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25 April 2012


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r whitman

Its about time we discussed something serious. Enough about the fantasies of the Middle East and the DIA.

The Moar You Know

I'm thrilled about the idea. I hope they can pull it off.

Also looking forward to the postponed Space X mission. That's going to be a really big deal if they can pull it off.

I'm not going to get the daily Moon shuttles or flying cars that I was promised as a youth, but after decades of inaction, at least spaceflight is starting to move in the right direction again.


They mined water to grow wheat, which they shipped to Earth using an electromagnetic mass driver (basically, a railgun). The reason posited was that the Earth no longer could grow enough food, having 11 billion people on it.


This fantasy has a better chance of successful and profitable results than the FP discourse perused, by the necons and their liberal brothers in arm, in recent decades.


Great book. The various movie knockoffs don't do it justice.

Off Topic: Wanted to bring the recent comments of Israeli Lt. General Gantz on Iran's nuclear program. Looks like at least one person in Israel agrees with the US IC.


Haven't read the Heinlein book; will now. Sounds like similar plot elements with Moon, brilliant little sci-fi film with Sam Rockwell. Intelligent foray into good old-fashioned sci-fi that doesn't rely on drooling aliens or dreadlocked predators.

The beaver


You made my day with your comment on this subject. Thank you.


What I learned from reading "the Moon is a Harsh Mistress" at age thirteen:
1) How to establish and run an insurgent/revolutionary cell
2) Polygamy is cool
What I observed after re-reading at age 33:
1) It's easy to win a revolution when you have complete information dominance and the occupiers live at the bottom of a gravity well.
2) Polygamy might be cool, but I have enough trouble managing my life with only one wife.


Indeed it was Robert Heinlein who wrote that classic, as well as "Starship Troopers." He was a Naval Academy graduate who served for 5-6 years, before having to leave the service for medical reasons.

Byron Raum

The stuff about mining and selling precious materials is just an excuse. They are doing it because they want to.


So much for Afghanistan Mining LLC. Certainly sounds like a fine explanation of why tax rates on the top need to go up. $50 billion invested and only 25 employees with no income in sight. I wonder how much tax avoidance this scheme generates.

Allen Thomson

Well, if I can add a general opinion, just about everything Heinlein wrote pre-Stranger in a Strange Land is worth a quick read, especially the "juveniles" of the late '40s through the '50s. Post SiaSL is a slightly different matter, though I tend to think those stories get knocked more than they deserve (mostly).


I don't think you know what you're talking about. Planetary Resources didn't say anything about how much investment they've had (and I can guarantee you it is far less than $50M let along $50B so far), and they do in fact have several customers. Hint: just like McDonalds doesn't make most of their money from selling food, Planetary Resources is going to be making most of it's nearterm money doing things other than harvesting asteroids. I know several of the people involved, and have a good idea of what their real near-term business plan may be.


Allen Thomson

Well, if I can add a general opinion, just about everything Heinlein wrote pre-Stranger in a Strange Land is worth a quick read, especially the "juveniles" of the late '40s through the '50s. Post SiaSL is a slightly different matter, though I tend to think those stories get knocked more than they deserve (mostly).

As to the immediate case, I need to get a lot more convincing before I think there's a commercial case to be made for mining platinum, water, gold or whatever in space. Love to see it made, but I don't see it at the moment. National glory, soft power, secular spiritual enhancement and the like seem more real motives at the moment.

The Twisted Genius

Byron, you might be right. In fact, I hope you are right. I'd like to think this idea is born more of dreams than avarice. It might be just 25 employees now, but it could lead to a lot more. Remember how the race to the moon sparked interest in science and engineering education?


I will be pleasantly surprised when they do all you say.
To quote the article "...Its deep-pocketed investors — who also include Google co-founder Larry Page and Ross Perot Jr. — have kicked in about $50 billion..."

Send your correction to Time, perhaps they just don't know the difference between the "m" and "b" keys on the keyboard.



They shoulda built a space elevator first. pl


Bruce Willis where are you when we need you?


And the central character was Mike - Mycroft Holmes. I lloved that book, still have a copy somewhere. I would have been about Sixteen when I read it.

Unfortunately today Mike works for the dark side.


So true. Or at least those solar energy satelites that will beam power down to Earth.


I feel pretty safe in betting that the Time reporting was inacurate or misleading. Media reporting on space topics tend to garble things pretty badly. My guess is that Lary Page and Ross Perot Jr. have "committed" to a $50B chunk. There's just no way they've written a check that big and it's sitting in Planetary Research's bank account. That's just not how any of this stuff works.

I'm pretty sure that their business plan closes entirely off of the "personal space telescope" and earth observation markets. They'd be competing with companies like Skybox Imaging (which closed a $70M investment round three weeks ago). Remember PR got smaller investors before they had the big name people. And those smaller investors wouldn't have likely put much money into a "we're going to raise $50B and go mine an asteroid venture", but I could see them putting money into someone going after the earth observation market.

The asteroid mining stuff is "blue skies". Peter likes talking big, and blowing everything out of proportion (he's definitely a D.D. Harriman if I've ever met one), but at the end of the day it's people like Chris Lewicki who are actually running the business, and Chris is a sharp guy who I trust a lot. They've got a down-to-earth plan that will make their investors a good ROI, and which they hope will give them a chance to try asteroid mining down the road.


SAC Brat

Incoming rock:



This got me researching again about ancient history, dwarf mining and the kabeiroi, ancient mystery cults, and mining mythology.
Thanks for the inspiration!

What is the connection between Disney and high tech?
Maybe the Seven Dwarves will be mining robot prototypes...


I thought Mike was supposed to be Saint Michael the Archangel?

Wrote a young adult military sci fi novel. Seems like all the agents are looking for derivatives of the Hunger Games.


Colonel, may I highly recommend Kim Stanley Robinson 's short story Comng Back to Dxieland from his Vinland collection as a remarkable view of such mining.


It is one of the finest short pieces I've ever read.

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