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Does a new age of kings approach?

We are on the brink of a huge cultural shift. As governments worldwide flop around trying to Fix The Economy (tm) and make sure we all don't starve to death ...

... there are individuals spending trillions of dollars pushing the envelope of humankind's achievement. The whole of humankind. Not just padding their pockets.

Things that a few decades ago were barely within reach of the richest nation states.

company backed by James Cameron and Google executives may be an asteroid mining project

Asteroid

MIT's Technology Review has just gotten news of a mysterious new project that claims it will "create a new industry and a new definition of 'natural resources.'" Space exploration company Planetary Resources will be unveiled in a conference call on Tuesday, April 24th. Besides the audacious announcement, which promises to "overlay two critical sectors โ€” space exploration and natural resources โ€” to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP," what makes this unique is its high-profile support group. The venture is backed by Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, director James Cameron, and politician Ross Perot's son, among others.

James cameron tweets from Mariana Trench

There have been only four successful dives:

  1. by the United States Navy (in 1960)
  2. [unmanned] by Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (in 1996)
  3. [unmanned] by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (in 2009)
  4. by James Cameron (in 2012)

Jeff Bezos finds Apollo 11 rockets

Saturn V
Saturn V

I'm excited to report that, using state-of-the-art deep sea sonar, the team has found the Apollo 11 engines lying 14,000 feet below the surface, and we're making plans to attempt to raise one or more of them from the ocean floor. We don't know yet what condition these engines might be in - they hit the ocean at high velocity and have been in salt water for more than 40 years. On the other hand, they're made of tough stuff, so we'll see.

Elon Musk's Dragon gets green-light for launch to Space Station

Dragon Draco
Dragon Draco

This is going to be the first private spaceship to dock with the International Space Station. And if that's not enough, they are also the first private entity to be planning a manned Mars mission.

Even better ... the only entities to have ever put an object in orbit are (in order of first success):

  1. Soviet Union
  2. United States
  3. France
  4. Japan
  5. China
  6. United Kingdom
  7. European Space Agency
  8. India
  9. Israel
  10. Ukraine
  11. Russia
  12. Iran
  13. Elon Musk (spaceX)

Keep in mind, orbital capabilities put you 98% towards earth-to-earth ballistic missiles. All you need is a warhead.

Scary or awesome?

I honestly can't decide whether this is more scary than awesome, or the other way around. On the one hand all of this is positively exciting - every young boy has read books about space and dreamed of being an astronaut. Even the deep sea always holds a special kind of allure.

At the same time ... listening to the news makes it seem like thusands of people are losing jobs every day. Unemployment is rising. Civil unrest is on the verge of causing a pretty big bang and everyone everywhere is unhappy with their governments, the state of the economy. Everything.

And yet, we have individuals with trillions of dollars to spend on bringing mankind closer to the sci-fi dream of the 1960's. Even the desire to do so!

Food for thought.

A future mars colony
A future mars colony

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Published on April 19th, 2012 in Eric Schmidt, Google, James Cameron, Larry Page, Ross Perot, Space exploration, Uncategorized, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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