This week, the space shuttle Enterprise made low altitude passes over D.C. and New York City on the way to its retirement on the deck of the USS Intrepid, and despite setbacks, America's love affair with space travel was on full display up and down the east coast. Sadly, we find ourselves without ground to orbit capability, even as the sleek spacecraft wowed onlookers below one last time. But that does not have to be permanent. In that spirit of optimism, a little more info on the asteroid miners featured here last week, came out:
Asteroid mining promises to be a multidecade effort requiring many billions of dollars of investment. But in that respect — and in the technological challenges that must be overcome — it's similar to deep-sea oil drilling, said Planetary Resources co-founder and co-Chairman Peter Diamandis.I can't imagine a better use for fossil fuel extraction technology than mining the asteroids for precious stardust forged in the heart of ancient supernova. Forget about the jobs or the science, think of the end goal: We're talking about panning for celestial gold!
"They've literally created robotic cities on the bottom of the ocean, 5, 10 thousand feet below the ocean's surface — fully robotic cities that then mine 5 to 10 thousand feet down below the ocean floor to gain access to oil," Diamandis said.
- Meanwhile, here on earth, two major pieces of the newspace technology essential for launching a fleet of asteroid recon probes, and/or using the resources of space to basically save humanity, have a big, big test flight coming up soon.
- Cue the deadly nationalists and racial supremacists still lurking in the shadows on both sides of the pond: New evidence shows the earliest farming in Europe was brought in by immigrants, with a distinct suite of genetic markers, far to the east.
- An amateur fossil hunter roaming around Kentucky found a 450 million year-old mystery, the large fossil of ... something, appears to have been preserved at the bottom of an ancient shallow ocean where the blue grass now grows.
- Humans are indeed explorers, we are restless. But we're not the only residents of earth on the move. Other species do it, by land, air, and sea, most have been here for a lot longer than we have and are better equipped by evolution for the journey. Present day descendants of feathered dinosaurs have onboard GPS right down to the built in magnetic compasses.