[ExI] De-Orbiting Gold

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Tue May 22 20:32:22 UTC 2012

On Tuesday, May 22, 2012 4:19 PM spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
>>> ... worthwhile space
>> goal: take any existing space material... and
>> process it into something else, anything useful... spike
>> ...This, of course, does not resolve the problem of existing
>> junk or the engineering problem of how to both avoid such
>> dumping or deal with it afterwards.  Dan
> If we figure out how to process it into something else, space
> junk becomes enormously valuable.  The dumping of junk in
> orbit becomes more analogous to going out to the garbage dump
> and giving away money.  Of course we now have a new problem:
> the nations that dumped the junk to start with want to claim
> it again.

I think space junk as a resource in general would be valuable only to the degree that the price to orbit remains inflated -- inflated mostly, in my view, because of massive government subsidies to and involvement in the space sector which keep prices high. If and when these drop, if they drop enough, it'll be little different than litter in a very wealthy nation: yes, someone can recycle it, but that won't be cost effective compared with just getting a new one of whatever it is.

As for claims, the problem there would be twofold. One, nation states don't really own anything justly. (You know, ill gotten gains?) Of course, that won't persuade many unenlightened people. Two, perhaps more convincing, the junk was abandoned. This is little different than if you throw a gold bar through my window, run away laughing after if smashes my flat panel TV, which I keep and only realize its market value ten years later at which time you show up at my door asking for it back. :)



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