Phil Plait is an astronomer and major sci-fi geek. He writes the Bad Astronomy Blog for Discover Magazine and is also the host of the Discovery Channel’s science show “Phil Plait’s Bad Universe.” You can follow him on Twitter at @BadAstronomer.
One of my favorite clichés in movies—and by “favorite” I mean “makes me want to fly to the screenwriter’s house and stab them in the eye with a red editing pen”—is when a character comes up with a ridiculously top-heavy and overly complex scheme, and another character says, “That’s so crazy it just might work!”
A couple of weeks ago, a company called Planetary Resources announced it was planning on mining asteroids. My first thought was “That’s crazy.”
Then, after talking with their chief engineer, so help me my next thought was “…but it just might work.”
I sit here with a red editing pen metaphorically sticking out of my eye.
So what’s the deal? Can this really work? Can we really mine asteroids for fun and profit? Amazingly, I’m thinking the answer is yes, though we need to keep a healthy dollop of skepticism handy.
First off, let me be clear: The idea is not to launch a fleet of rockets to floating space rocks, mine their platinum and gold, bring the booty back, and become rich beyond the dreams of avarice. If that’s the first step, then you won’t get far. The initial cost of doing something like that would make a billionaire cry, and we simply
Article source: http://blastr.com/2012/05/astronomer-could-james-ca.php