Cosmic Warfare

THAT ASTEROID MINING MEME: WEALTH, RANKING, AND RISK: THAT VENETIAN ...

There were a number of articles shared with me this week about space, and they prompted some high octane speculations that I simply have to share. Two of them come from Mr. S.D., a regular reader here, and one from former Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Catherine Austin Fitts. Here are the articles:

Single asteroid worth £60 trillion if it was mined – as much as world earns in a year

Space: Risk’s Final Frontier

Intriguingly, as the first article observes, there is an asteroid worth more than the entire yearly GDP of the world, and additionally, a system for their ranking and classification in terms of potential wealth, a kind of "Janes' Guide to All the World's Asteroids."  Also intriguing is the fact that the first picture of the first article linked above depicts a robotic "mining" lander with with six flags displayed, which appear to be, in addition to the obvious American national flag, the flags of Japan, Australia, Canada, Russia, and interestingly, what appears to be an upside-down Iranian flag. But the real interest here, for our high octane speculation of the day, is the enormous wealth of one asteroid, and the fact that a classification system is in place. It raises the possibility that all that "Bad Paper" we've been hearing about - the derivatives in the trillions and quadrillions of dollars - might had something fundamentally tangible behind them, though most definitely covertly behind them. The problem, as I and others have been maintaining, is that chemical rockets and robots are not, ultimately, going to be adequate to the task of any sustained and commercially viable mining operation over the long term, though they might and probably could be adequate to get the process started.

But the rewards to the process are obvious and self evident. Which brings up, as the second article notes (the one shared, incidentally, by Secretary Fitts), the problem of risk, and risk management. For some time, I've been arguing that the increasing commercialization and corporatization of outer space (not to mention it's increasingly open nature, which, I suspect, began as a very secret matter during the 1950s when a hidden system of finance was erected to fund the development of exotic technologies for space propulsion, requiring the participation of certain prime banks in the scheme, which were enticed with the offer of space itself as the collateral, so to speak) has been erected on an essentially tried and true "Venetian" model, and the second article is something in the way of a bit of corroboration of this hypothesis, for essential to that model - the same model that drove the formation of East India Companies eventually - was the management of risk and hence the development of insurance.

However, there is a problem as the second article avers:

"Such protocols are critical to developing a viable commercial spacecraft industry. Thus far, the FAA has allowed the industry considerable latitude to self-govern, and safety records have not required further intervention. “The fatality rate for climbing Mt. Everest is roughly the same as for people going into space-in fact, it may now be a little worse,” Walter-Range said. “This is an adventurous activity that people choose to undertake, so everyone involved wants to continue moving forward and providing service. The companies have all thought about it and have plans in place for what to do if anything should happen.”

"Insurance companies are still grappling with how to develop coverage for such incidents. Space insurance has long been available for satellites and commercial launches thereof, but it is unclear whether any trips that involve humans will fall within the existing market. The space insurance industry has decades of experience covering the risks of the physical vessels and the launch process. Pricing is established based on the reliability of different vehicles. And, indeed, human spaceflight would likely occur on previously-launched vehicles with a proven record. But live passengers require casualty coverage, and would necessitate collaboration across insurance disciplines. As a result, it could fall out of the sector entirely.

"Aon’s space brokerage has dipped a toe in the spaceflight waters, but Poliseno still sees uncertainty for the market overall. “We have been involved in a number of insurance transactions related to spaceflight participants who have gone up on the Russian vehicles through Space Adventures,” he said. “Most of those are all liability-related, however. It’s a new area for the industry. Groups like Virgin Galactic that are on the precipice of going public and offering their services to the masses will create new challenges.”

"The case of Virgin Galactic encapsulates this dilemma. The parent company already obtains aviation coverage to operate an airline, and currently aims for “space tourism” to take passengers into low-earth orbit, which is only about 60 miles up. Because the aviation market already has experience insuring humans, it may be a more natural fit than seeking insurance in the space market, which has experience covering the technology but has not had to address humans aboard, said Sima Adhya, the head of space for Torus. For a company like SpaceX, however, that plans to venture further from home, it gets far more complex."(Emphasis in the original)

Succinctly put: insurance in space has thus far dealt primarily with the insurance of satellites and so on, and not humans. As indicated, there is some precedent that might lead human insurance for commercial space travel to be developed by extension of aviation insurance. But what will happen in the case of humans involved, not in pleasure travel in space along the Virgin-Atlantic model, but in commercial activity such as mining, where the risks  will be correspondingly greater and the human presence more long term? Indeed, no actuarial tables for such activity yet exist, at least, not that we know of, and that brings me to my high octane speculation of the day: what if they do? Much of those tables, if they exist at all, will be based upon the type of technology employed, i.e., chemical rockets, robotic platforms, and, perhaps, human repair crews, vs other off-the-books more exotic technologies. The latter, one may assume, might be considerably less risky from an insurance point of view. And the fact that there already exists tables of classifications of asteroids for their potential mineral wealth is telling, and suggestive.

