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Shall we really mine in space?



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<p class = "Canvas Atom Canvas Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "In In not too In the future, profit-oriented space mines (such as Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries) will work with NASA to send out tiny satellites to measure and evaluate weird debris, and lucrative options on […] may begin with space depletion , that means we should? Ramin Skibba, an astrophysicist and space enthusiast, explores in Nautilus. "data-reactid =" 23 "> In the not-too-distant future, for-profit space-mining companies (such as Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries) are becoming NASA work together to send out tiny satellites to measure and evaluate weird debris options. But just because we can start mining in space, does that mean we should do it? Ramin Skibba, Astrophysicist and Space Enthusiast, Explores Nautilus

The Space Act, adopted in 2015, empowered the US president to "facilitate commercial exploration and use of space resources to meet national needs." Earlier international laws warned against it: the 1967 Space Treaty and later the 1979 Moon Convention forbid nations on Earth from claiming cosmic resources. Although today's major space agencies are not among the few states that have signed the treaty, competition for natural resources could lead to conflict.

Consider, for example, an asteroid containing as many platinum-group metals as all the reserves on earth. Businesses will be competing for the precious resource, and the competition will soon be joined by armed satellites in a fight, which can lead to conflicts on Earth. Mining itself could also be dangerous: if space depletion breaks up asteroids, it could damage other satellites, spacecraft, and astronauts.

Commercial space depletion could lead to conflicts between profitability and public interest. "Once you're on board with the commercial space industry, as a researcher, you have to accept, if not support, everything that goes along with it," writes Skibba. "To be successful, these companies will seek profitable missions while science, exploration and discovery – goals that stimulate public interest – will inevitably have lower priority."

Skibba's solution is to treat space as we do Antarctica: a place where scientific research can be stimulated and territorial claims discouraged. It's a commendable idea, but is it likely? Last week, President Trump has already proposed adding a "space force" to the military. According to The Independent, "experts warned that space will become increasingly contested in the coming years as more complex weapons are built and more opportunities are explored for exploration outside the Earth."

(via Nautilus)

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