[ExI] Mining the Sky SL Talk I gave today

spike spike66 at att.net
Mon Apr 26 21:23:09 UTC 2010

> > ...On Behalf Of Adrian Tymes
> > ...
> >  Aim for a splash down - maybe...  Adrian
> I need to think about this longer... spike 

OK, I thought about it longer.  Now I will now explain my thoughts in a
parable.  This one's free, you don't even need to call me Jesus.

A child sees a beautiful toy ship, in a bottle on the mantle.  Next to it is
a glass vase, which Grandfather said was hundreds of years old.  How did
that ship get inside the bottle?  Why does not the vase have flowers in it?
A vague intuition tells the child that further action is a Bad Idea, one
which will cause bitter regret, but pure logic prevails: the ship is no
value in there, for one cannot play with it, and surely the old vase must be
worn out by now.  The child takes the vase and smashes the bottle, breaking
the vase in the process.  It turns out to be not a particularly competent
bathtub toy, not even as good as the one she already has.

The platinum in orbit is the ship in the bottle.  The vase is the iron in
orbit.  My childish intuition tells me that retrieving platinum from
interplanetary space is a Bad Idea, one which will be bitterly regretted
henceforth forever.  The platinum is currently unused, perfectly wasted if
left where it is.  Leaving that stuff alone goes against my capitalist
nature, as there might be actual money to be made.  But my childish
intuition is nearly capable of overpowering pure logic, and that intuition
is telling me to leave it up there on the mantle, and go play elsewhere.  

Nanotech is coming, but a good way to get stuff out of this deep gravity
well is not.  It really isn't, there is no magic, no royal road outta here.
The iron used to retrieve the platinum may eventually be worth even more in
space than the platinum will ever be down here.  My advice for now: leave
everything already in orbit in orbit.


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