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The Environmental Case for Extraterrestrial Resources

17 Jul 2013, 20:17 UTC
The Environmental Case for Extraterrestrial Resources
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

During recent travels over the heart of our nation’s fossil fuel development and storage centers, a realization descended upon me in a new and sudden way. As I peered out of my porthole window at the landscape below, it struck me that a simple glimpse at the current state of our world is the only justification needed for developing extraterrestrial resources.
A picture, as the saying goes, is worth a thousand words:

Take a closer look. Different aspects of the image will no doubt strike individual readers first. But as for me, I saw for the first time a jarring and unsettling truth. Quite unexpectedly, I was assaulted by the reality that between agricultural development and subsurface mineral resource exploration and extraction, no native portion of the planet’s surface remained as far as I my eyes could take me.
I reached up and took a picture with my phone, seeing for the first time the image of a planet not new but used – a surface completely consumed or discarded. It was the very first time I’ve had a negative visceral reaction to the breadth of our civilization’s development of the Earth’s surface.
The thought quickly followed that, with an ...

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