Apparently that little fender bender in space on Octover 9th did more than just piss off Sam Rockwell’s clones, it churned up some water!
What does this mean for The Future? For one, it might mean we don’t have to bring our own water to the moon when we start building colonies there (and what that really means is that we won’t have to drink as much of our own urine to survive). And it may also open the place up for serious mining and drilling.
This is what I mean:
The moon is full of minerals and stuff we could probably use.
Mining the moon would be pretty universally frowned upon since it’s the only one we’ve got, everyone can see it from here and we don’t know what messing with the moon’s mass will do to the Earth. This would normally have made development on the moon too contentious to proceed with, however…
Now that we know there is water there we have a more easily justified reason to start digging into it. If we have to mine the moon for water, we might as well make the most of the rocks and dust that we dig up in the process. And who knows where the water is? It could be anywhere, so we’re going to have to look everywhere to find it. This could result in lots of digging around, and making good use of the byproducts (like methane and whatever).
Now, as long as the water provides a bigger return on investment than the minerals we’ll probably be okay, but once we have enough water for basic needs and a recycling system efficient enough to serve the people living and working there, then the minerals will become more valuable than the water. Also no big deal, but the systems will already be in place for mining the minerals, using and selling them and they’ll be their own industry. This will shift the primary purpose of the mining operations from looking for water, to looking for minerals, and we all know how people will do anything to dig up precious materials.
Will this eventually lead to strip mines on the moon? In 500 years will we need to build an artificial moon to replace the one we carved up for materials to explore the solar system? Is that why Sam Rockwell’s clones have jobs up there?
And on a somewhat related note:
Posted: November 13, 2009, 2:58 PM by Ron NurwisahCanwest News Service
LONGUEUIL, Que. — A Canadian botanical experiment aimed at seeing how trees grow in outer space will launch on the space shuttle Atlantis on Monday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The study, called APEX-Cambium, is headed for the International Space Station where it will help determine how gravity plays a role in the formation of different kinds of wood and gain a better understanding of fundamental biological processes in trees, according to a news release from the Canadian Space Agency.
The shuttle will deliver 24 willow saplings to the orbiting station where Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk will conduct the experiment.
Thirsk will create loops in the stems of some of the trees and let the others grow naturally.
After 30 days, the trees will be harvested and preserved for their journey back to Earth where they will be analyzed by University of New Brunswick professor Rodney Savidge, who is leading the experiment.
Read more: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/posted/archive/2009/11/13/canadian-willow-trees-heading-to-space-station.aspx#ixzz0Wm0RcmDY
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