In The Wall Street Journal, there is a new techno-utopian article about mining asteroids as a solution to resource scarcity:
“Is the earth running out of minerals?
A recent and widely publicized proposal to mine asteroids for nickel, platinum and other key ingredients for metals is based in part on the notion that we face scarcity in the not-too-distant future.
How much is a matter of debate, as is the capacity of sonar, radar and drilling technology to find new resources—which may not match civilization’s ever-growing appetite for metal-based products from replacement knee joints and oil pipes to catalytic converters and iPads.
Investors led by Google Inc. Chief Executive Larry Page and film director James Cameron in April launched Planetary Resources Inc., based in Bellevue, Wash., with a message that the Earth’s resources could soon fail to meet the technological needs of a population spiraling toward 10 billion.
Caterpillar Inc., one of the world’s largest makers of mining equipment, has already joined with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to design space-mining gear.”
Wouldn’t you have to get to space first?
I suppose you could reach the asteroid belt beyond Mars if you first had a means of getting into orbit, which we don’t have anymore, or more plausibly to Newt Gingrich’s lunar colony, although we haven’t been to the moon in 40 years.