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Space development is URGENT. The Clock is ticking.

I have been hit by the blast wave from an exploding meteorite. The universe keeps throwing rocks at us. The dinosaurs died out because they did not have a robust space program. They were busy “being who they were…”

All other natural disasters we prepare for – hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, droughts – none of them have destroyed 99.9 percent of all life on Earth. We know that asteroids have done that to the Earth at least twice – and it is almost certain that it will happen again. Shooting stars occur nightly. Meteorites that actually hit the ground happen every couple of months. Bolides – exploding meteorites that are witnessed by and video-taped by thousands of people, happen every couple of years. NORAD tracks bolides that produce explosions on the scale of a multi-kiloton nuclear explosion, at least once a month. The Tunguska explosion in 1908 destroyed forests in Siberia over several thousand square miles. And I have personally been hit by the blast wave from an exploding meteorite that blew up near Williamsport, Pennsylvania in June of 2001. Google it.

The universe keeps throwing rocks at us, and we need to develop a robust space program in order to have any chance at being able to deal with it when it happens again. Because it will happen again.

1. There may very well be resources able to be developed in space or on the Moon. But we haven’t looked. Oh, yes, we have done research, and there are zillions of projects that have tried to make microgravity augmented materials – foam steel, plant extracts, pharmaceuticals, etc. But we have done them under the constraints of a government program that is totally susceptible to political pressures, and can
be suspended for 3 years essentially at whim. No commercial enterprise can afford to operate under those conditions. If they offer foam steel for sale, they need to have a consistent supplier, and that is just not going to happen as long as the transportation and the facility are being operated by governments that determine priorities by political necessity, and not customer service. Also, the treaties we have signed, and that the UN assumes have legal force, have bargained away the ability of a commercial organization to own property on the Moon, or an asteroid, and require them to make a copy of their facility and donate it to the UN, and donate all their research to the UN, and donate their profits from any facility on the Moon to the UN, so that the UN can distribute the profits (the “resources of space are the heritage of all mankind”) to the developing nations of the Earth. Now do you understand why no commercial organization is interested in developing mining on the Moon? Or why there hasn’t been any commercial space development in the last 40 years other than communication satellites?

One thing often overlooked about the great voyages of discovery undertaken by the Europeans, was that every expedition had to make a profit. Queen Isabella didn’t loan Columbus the money out of altruism. She looked him in the eye and said: “You bring back my ships filled with loot, or I will find you.” We have legally turned off the engine that drives development of resources in space. It can be changed. Currently 160 of the nations of the UN have signed the Moon Treaty, which embodies the communist notion that “The resources of space are the heritage of all mankind” and includes the description of the confiscatory communistic practices that prevent any organization from making a profit from developing resources on the Moon. They hope that if anybody does make a profit, they would be able to share it, and they wouldn’t have to put any effort or resources of their own into the effort. They also fear that if somebody actually does develop resources in space, that they would be left behind. So they are satisfied to keep things as they are.

The nations of the UN might change their minds if they can be shown a way to: A. get a foothold in space without having to put forward any of their own effort or resources, and B. Profit from space development right now, rather than waiting for any other agency to develop a facility.

When the US wanted to develop railroads across the continent, they gave away land – which they could do very cheaply – in exchange for development. I think we could do the same for the Moon. There is a lot of property on the Moon. You could give every country on Earth 20,000 square kilometers on the Moon as an irrevocable heritage, so no country would be left behind, and you could also give every country on Earth an additional 20,000 square kilometers as a land grant that they could sell, or barter or lease or whatever, in order to allow them to profit from their holdings right now.

And there would still be about a third of the Moon available for reserves, parks, historical preserves around Apollo or Lunakhod landing sites and so on. War would be averted, countries wouldn’t be left behind. And people that wanted to develop Moon resources would be allowed to, and allowed to profit from them.

The clock is ticking. We could be hit by a large asteroid at any moment. We are also going to run out of fossil fuels in the next century or so. People will no longer support what they regard as frivolous space exploration for no return, when they are not able to keep their homes heated in the winter, or cooled in the summer. Just because you and I like to explore, doesn’t mean other people won’t resent supporting us while we do so. My ex-wife, for instance, had no use for simply exploring, and resented the time and resources I spent when I went for a weekend camping trip to explore.

The clock is ticking. We do not have an extended period of time to do this exploring. Some people think that as fossil fuels get more scarce, that people will conserve, and stretch out the time before we run out. I don’t think so. As the final trees were being cut down on Easter Island, the competing political groups
raced each other to get to use the last tree to move and raise the last biggest statue. It wasn’t until the last one was cut down, that quarrying and carving the stone statues were abandoned, leaving many partly quarried and partly carved statues in the stage they were in when the work was abandoned. Easter Islanders did what they did, because that is the kind of people they were… Today, the big oil companies are madly chasing oil field developments around the globe, in some of the most remote areas, in order to bring in the next big oil field.

The clock is ticking, and we don’t have an infinite amount of time to explore,
before people and governments will begin demanding that space exploration bring in more resources and energy than it uses up. And we have signed treaties that make it impossible for commercial organizations to do the research that might bring in a profit. Maybe Moon dust is a pre-eminent agricultural soil additive, and also destroys insect pests. Currently, we will never do the research to know.

One of the reasons that New World foods spread so rapidly through Europe, was that the expeditions traded whatever they could, to fill the ships to take back to Europe, and when they returned, the marketing managers of the exploration companies had to sell what had been brought back. The natives smoke this stuff called tobacco, or eat these potato things, or squash, or make a mash of the fermented coco bean stuff – can people be convinced to buy it? For a hundred and fifty years or so, the economy of North America depended largely on beaver pelts. Who ever would have thought that, ahead of time?

Only through robust economic development can we hope to have enough assets in space to divert an incoming asteroid the next time one comes at us. And we currently have bargained away the engine that could possibly develop a robust space economy.

Esoteric research is all well and good, and I dearly love to find out new things about the universe and how it works. But every organism, organization, or system MUST bring in more resources and energy than it uses up in its activities, in order to thrive and grow. If it isn’t, it will starve and die. In your own life, you
recognize this. You wouldn’t be able to continue doing your work if they didn’t pay you, and if there was no hope of ever getting paid. You need to bring in more resources and energy from your work, in order to continue. If you weren’t bringing in any money from your work, you would have to go elsewhere and do something else.

We must establish a basis for commercial development of the resources of space, and be able to bring in more resources and energy from space, than we use up in our activities in space.

Or the next Tunguska-sized meteorite may very well take out New York City, or Moscow, or Shanghai.

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