Sunday, April 22, 2012

the kindergarten arithmetic of asteroid IRON mining ...

Michael Marshall
Its not the higher mathematics so many of our scientists have trouble with - its primary school arithmetic.

For decades many scientists have been seriously talking, out in the POPULAR SCIENCE world, about mining asteroids for IRON , and all the other scientists have let them get away with it.

Oh, they would be severely shellacked for saying the same thing inside an article they wanted a peer-reviewed journal to publish.

But as long as you just say it to 6 billion civilians , instead of to 6000 fellow scientists, well that is alright then.

"Mustn't slight a fellow colleague, no matter how asinine, in public - lowers the tone, lowers our pay packet."

Well it isn't alright.

As the NRA is wont to say, "Public Science (science inside the hothouse of the peer-reviewed Beltway) doesn't kill people, Popular Science (day-to-day science) kills people".

Our world has real problems - but mining distant asteroids for iron isn't the solution - it is a senseless,hare-brained, diversion.

Iron is so abundant on the Earth's surface - still, after 10,000 years of use - that it remains cheap. Even now, our sloppy recycling efforts does a pretty good job about recycling most big bits of iron.

God would have to wing asteroid iron on the backs of celestial angels to beat the current - and future - price of iron on Earth.

Put a penny on this side of the classroom and pour a million pennies on that side of the classroom (representing the delivered cost of a gram of iron, from future earth sources versus future asteroid iron) and ask a four year old which pile is bigger.

Then ask the PhDs of the limit-denying asteroid mining lobby the same question and watch them waffle....

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