Walt Whitman was right: Earth is not a closed system. The road to the riches of the solar system lies open. Nature has provided humanity with a virtually unlimited supply of raw materials, and that supply is right above our heads. The asteroids, comets, planets, and moons of the solar system contain enough of the soon-to-be-scarce raw materials required to feed our technological civilization for thousands of years.
KeywordsSolar Wind Solar System Lunar Surface Solar Sail Space Miner
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- For more about the possibility of future wars over natural resources, we recommend Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict, by Michael T. Klare (New York: Holt, 2002). A good source of data on solar system objects is Katharina Lodders and Bruce Fegley, Jr., The Planetary Scientist’s Companion (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998). One of the best sources on solar-system resources is the very readable John S. Lewis, Mining the Sky (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1996). A somewhat more venerable treatment of the same topic, authored by an ex-astronaut, is Brian O’Leary, The Fertile Stars (New York: Everitt House, 1981).Google Scholar
- Technical treatments of NEO resources and NEO mining possibilities can be found in two scientific papers by Richard Gertsch, John L. Remo, and Leslie Sour Gertsch, “Near-Earth Resources” and “Mining Near-Earth Resources,” published in the proceedings of the United Nations-sponsored conference at which they were presented: John L. Remo ed., Near Earth Objects, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1997, Vol. 822.Google Scholar