The question of whether to mine or not to mine could more aptly end with a dollar sign than a question mark. I think it's safe to say that no one really cares for ethics as it relates to money and something floating apparently uselessly in space miles away. Or do they? We know America layed-off the space shuttles, and will be relying on private companies such as Space X to take our astronauts into space by awarding contracts by bid. But, with a folding economy, private enterprise can certainly do it better, even when it comes to extending our reach into space.
The Dragon is a free-flying, reusable spacecraft, with a pressurized capsule for transporting people. That compartment on the back is a "trunk" and is for hauling cargo. I rate this vehicle a "Perfect Cool!" I wanna ride.
He who builds his lofty palace* in the heavens and sets its foundation* on the earth, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land— the LORD is his name. Amos 9:6 (NIV)
* The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
* The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
*The Greek ma`alah (mah-al-aw') elevation, i.e. the act (literally, a journey to a higher place, figuratively, a thought arising), or (concretely) the condition (literally, a step or grade-mark, figuratively, a superiority of station); specifically a climactic progression (in certain Psalms):--things that come up, (high) degree, deal, go up, stair, step, story.
Other versions word this differently. I think the word palace is more poetic and figurative. The King James uses the term "stories," as in upper stories of a building. As you can see from the NIV notes above, the translators of the NIV couldn't decide on a meaning for the Hebrew word. But, the word stories does make it seem like we are talking about the layers of the upper atmosphere around our planet being the stairway to God's Palace.
Stories, or layers, or the Lord's Home, the upper reaches of space and beyond are soon to be exploited for man's natural resources.
Small, water-rich near-Earth asteroids can be captured by spacecraft, allowing their resources to be extracted, officials with the new company Planetary Resources say.
CREDIT: Planetary Resources, Inc. http://www.space.com/15395-asteroid-mining-planetary-resources.html
This of course brings up the aforementioned ethics questions. I was under the assumption that this wouldn't happen, because of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, where all space-faring nations agreed that no one would own outer space, just like Antarctica. Supposedly, this would have kept both Russia and America from claiming ownership of the moon, and prevent the unfair advantage over less developed countries. I guess it's ok to use the resources up, just so long as we don't put our name on it.
But, it sounds too much like the online Game Eve to me. I chose to be an Explorer, not a miner :) So, it's obvious I don't see the point nor really how we can cost-effectively exploit these asteroids for water. But, then again that's why both Larry Page (co-founder of Google) and James Cameron (Avatar & Titanic producer) have more money than me. Larry Page was the one who thought up the idea of indexing and ranking pages on the internet with algorithms. So, if he thinks we can make money from space rocks, my bet is on him. And, they are the ones with the money backing this mission.
I just can't erase the video game images from my mind though, and I am sure we will see the day of space pirates very soon as well. Picture some intergalactic Johnny Depp, long-leggedly sauntering through space, tethered to a space craft, ordering all on board the Dragon to walk the plank...without a tether. 8} No matter who writes the checks or tags their name on it, when God owns it all, aye matey?!