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Re: RE: RE: starship-design: YES, we might do it.

In a message dated 10/14/98 4:15:47 AM, Chris.Walker@BSKYB.COM wrote:

>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:	Zenon Kulpa [SMTP:zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl]
>> Sent:	Tuesday, October 13, 1998 5:59 PM
>> To:	starship-design@lists.uoregon.edu
>> Cc:	zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl
>> Subject:	RE: RE: starship-design: YES, we might do it.
>>And there is a big bootstrap problem:
>>space mining is impractical without developed human 
>>space infrastructure, and building such infrastructure 
>>is impossible without space mining...
>>-- Zenon
>I see the point you're getting at, but surely the word "impossible" is
>overstating it? It would just be "very, very expensive" to launch that much
>raw material (for the space infrastructure) - in today's terms at least.
>Maybe in the future someone (private companies?) will be willing to meet
>those costs if they determine that the returns would outweigh the initial
>outlay. If a small mining facility can be set-up, it would provide a
>starting point for the infrastructure to then grow from space mining. Maybe
>very slowly at first, but as more raw materials were mined, further
>facilities could be built, etc (ie. exponential-type growth of
>Of course, I appreciate that it does all depend on a party being willing and
>able to:
>(a) spend large amounts of money on getting that first facility constructed
>(b) waiting long enough for positive cash returns
>which has been mentioned before on this list.
>Chris Walker

Also there are the practical problems.  The space infastructure to do the
mining would take so much lift and cost to set up, that it would greatly
outweigh any on orbit damand for resources.  For the cost of seting it up, you
could ship years, maybe decades of material up from Earth.  But by then the
mine could be obsolete.  Worse, without the mines, you'ld never need the
masive facilities in orbit.  So you might wind up seting up a mine, that does
nothing but support itself.