Op-Ed: A Deadly Game of Asteroids
Astromining Engineering & Space Environments
"The first trillionaire will be the person who exploits natural resources on asteroids" - Neil deGrasse Tyson
Space mining advocates enthusiastically highlight the merits of unlocking resources within our Solar System with scant reference to the inherent dangers. There seems to be an almost giddy emphasis on the untold wealth to be found, how this might support deep space exploration, end resource scarcity and even see resource conflicts on Earth consigned to history. These are thrilling and virtuous concepts, but what are the risks to our emergent space mining civilisation and how will endowment through off-earth mining be safely realised?
Space exploration is hard and mining in space portends to be remarkably hazardous. If climate change on Earth is a guide for what might happen when we start interfering with the environment, we should proceed with great caution once we start doing this beyond our planet.
We should first consider what could go wrong and might realise pernicious outcomes for the Earth and all of its inhabitants.
Read the full editorial here.
About the Author
Greg Rowlands is an Australian space industry enthusiast who has completed postgraduate qualifications in technical and project management from the University of New South Wales in Canberra.