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Mining in SpaceOn December 10 1986 the Greater New York Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics AIAA and the engineering section of the New York Academy of Sciences jointly presented a program on mining the planets Speakers were Greg Maryniak of the Space Studies Institute SSI and Dr Carl Peterson of the Mining and Excavation Research Institute of MIT Maryniak spoke first and began by commenting that the quintessential predicament of space flight is that everything launched from Earth must be accelerated to orbital velocity Related to this is that the traditional way to create things in space has been to manufacture them on Earth and then launch them into orbit aboard large rockets The difficulty with this approach is the huge cost-per-pound of boosting anything out of this planets gravity well Furthermore Maryniak noted since at least in the near to medium term the space program must depend upon the government for most of its funding for this economic drawback necessarily translates into a political problem Maryniak continued by noting that the early settlers in North America did not attempt to transport across the Atlantic everything then needed to sustain them in the New World Rather they brought their tools with them and constructed their habitats from local materials Hence he suggested that the solution to the dilemma to which he referred required not so much a shift in technology as a shift in thinking Space he argued should be considered not as a vacuum totally devoid of everything Rather it should be regarded as an ocean that is a hostile environment but one having resources Among the resources of space he suggested are readily available solar power and potential surface mines on the Moon and later
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