Earth first! We'll strip mine the other planets later
Posted by aogFriday, 11 July 2003 at 22:01 TrackBack Ping URL

Via Instantman I found this article on space exploration.

The basic thesis is that the future of space exploration belongs to private ventures. However, this would be in the spirit of the recent around the world balloon trip - technically challenging but ultimately pointless. The idea of any economic development is simply not considered. However, if there is to be significant human exploration of the solar system (and certainly any colonization) then economic opportunities will be required. One can contrast North and South America in this regard. The most successufl colonies were those where the colonists came to build and live, not loot and exploit. There’s no reason not to assume the same pattern in space.

But this is just a difference of opinion. The lunacy doesn’t show up until the final paragraph:
Still, while I am optimistic about the ability of private enterprise to colonize the moon and lead us to Mars, I am less sanguine about what space pioneers will do once they establish a presence there. Will they be as scrupulous in preserving the natural environment as, say, the governments involved in the Antarctic project have been? Or will they simply exploit the planets they conquer, much as was done to the American West? Ultimately, how we get there is less important than what we do when we arrive.
Such as what? This is just silly. At least the modern day eco-freaks have a valid basis to their view - significant destruction of parts of Earth’s biosphere is likely to have unanticiapted and not particularly salutary effects on humans. But what environment is there in space? In all serious, what’s wrong with nuclear strip mining on the Moon? Or Mercury? These are sterile dead worlds. This sounds simply anti-human, not pro-anything except inanimate matter.