[ExI] Planetary Resources (Was: A use for canonizer/consensus)

Eric Messick eric at m056832107.syzygy.com
Mon Apr 23 17:05:31 UTC 2012

Keith writes:
>Given an understanding of the physics of lasers for beamed energy and
>hydrogen for reaction mass, there seems to be a very strong feedback
>between the existence of power satellites and low cost transportation
>to build them.
>The minimum investment to reach the self sustaining scale is not
>precisely known, but seems likely to exceed $10 B and to be less than
>$100 B.

Given the recent announcement by a bunch of billionaires that they
want to try to capture a near earth asteroid, perhaps that could be
the way to start down this feedback loop.

Their web site isn't live yet, but you can sign up for an email list


They're claiming an announcement tomorrow (Tue, April 24), so perhaps
more info will show up on their website then.

If they're willing to spend the money to capture an asteroid without
building the heavy lift infrastructure necessary for launching power
satellites, they'll at least have gotten some of the necessary mass
into place.  It seems we'd still be stuck sending expensively canned
astronauts up to do the actual construction.  Big problem is of course
the need to fabricate the parts in orbit instead of with the more
developed infrastructure on the ground.

My gut reaction is that it's the more expensive way to go, but if
no one is willing to fund laser launch, and they are willing to try
asteroid capture...

The media was questioning their economic sanity, saying that it
wouldn't even be worth it to de-orbit gold, so clearly they're
thinking along the lines of mass resources in orbit.  Perhaps they're
already considering beamed power.


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