So the bottom line here is: watch space insurance, for it might afford a clue to what is being developed, or to what might already have been going on.

See you on the flip side...

9 thoughts on “ THAT ASTEROID MINING MEME: WEALTH, RANKING, AND RISK: THAT VENETIAN ...”

  1. Just how can they tell the contents of an asteroid? I think they have to have had a “close look”, maybe land on the asteroid, take a few samples and voila, a comprehensive mineral report.
    You just don’t take chances on “any” asteroid, you have to impress anybody that is going to fund the gig, in other words, maybe bring back some “startling” samples to show the financiers.

    This reminds me of Columbus going to the King and Queen of Spain and asking for finance and ships to discover the New World. They say NO, so he produces the “MAP”, and the King pulls out the cheque book.

    1. It’s curious to see that there is still so much “official academic” scepticism over the fact that America was not discovered but rather rediscovered. Admittedly the historical evidence has to be presented (this is for you Joseph) in a better form than Ruggero Marino’s book which though interesting references secondary and not primary sources.
      Today the idea of asteroid exploitation seems too far removed from the experience of the “man in the street” to have any significance, but this is likely to change, perhaps in a shorter time than we could imagine. Back in the year 1500, who could have imagined that just 200 years later whole continents would be claimed (their subdued and massacred inhabitants being replaced by “our” colonists), and that enormous industries (tobacco, sugar, potatoes, cocaine etc.) would have grown up?
      Nowadays, fantastic changes have already occurred in our own lifetime; but humanity now has the opportunity of understanding and trying to avoid the uglier aspects of the “1492” changes.

  2. Wait, if there is secret technology that has existed for decades to send people past the moon and to mine asteroids wouldn’t insurance issues have long since been worked out? Are you saying this is the public working out of things that have already been worked out in secret? And if space has already long since been collateralized, what was the payoff? How is anyone currently — secret or public — making money off space?

  3. Robert Barricklow

    No doubt robots are in for the vast majority of the “labor” costs; with some cyborgs, transhumans, and other odds & ends.
    When the East India Company got into the monopolized merchantile action, the labor costs were facilitated in many ways by soldiers sailors: “No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into jail; for being on a ship is being in jail, with the chance of being drowned.”. Couple this with: Mark Twain’s, “History never repeats itself but it damn sure rhymes.” & one has an inkling of what’s in store for those soon to-be space-cadets. For “private-capital” and “investors” are still invoked as the propelling sustainers of society’s welfare even when the system demonstrably grows with no committed life-function and devours public life-capital capacities ate every turn.

  4. I just wondering what is real technology these companies have up their collective sleeve. Space mining is a old meme in science fiction and has been kick around as idea in the media and other places since the beginning of the last century. You don’t start singing about this unless your a scam or have everything ready and are set to go. And forget about chemical rockets unless again you running a scam or joining NASA on it’s ongoing space dog and pony show. BY the way why did they leave China off illustration isn’t space faring nation too.

  5. if the PTB are already mining asteroids. It took a full cashectomy from economy 2.0 to do it. 3.0 appears to be an exclusive club, invitation only. Hence a sheep from the goats scenario. Chaos is the smoke screen they will need to cover the transition. If that is correct, more Ferguerson(sp) MO’s are on the way.

  6. The flags appear to be from left to right top to bottom, USA, EU – blue with circle of stars, Canada, Russia, Japan, and India – orange on top, white with wheel of Asoka, and green on the bottom.

  7. Space Insurance means that ‘Derivatives Bubble’ can expand out through the entire heliosphere, with counter-party collateral backing being the piece of paper that claims ownership of said asteroid, backed up by the Courts, through the BAR Association, (British Accredited Agency) the ultimate deed belong to the Queen of England.

    So we have a choice privatized space speculation or actual development in space to which the Chinese and BRICS (Survivors Club) now are following LaRouche’s original call concerning Fusion and the Survivors Club model, to now so lead the world by going to the Moon to mine H3, Helium 3 to run the new Fusion Economy…

    America has a choice, join the BRICS or become die.

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