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Industrializing the near-earth asteroids: Speculations on human activities in space in the latter half of the 21st centuryThe use of solar system resources for human industry can be viewed as a natural extension of the continual growth of our species' habitat. Motivations for human activities in space can be discussed in terms of five distinct areas: (1) information processing and collection; (2) materials processing; (3) energy production to meet terrestrial power needs; (4) the use of extraterrestrial materials; and (5) disaster avoidance. When considering 21st-Century activities in space, each of these basic motivations must be treated in light of issues likely to be relevant to the 21st-Century earth. Many of the problems facing 21st-Century earth may stem from the need to maintain the world population of 8 to 10 billion people as is projected from expected growth rates. These problems are likely to include managing the impact of industrial processes on the terrestrial biosphere while providing adequate energy production and material goods for the growing population. The most important human activities in space in the latter half of the 21st Century may be associated with harnessing the resources of the near-earth asteroids for industrial processes. These above topics are discussed with an emphasis on space industrialization.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Sercel, Joel C.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1990
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Lewis Research Center, Vision-21: Space Travel for the Next Millennium
Subject Category
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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