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Miriam's Dreamwidth blog
2015-05-04 03:08 pm (UTC)
Pity about the ROI for diesel being such a motivator, though I can understand that. It will be interesting to see whether the tech pans out.
Most of the stuff I've read (and written) about space mining concentrates on mining at the asteroid(s) and sending the raw material to the refinery, which would be at one of the Lagrangian points (probably L1). One of the big advantages is that there's good reason to think a lot of it is pretty-much pure metal. The nickel, more than anything, would pay for it and iron would almost be free. On Earth our iron was oxidised (rusted) in our oxygen atmosphere, mostly by bacteria, over hundreds of millions of years. Out there in space it may be available as large chunks of metal from the cores of wrecked planet(s). Admittedly this is largely speculation, but there are good reasons for thinking this may be so.
Transport costs in space (once out of the gravity well) are negligible, especially if the EM drive turns out as hoped. And when the space elevator is built even gravity won't be much of a problem. There is even some possibility that the EM drive might make lifting to orbit cheap, but I need to read more there.
I know there is a big list of "ifs" in the foregoing. :)
I'd trust NASA to deliver goods across vast distances with pinpoint accuracy. They already do this routinely. My only qualms are that it will probably not be NASA so much as dozens of get-rich-quick companies.
I consider grid connection a net social good. Not everyone will have renewables, and it's good to have redundancy.
I agree 100%. I've tried to argue this with politicians, but they seem to be all about casting solar users as "cheats", and want to find a way to reduce the incentive to stay connected. When they manage to do so they'll find that more than a million homes currently grid-connected will drop off and they'll lose that enormous backup.
When digging down for high density housing you don't really need to go very far to get terrific density. Remember, underground you don't need to leave room for roads the way you have to on the surface. Roads, parks, and even rivers can have housing built under them, while leaving the surface as pristine-looking parkland. And there are very good reasons to move roads underground too. One of the things I hate most about cities is that they tend to be built on the most fertile and naturally beautiful land, which gets promptly paved over so nothing can grow there anymore, and gets turned from an area of natural beauty into a horrible scar that is actively hostile to life. (I'm biased against cities, I know. I grew up in the bush.)
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