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April 24, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Bellevue company details asteroid-mining plans

Opens opportunities

Editor, The Times:

I am thoroughly excited about the billionaires’ new venture Planetary Resources, which means to explore mining for resources on asteroids! [“Billionaires to back asteroid mining,” Business, April 24.]

It has sparked my imagination, lifting my thoughts from the difficulties we face to a wonderful, amazing idea. I discount the naysayers out there. Think big!

Go a step further. Fill the holes left by the mining with things we want to dispose of: nuclear, toxic wastes, garbage, landfill contents, etc. Then, let it go on its cosmic way out of our solar system into interstellar space taking away the poisons. Maybe, add a timer to explode it once it is light years from Earth.

Yes, this is not technically possible just yet. However, the future belongs to men with vision, courage and determination to say, “Yes, we can.”

— Marietta Alexander, Everett

Next step

All the science fiction junkies out there, like myself, are probably agreeing that space exploration needs a kick in the pants. Asteroid mining is the next step we need to take in space exploration, and I believe it is a good idea full of future benefits and opportunities.

This would be a long-term project, and many people might get hung up on that point. We can’t expect to get returns from mining asteroids right away, but the returns we do get in the future will be well worth the wait. And sure, we’d invest a great deal of money in creating drones and machines to do the mining, but again, the returns would be tenfold what it took to create the machines.

If we have a chance to add to our resources, we might as well take it. And since no one owns these asteroids, harvesting its resources wouldn’t raise any issues.

And if that doesn’t whet your appetite, this could also be the first step we take toward discovering the Dagobah system . . . You never know until you try!

— Kristin Eade, Seattle

Downsides of mining

I understand why most people are excited about the new asteroid-mining projects. However, I believe that these billionaires are not looking at the possible downsides. Time and time again, our technology has caught up to our own science fiction and fantasy. Star Trek had wireless telecommunication devices that, at the time, seemed impossible. We now have these devices.

I am convinced, as most people should be, that this new asteroid-mining project started by Planetary Resources (which is the name of a company from science fiction if I have ever heard one) will bring about extraterrestrial wrath. We do not know what lives in these asteroids. We do not know who has laid claim to them. If there are minerals worth mining, who is to say that we are the only people, nay, species, who desire the resources inside.

I believe that space should be explored and that it is time to end the draining of Earth’s resources. But I believe we should be more careful. We are not alone.

— Bob Martin, Seattle


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Caution yes, morbid fear, no. The thoughts of sending toxic waste into space is... MORE
We do know what lives in those asteroids. Nothing. The giant asteroid worm might... MORE
If we are going to put nuclear waste into the ocean, we should "glassify" it ... MORE

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