lagrange points, in fact I think there's a mining candidate already hanging around at L3.

      I don't know the math, but my limited understanding suggests that it's going to be hard to push a giant chunk of rock out of a Lagrange point. You'd be fighting gravity is my understanding.

      An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

      by OllieGarkey on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 04:37:51 AM PDT

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