facebook-24x24

View from the Edge

Peter Riva of Gila has offered his many years of columns for this online newspaper. His writings have been published in East Coast newspapers, and he decided to share them with the Beat and you, our readers.

Date:  April 20, 2018

New Careers In Space

A young person asked me the other day about careers in space. There’s always exploration – astronaut training as mission specialists all the way up the capability level to actual commander of a space craft. But what struck me was that the possibilities for millions of jobs are quickly forming in fields that no-one previously ever thought could possibly interest anyone except technocrats.

Currently there are five companies building and strategizing rocket systems to go and mine the asteroid belt. Anything bigger than a tennis court that they dislodge – that could fall out of orbit and impact the Earth – would take out a large city. Anything the size of a NASCAR oval could spell the end of life on Earth as we know it. And to mine the minerals and resources on these asteroids they need to move them close to Earth.

Now, why should you care? It's good free-enterprise commerce, no? Well, perhaps, but as we all know, until regulations are put into place, new experimental procedures – good commerce or not – cause disasters. The Titanic comes to mind. As does the Hindenburg. As do hundreds of people trapped in sub-standard buildings that pancaked down when an earthquake hit.