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March 7, 2012 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Making the Case for Human Missions to Asteroids
posted by Brandon Blatcher (26 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Argument against.
posted by gurple at 3:17 PM on March 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


Well played, gurple. Well played.
posted by Mcable at 3:22 PM on March 7, 2012


Well, if asteroids HAVE been hollowed out by Dhole like creatures that'd be good as you could kill it, set the asteroid spinning and then make a base on the inside.

Comets on the other hand contain sexy space vampires who are PURE EVIL and not to be messed with.
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on March 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another argument in favour: Bruce Willis dies. Humanity lives.

Armageddon was a documentary, right?
posted by asnider at 3:35 PM on March 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Brandon, I can't get your link to open.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 3:48 PM on March 7, 2012


Should NASA Reconsider the ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ Approach to Exploring Mars?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:58 PM on March 7, 2012


Dear NASA,

I have years of training for this mission.
posted by swift at 5:09 PM on March 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've got a better argument against (less amusing though).
posted by wilful at 6:03 PM on March 7, 2012


Just put it on another credit card.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:10 PM on March 7, 2012


Too bad that this thread is getting nothing but snarky cultural jokes.

Going to an asteroid as a first step is worthy of serious debate, as discussed in the article the FPP links to. Y'all should, you know, read it. Especially whenever a Florida election is on the horizon and politicians start pandering to the workforce there.
posted by intermod at 8:10 PM on March 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


What we need in space is machine shops. The ability to make stuff up there. Then we'll need the raw materials, so then someone can find an efficient way to identify which asteroids are worth mining.
posted by sammyo at 8:15 PM on March 7, 2012


There'll be enough money in nasa's budget after they fire the guy responsible for such sexy, everybody-will-hop-on-board-this-idea names like "Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer". I mean C'mon, are they even trying?
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:29 PM on March 7, 2012


I've got a better argument against

Man, if going into space isn't the kind of investment that is guaranteed to pay off eventually (for instance, after we run out of usable raw materials down here) I don't know what is. You want that other countries should've already claimed all the asteroids by the time we get there?

I think maybe that's the problem...we no longer have the Race part of the Space Race. If India or China announced tomorrow that they were going to be headed to the asteroid belt by 2025 and were going to claim every single asteroid they managed to land someone on as their own sovereign territory I somehow suspect that the race would immediately be right the fuck back on, and even the craziest drown-the-gubmint-in-a-bathtub politicians would be all about the pumping money into NASA.

But you know, at the moment there's not that kind of pressure. So we'll just, you know. Sit around and squander the gigantic space-exploration lead that we had.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:50 PM on March 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Going to an asteroid is the first step towards mining it.
posted by euphorb at 8:56 PM on March 7, 2012


Man, if going into space isn't the kind of investment that is guaranteed to pay off eventually (for instance, after we run out of usable raw materials down here) I don't know what is. You want that other countries should've already claimed all the asteroids by the time we get there?

Are you serious?
posted by wilful at 8:57 PM on March 7, 2012


wilful: Your "USdebt.png" argument is actually an argument for doing nothing, ever. It seems like a very kneejerk thing to say, especially since NASA has never really been a large part of the U.S. budget.

Eventually we're going to have to go to the stars or die out as a race. Gingrich's using a near-term moon colony as a political football was pandering to Florida voters and misguided, but in the long run we should still be making efforts towards a return to space.
posted by JHarris at 9:24 PM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


>an argument for doing nothing, ever

Nonsense. it's an argument for doing what is affordable and realistic. And fixing what's broken.

> Eventually we're going to have to go to the stars or die out as a race.

For exceedingly large definitions of eventually (and it's species, not race).

Go right ahead, piss your children's hopes and aspirations for an education system, a healthcare system, up against the wall while dreaming about the stars.

The USA most certainly cannot afford to aspire to an ambitious new space program, not without significant political and economic reform that does not appear to be anywhere on the horizon.

But go right ahead and keep the dream alive you guys. We'll sit back and laugh.
posted by wilful at 10:25 PM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are you serious?

I'm not sure which part is supposed to be unbelievable? Folks have been talking about the benefits and possibilities of mining asteroids since at least 1983; and that was long before there was as much strain on the supply of rare earth elements as there is now.

And if it's really just the expense you're worried about, well, I gotta tell you, the US Government has been willing to spend a lot of money on investigating some other possible sources of rare earth elements. What do you imagine NASA could've done with even half the money we've spent in Afghanistan? My guess is: probably a bunch of stuff that sounds like unrealistic science fiction to you.

But go ahead, keep expecting that we can wean ourselves off oil and get ourselves out of debt by buying all the raw materials we need from China. (And/or colonizing Afghanistan. I imagine we're supposed to do this while simultaneously austerity-ing our way out of debt?) Or simply continue to expect that the amounts of rare earth elements we can access here on earth, relative to how much we consume (and will consume, when we start to run out of oil), will last us for "an exceedingly large definition of eventually".

I'm not sure you will get to sit back and laugh for nearly as long as you'd like.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:41 PM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The question's not "should we?", it's "is it possible to?". Downscale, downscale, downscale...
posted by Bangaioh at 12:54 AM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


i am a proponent of downscaling; i do not leave my room
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:10 AM on March 8, 2012


No one ever got rich by saving money. No business ever grew that way, either. But shazam, all this "austerity" talk sure is popular amongst some crowds! In boardrooms, too. I'm quite sick of it. So many execs being judged by how much savings they attain, it makes me sick. All that savings made while neglecting new ventures, new markets. Space is a venture. Market, not so much, but we'll get there.

Sometimes, I don't give a DAMN where the hell we go. Just get our asses out the door and GO, for the sake of going, the going is surely more fruitful than staying still. We must go, because it is our better nature to go further, and we always do.

War! Oh.My.God, but we are love it and are good at it! So good, in fact, it's gotten just too damn dangerous. But you know, damn, it's fun! We need us some war or somethin' for fun!

Hello, Frontier? Please deliver us unto adventure. kthnksbye.
posted by Goofyy at 3:18 AM on March 8, 2012


A Trip Across the Solar System, courtesy of The Aatlantic's In Foucs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:50 AM on March 8, 2012


If they would just declare a "War Against Space", we would be there by Christmas.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:10 AM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Considering the fact that Sun keeps emitting solar stores that threaten our way of life, that's not a bad idea.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:22 AM on March 8, 2012


and in those solar stores and lots of solar flares, often at %20 off.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:07 PM on March 8, 2012


Seriously, space is the final frontier, for real, not just on Star Trek. And a good frontier is vastly superior to a war at providing opportunity for adventure, glory, and profit. Opening that frontier is the most important thing our species can accomplish. It's those god-damned corporations, with their fixation on quarterly profits, that keep us mired in toxic bullshit and war-for-profit, when we should be pushing outward.
posted by Goofyy at 11:56 PM on March 8, 2012


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