So today we have this:
The global investment bank Goldman Sachs has claimed mining asteroids for precious metals is a “realistic” goal.
It has released a report exploring the possibility of using an “asteroid-grabbing spacecraft” to extract platinum from space rocks.
“While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower,” the report said, according to Business Insider.
My first impression is that removing a bloated Federal agency (NA$A) and replacing it with a gigantic bank is hardly the way our venture into space should go. On the other hand, given the start-up costs, there might not be any realistic way for private prospecting to get going other than to buy and use old and surplused equipment as it becomes available.
Possible lolcat reference, talking about the metal asteroid Psyche 16:
It is valued at $10,000 quadrillion, according to Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the lead scientist on the NASA mission.
$10,000 quadrillion? That sounds a lot like “$elebenty” doesn’t it?
It is believed an asteroid the size of a football field could be worth up to $50 billion.
However, bringing that much platinum back to Earth is likely to crash the precious metal market – and probably the rest of the economy with it.
That’s another reason to be deeply suspicious of this Giant Bank In Space thing. Not the “crashing the economy” part, but the focus on bringing back to Earth resources that will be needed to colonize the Solar System. The writer is undoubtedly a J-school graduate with as much knowledge of economics as you or I do, which is to say almost nothing, so I’d take this assertion with a grain of salt. But still, this is not the direction we need to be going in. It might be that Earthside economic exploitation is the only way to do this, but none of us has to like it. Then again, a revolt against a commercial entity won’t be as dangerous as trying to throw off the yoke of a nation-state.