chaz wyman wrote:
To get where and gather what?
The asteroid belts, the moon and the gas giants. The rare earth minerals would be a start. Hellium-3 would also be handy they say.
Of what and when?
Rare earth minerals. One guess appears to be about 50-60 years given our rate of technological production.
The Chinese have managed that for 30 years with no sign of stopping. The Indians will have to follow or have famine. Space Travel is never going to be an option for these masses. Humans life is just too cheap. All it takes is a fuck. To put another body on another planet takes trillions of dollars.
They have and their population growth is still on an upward curve. I'm not talking about colonization, just resource gathering.
Space Travel is never going to be anything but that - the means to escape.
But I have to say that by the time we had technology that good, an asteroid is going to be no problem.
We are basically here to stay and would do well not to waste resources on pipe dreams.
We've had the tech since the late 50's early 60's, its politics that stopped us using it and kept us with Von Brauns rockets.
I agree we're not going anywhere, as such we need resources as sooner or later they will run out, if we're going to stay with mechanical technology that is. Although I agree that biology may provide a different route.
An extinction event asteroid will put an end to all the pipe dreams and given we think them a fairly common event geologically, I think if we are thinking of the future then we ought to be thinking about how to intercept one and that needs a space-propulsion system that works.