Who Will Protect us From Space Pirates?

StarsBy David Axe

The Daily Beast

With trillions of dollars worth of minerals lying just under the moon’s surface or spinning around the solar system inside asteroids, space mining is big business.

Well, big potential business. No one has dug nickel out of an asteroid or scooped any tantalum from the lunar dust—at least not for profit. Before space miners can get drilling, they need to invent specialized industrial robots, set up orbital outposts and—arguably most importantly—convince investors, workers, and prospective buyers that space minerals are worth the cost and effort of mining them.

And now there’s another potential problem on the horizon: space pirates. How to stop them from stealing your minerals. And whose job it is to chase them down if they do manage to swipe your billion-dollar space-stash. No, I’m serious.

The subject of orbital grand theft came up during a panel discussion on the subject of space mining at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs this week. Peter Marquez, a vice president at Planetary Resources, a Washington, D.C. asteroid-mining company, recalled an encounter with a U.S. Navy official.

Marquez said the official asked him to imagine 100 years into the future, to a time when space mining is an established and thriving industry. “Space pirates,” the official said, “how would you protect against them?”

Marquez described being flabergasted. “You’re the U.S. Navy!” he said. The implication being, the military should fight space pirates just like it has battled, you know, Earthpirates over the centuries.

It all sounds so outlandish. But it’s increasingly likely that, sometime in the next few decades, this seemingly theoretical problem is going to become very real.

Continue to full article . . .

Picture: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Wisconsin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Advertisements

One response to “Who Will Protect us From Space Pirates?

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s