Launching problems into orbit

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[2B] - Space MiningSpace mining leaves all the problems we had before and maybe even more unsolved

According to a recent headline, asteroid mining is almost-already set up “to dominate the industry.” This is pertinent and a good cause for news; nothing at all like a waste of time or paper. And, we all know the industry loves a little domination now and then. Throw in some exploitation, someone in charge, and you’ve got the rubric for profit. Once you’ve got profit, then you get some more – naturally, everyone wants in. Now it’s dans la futurissimo.  

Space mining will be far out, farrer out than even that, says the Canadian Space Agency. In nothing other than a much awaited exhalation of pure fact, the leader of the Canadian Space Commerce Association, Arny Sokoloff, has recently been quoted in the press, saying he thinks it is absolutely certain and there is no doubt that “space mining will go farther than earth mining,” indicating that either he is, in fact, readily capable of comprehending the actual distance there is between outer space and earth, or he’s got one hell of a speech writer. Either way, look out George Jetson; you might want to tell Mr. Spacely his Spacely Sprockets is about to face some brutally three dimensional competition.

A lot like any truly proper and good business idea, and even more like the ones that are just shit, it’s a good thing to have some loudmouth walking around with the explicit purpose of selling it off wholesale to everybody. Enter stage left, once more: Arny Sokoloff. Sokoloff, eager to tease the beaver, also tells the press that, according to just one of his fantastically imaginative sci-fi proposals, “mining off the planet will one day become one of the major factors in the development of space.”

This is surprising. Me? I wouldn’t have guessed mining would be so important. Space porno, no doubt, but space mining?

Now, I am saying I probably would have maybe expected the development of space to entail major factors such as this, if I was maybe Arny Sokoloff, or if I was as prone to good inference as you, reader.  But, wasn’t it just before Harper’s totalitarianesque muzzling binge, where scientists were saying we are increasingly fucked if we don’t hurry up and mine the shit out of them spaceclods because there’s no way in gosh-balls that earth mining will miraculously become infused with sustainable extraction processes any time soon.

Here, out from behind our little stage-curtain, comes a prolonged economic apocalypse. According to news sources, some “many metals,” particularly those that “underpin” our global production processes, are becoming rapidly less available – shocking. Do you think they’ve been consumed somehow?

But, even if we start bringing down more stuff from space, piling it up down here, even if we manage thereafter to build some more wonderfully exciting products and sell them to each other for billions, then in the end aren’t we still going to have a problem in figuring out what to do with all the waste? There’s already garbage everywhere, septic and toxic seepage already concentrating in groundsoil at unprecedented levels, unimaginable volumes of sewage and, plastic, piling everywhere, and, well, I don’t mean just in my apartment. Mining space leaves us with all the same problems we had before, if not more.

Dustin Christianson
Contributor

Photo courtesy of cartoonscrapbook.com

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