Space Available

Unfortunately, the Peregrine lunar lander recently launched has malfunctioned and will not be making the trip. HOWEVER! Peregrin is privately owned, and other privately owned landers are on deck. Which raises the question: should space be FOR SALE?

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Daniel Cutshall
January 18, 2024 1:41 PM

The inherent problems with the Space Treaty can be well seen with the similar treaties that exist governing the continent of Antartica. They are slowly eroding and morphing into specially “controlled” territories that become more and more exclusive for those who can maintain a presence, rather than inclusive of all, most of whom cannot. At this point space is very much the same way for the same reasons, so that if we are going to go there for the benefit of all mankind, it needs to be welcoming to those who can get there while not being restrictive trying to… Read more »

Tim Scott
January 17, 2024 9:11 AM

I am curious–how far away is that asteroid (Psyche 19?) that Steve and Bill talked about? It’s the asteroid that has, to use a technical term, a boatload of iron ore (maybe). This discussion also reminds me of a TV show that I remember watching but not its name or what network carried it. It was a comedy about a group that realized the junk left on the moon can be claimed by anyone that goes there and collects it. Realizing how much profit they could get, they build a ship to go there. Unfortunately, they launch before the ship… Read more »

Ron Swansons Alter Ego
Reply to  Tim Scott
January 17, 2024 10:27 AM

The “Asteroid Belt” is between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter. Concentrated somewhat closer to Mars.

Phil LeMay
Reply to  Tim Scott
January 17, 2024 12:25 PM

I believe you’re conflating two series. The one where they build a ship and salvage the Apollo equipment was called, appropriately enough, Salvage, then Salvage One. It starred Andy Griffith (yes, sheriff Andy) and Bruce Boxleitner! It ran a couple or three seasons.

As for the other, I’m not sure what show that might be. The set up sounds like something from the Richard Benjamin comedy ‘Quark’, which was a send-up of Star Trek.

Ron Swansons Alter Ego
January 17, 2024 7:55 AM

One of my favorite Heinlein stories is called Misfit, from 1939. Synopsis from Wikipedia as I am too lazy to create my own today. I would call this task non-trivial but entirely possible. The idea of moving a relatively large mass from one Solar orbit to another or even into Terran orbit by the application of force along the correct vector is definitely a solvable physics problem. You wouldn’t start with something the size of Psyche, something much smaller but with high mineral content would work just as well. Plot summary[edit]A coming-of-age story that follows Andrew Jackson Libby, a boy from Earth with… Read more »

Phil LeMay
January 17, 2024 7:11 AM

They say, “Space belongs to everybody, you can’t claim anything in space as private property.”
Then they say, “Mining asteroids! It’s the future! It’s the gold rush of the future!”

You can’t have it both ways. How are you going to incentivize anyone without allowing the people to take the risks to own the results? We need to revoke the Outerspace Treaty.
Aaaaand, I just got to the part where Steve said that exact thing…

Karen Samuel
January 17, 2024 6:51 AM

Private property in space won’t exist until our technology advances to a point where someone can claim a piece of the moon, or any other big space rock, and then stay on the property to defend it. Otherwise, multiple people from countries all over the world can claim the same big rock. Once we can defend space property, then we can make laws governing space property rights.

Reply to  Karen Samuel
January 17, 2024 7:16 AM

Yes. Also, it’s not likely that any large coalition of nations will agree with this concept, since many, if not most, nations believe that private property is inherently evil. This is yet another example of the fact that: while sound politics can derive from sound, or unsound, theology (because God’s principles work because they’re His principles, not because of who’s using them), but unsound politics always, always, ALWAYS derives from unsound theology.

Karen Samuel
January 17, 2024 7:50 AM

I agree. There is no world consensus that private property is a right. This was true in 1967 also, so it makes me think many of those countries who signed the Outer Space Treaty didn’t intend to abide by it once they had sufficient technology to try and claim it for themselves.

Keith Jackson
January 17, 2024 5:52 AM

Agree that if we leave the carving up of space to nations and their taxing and spending it will be primarily a military move. That said, I’d be all for trading a few hectares of the lunar surface to China to zero out our national debt.

January 17, 2024 5:23 AM

The fruits of human beings who invest the limited time and resources available to them in their lifespan should always go to those making the dedicated effort. Within reason … I say “within reason” because like the Homestead Act where you cannot “stake a claim” on more than 40 acres — there needs to be a space equivalent to a similar limitation. 40 acres was realistic, it was back then about the amount of land a single family could work and survive on. You couldn’t homestead a half a million acres at a swoop. We made it to the moon… Read more »

Phil LeMay
Reply to  ACTS (TM)
January 17, 2024 12:30 PM

I propose a new, updated version of the Homestead Act. Call it the Spacestead Act!

To anyone who can hold it, a grant of 40 parsecs! And a mule!

Reply to  Phil LeMay
January 17, 2024 1:43 PM

Lol, so much for sober wisdom and well, yeah, but … A parsec is a linear measure and space is volumetric. A parsec is over 3 light years so 40 parsecs is more akin to trying to homestead a million acres than 40 acres. Unless you want to stake your claim to a line 120 light years long and only the width of a single photon. Which would be sort of useless for just about anything. I think it’s more likely that we’ll be dealing in “cubics”. As in you can lay a claim to a given cubic volume be… Read more »