Clearly, the billionaires of this world aren’t movie people, as they’ve decided to ignore the lessons of sci-fi, and are moving heavy industry off-world. Should be fine.
In the Aliens universe, Weyland-Yutani is a multinational conglomerate that participates in dickish behaviour under the guise of “building better worlds”. So far, they’ve managed to colonise a planet they knew was inhabited by a xenomorph, later sending the Marines in to recover a specimen of the aforesaid xenomorph, and far earlier, tasking a bunch of dorks to meet the creators of our known universe. Spoiler alert, but none these pursuits achieved their aims. Furthermore, the company has a history of hiring murderous androids and that dude from Mad About You.
Simply put, they’re very much like every other Fortune 500 company, a bunch of dicks steered by profit and hubris. The reason why I brought up them up, however, is that reality has again ripped off fiction, as the concept of cashing in on space is now upon us.
“The solar system can support a billion times greater industry than we have on Earth,” Phil Metzger, a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida, told Discover. “When you go to vastly larger scales of civilisation, beyond the scale that a planet can support, then the types of things that civilisation can do are incomprehensible to us.”
The general idea is that we’re going to move heavy industry into space, where no-one can hear you scream, or quiz you about your taxable income.
Discover Magazine believes that “…collecting resources from other planets or asteroids instead of using up what little we have left on Earth could be the key to ensuring that human beings survive.”
The dystopian-sounding Planetary Resources Inc. has managed to secure tens of millions in funding to develop asteroid mining technologies. Which, sounds extremely Bay-ish, but sadly, the company’s first asteroid mission is currently frozen due to budgetary concerns.
Despite this, interest still exists, as the recently-divorced King of the Amazon, Jeff Bezos wants to separate himself from Earthbound profits, and go where no tax file number has gone before.
“The reason we’ve got to go to space, in my view, is to save the Earth,” Bezos said during the announcement of his space company’s lunar lander last month. “A very fundamental long-range problem is that we will run out of energy on Earth,” Bezos said at the event. “This is just arithmetic. It will happen.”
Leaving the planet for its own good sounds dangerously close to the Vietnam mindset of destroying the village in order to save it.
Despite this, and there’s not enough snark or logic in the world to stop it, and off-world mining will soon become a reality.
One request, though. Can we not create sentient robots to do the heavy lifting for us?
Ridley also tried that. It also didn’t work.