"Because in Cyberspace, no one can hear you scream."
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Photo from Space.com
We need to broaden our approach with the new vision to include the development of the Moon and its resources. In the end commerce is not NASAs job. However, NASA and the government as a whole must take into account the development imperative and its importance to humanitys collective future.
It is imperative that the U.S. government (through NASA) realize the potential of helping the private sector invest in the space industry. Dennis Wingo does an excellent job, citing past examples from history in his defense. A sample of his post is below.
The U.S. governments role in 1862 when signing the National Railroad Act was not to operate railroads but to reduce the risk for investors to the point to where a continent spanning railroad, which was of great importance in binding a nation together and promoting commerce, could be built.
In 1956 with the Interstate and Defense Highway Act, it was not the purpose for the government to just build and operate roads, but to build a national highway infrastructure that would enable the rapid and efficient development of interstate commerce. It could be the legacy of America to the world to open up this new commercial frontier for the benefit of all mankind.
Quite a legacy that would be. Imagine living on the moon, viewing the earth from below and seeing a little girl building lunar castles on the surface. Although this picture is quite "out there," tourism would drive this industry as their are plenty of resources on the moon for mankind to colonize. We just need to find them.
Starting with water and oxygen on the Moon and the exploitation of high value metallic asteroid impactors on the Moon, we can shift the economics of the hydrogen economy, lowering the cost of fuel cells and delivering thousands of tons of high quality metals for use in building up lunar and space based commercial operations. While Platinum Group Metals (PGMs), indispensable for efficient fuel cell operation, are known to exist on the Moon in diffuse quantities from the Apollo samples, it is only through prospecting with the right sensors from orbit and follow up Landers that we will expand this resource base.
Although it is good to imagine these resources on the moon, I would rather have them use these metals for the Lunar economy in order for it to become self sufficient (as I doubt that the value of these minerals would exceed costs to travel to the moon). But only time will tell I guess. Selah!
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