The U.S. Congress passed legislation allowing American companies to mine materials on other celestial bodies and sell them. Implications could be far-reaching especially if we run into UFOs with other ideas. Is technology moving faster than common sense in the void of space?
Leave it to the eager beavers in Washington DC to miss the mark again in the name of profits. These are the same people who have severely cut back on funding space programs for knowledge and exploration. Don’t they see the dichotomy they’re creating?
I’m not hating on big businesses trying to explore and mine other worlds and turn a profit, but I really don’t think we, as a species, are going about this in the right way.
Rushing in and tearing up planets and comets, etc., is going to ruin a lot of scientific data that we should be collecting first. Remember how the Mayan and Incan artifacts were decimated centuries before science had advanced enough to bemoan the loss?
Missing any new data in space could lead to massive problems down the road. Add to that the fact that we still don’t fully understand Earth science much less that of other celestial bodies, so how can we predict what the impact of this rush to profit is going to ultimately cost us out in space?
The bill, called the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA), includes these declarations among others:
- U.S. extends its commitment to the International Space Station through 2024
- Extends the deadline for U.S. companies to meet human-spaceflight safety standards
Companies will not have the right to own the object they’re mining, but will be able to obtain the materials from it and own them. Officials likened the situation to fishermen fishing in international waters. They don’t own those areas of the sea, but they own whatever they catch in them.
Moon Express is a company hoping to extract resources (among them, water ice) from the moon. In an article for Space.com, their co-founder and CEO Bob Richards, said, “Now, with this milestone [bill] behind us, we can continue those conversations with the support of United State law. That, again, is a very solid framework on which to talk about what we can do next to continue to grow the industry and the opportunity.” He believes the bill will be a “fantastic spur to development.”
United We Stand
In general, it seems companies haven’t been concerned about the implications for space and what we might do to it, much less who or what we might run into. Before they proceed to invest in space projects, businesses wanted a kumbaya arrangement with the rest of the world. In other words, they wanted legislation that will help them do business with their fellow humans as we all take the first steps into the vastness of space.
That’s fine if we are, in fact, the only sentient life in the neighborhood. As I’ve said before in previous articles, I think most UFO sightings ever recorded are 90% misidentified Earth science that we don’t understand yet or know about, 8% is probably our military and those of other nations experimenting with secret technology. That leaves just 2%, in my opinion, that seems to reveal the presence of some very unsavory (again, my opinion) creatures.
If we can’t prove beyond doubt that aliens are visiting our planet, how can we begin to understand them, what drives them, what their goals are, and what values they hold? We can’t because we can’t even understand where they came from, nor the forces that shaped them to be the creatures they are today.
So what happens if we barge onto something they consider their territory and start destroying it with mining operations?
Speaking of destroying a celestial body, we have an awful track recording of leaving waste and trash behind us. Right now there are more bits and pieces of what they quaintly call “space debris” in orbit around our planet than you can imagine. Are we going to take this filthy habit with us further into space? How welcome will we be then?
If we are to believe that we’re so technically advanced that we’re ready to take on space-faring missions, yet we can’t even clean-up our own space junk, we will look like colossal idiots. The space junk we already have poses great danger to the crafts currently operating around Earth. If we want to go freely through space, we have to be sure there’s no junk out there to run into.
My opinion is that the entire space program hasn’t been well thought out. The technology is still lackluster and until they create a Star Trek-class craft to move us around, I think it’s a waste of time and resources. Blowing people off the surface of our planet with explosives just to break through our atmosphere sounds cartoonish.
I’m not happy with any of this. Regardless, it will continue and then all hell will break loose as things start to go wrong, one after the other. Finger pointing will ensue, there will be hearings in Washington, a lot of blustering and posturing, and at the end of the day, if they had started with an intelligent plan, they would have been that much further along in the process. Instead, there will be gnashing of teeth, pulling of their hair, accusations flying … same ol’, same ol’.
So what would be a better alternative?
Create an international playbook.
- What to do if you encounter aliens
- What materials are ok to use in space
- Safety requirements for the crew
- Standards for operations aboard ship
- Monitoring space junk and cleaning it up; associated fines.
- And more.
Then set standards for studying new worlds and collecting data for scientists. Perhaps stipulate that a small cadre of scientists be involved, even on board, every mission.
All this can be fine-tuned as we go through the process of getting into space for mining operations.
How many times do you hear people complain about the lack of common-sense these days? It’s like a dinosaur, long extinct. In this space exploration scenario, I believe greed plays a big role in bypassing common-sense.
They referred to settling the American West – that was a trifle compared to the size of space. We know the mistakes that were made in that era, we can avoid a lot of that in the new frontier, the vastness of space. But we should get our priorities straight and present a moral, practical, and unified stance in the face of tremendous unknowns.
I’m thinking off the top of my head here, and I’m aware that each of these issues is more complex than can be handled in a blog post. But I strongly believe that they should be addressed before we venture further into space otherwise we are in for a world of trouble, and I mean that literally.
What do you think about all this?