UCF research laying groundwork for off-world colonies

Public Release: 4-Mar-2019

UCF research laying groundwork for off-world colonies

Space economy estimated at $1.1 trillion by 2040

University of Central Florida

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IMAGE: Samples of asteroid regolith simulant that were used in developing standards. Credit: UCF: Karen Norum

Before civilization can move off world it must make sure its structures work on the extraterrestrial foundations upon which they will be built.

University of Central Florida researchers are already laying the groundwork for the off-world jump by creating standards for extraterrestrial surfaces. Their work was detailed recently in a study published in the journal Icarus.

“I’m firmly convinced that by the end of the century there will be more economic activity off planet Earth than on planet Earth,” says Phil Metzger, a planetary scientist at UCF and lead author of the study.

According to the wealth management company, Morgan Stanley estimates the space economy will be worth more than $1.1 trillion by 2040.

“With economics moving in that direction, it’s important for us to get a head start trying to create the regulatory and engineering environments to make sure everything is done safely and justly,” Metzger says.

In the study, Metzger and the team of researchers outlined standards for simulated extraterrestrial surface material and then applied the standards to a simulated extraterrestrial surface material created in the Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science’s Exolith Lab housed at UCF.

While extraterrestrial surface material can range from lunar soil to Martian dirt, Metzger and the researchers created standards specifically for asteroid surfaces in this study.

The team measured mineralogical composition; elemental composition; densities of rocks and crushed rocks known as regolith; mechanical strength; magnetic susceptibility; volatile release pattern; and particle size destruction.

This standardization is highly needed, Metzger said, as previous attempts at creating simulated extraterrestrial surface material have used everything from floral foam to beach sand.

If tests are performed on simulant that isn’t similar to the real thing or is not suited for that test, then it makes the test results invalid, Metzger said.

“We have to communicate what the properties are so everyone knows its limitations so they won’t use it for a test it wasn’t designed to simulate,” Metzger said.

Standardization will also allow researchers to more accurately compare test results across studies as standardized simulants will have properties that will not vary test to test.

The researchers also applied their standards to a simulant created in UCF’s Exolith Lab called UCF/DSI-CI-2. They compared the results to measures of Orgueil, a meteorite that fell in France in 1864.

Meteorites are meteors that survive entry through Earth’s atmosphere and land on the surface. Meteorites are often correlated to certain asteroid types and may be used as reference material for creating asteroid simulant in lieu of having access to an actual asteroid for comparison.

The simulant UCF/DSI-CI-2 received a magnetic susceptibility score, or figure of merit, of .96, which means it is a 96 percent match with Orgueil. Similarly, it received an elemental score of .94 and a mineralogical score of .83. The other five properties the researchers measured also had high scores.

“We’re delighted we could get such a high-fidelity simulant,” Metzger said. “The fact that we were able to replicate those eight properties with such high fidelity tells us that these simulants will be very valuable for companies doing asteroid mining, doing tests of constructions of facilities and landing pads, metal extraction and more.”

UCF researchers were able to create the simulant using particle-size data from the meteorite while also creating the grading standard, said Dan Britt, a Pegasus professor of astronomy and planetary sciences in UCF’s Department of Physics. Britt is head of the Exolith lab and a co-author of the study.

“I think we did a good job of producing a simulant that mimics the parent asteroidal material pretty well,” Britt said. “The limitations are really expense and safety, as some components can be toxic, so we use a lower-fidelity alternative. This gives the meteorite and space resources communities material that they can experiment on with some assurance that it is close to the real thing. That way they are not constrained by the scarcity of meteorite material or its high price.”

Metzger said the research team will continue to grade simulants created in the Exolith Lab as well as offer their grading system to simulants created in other labs. They will also be receiving feedback from the community about improvements in the grading system and will work with the American Society of Civil Engineers for consensus on having the grading standards adopted.

###

Co-authors of the study included Stephen Covey, retired director of research and development with Deep Space Industries (now Bradford Space); Cody Schultz, a UCF mechanical engineering graduate; Kevin M. Cannon, a postdoctoral scholar working with the Exolith Lab; Kevin D. Grossman, a materials science and engineering scientist with NASA; James G. Mantovani, a planetary scientist with NASA; and Robert P. Mueller, a senior technologist with NASA.

Founded in 1963 with a commitment to expanding opportunity and demanding excellence, the University of Central Florida develops the talent needed to advance the prosperity and welfare of our society. With more than 68,000 students, UCF is one of the nation’s largest universities, offering more than 220 degree programs at its main campus in Orlando and more than a dozen other locations in Central Florida and online. For more information, visit ucf.edu.

From EurekAlert!

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71 thoughts on “UCF research laying groundwork for off-world colonies

  1. They need to get the “ground truth” to compare to test results. Pun intended…

    “Ground truth” is going to an asteroid or planet, and getting in situ measurements.

    • It will be truly interesting to actually determine the similarities or differences of space rocks. Half of me suspects that minerals are minerals and there is no reason to suspect that space has any different ones than exist here. The other half of my thinking reasons that there is no reason why the space minerals should have formed similarly to those on Earth as the environments are completely different.

      All these researchers are doing is creating mixtures of Earthly minerals and calling it simulant. It’s merely another model that cannot be verified until it gets compared to reality.
      When they actually do collect some asteroid material and its not what they expected will they declare that it doesn’t conform to the international regolith standard?

  2. “I’m firmly convinced that by the end of the century there will be more economic activity off planet Earth than on planet Earth,”…

    That is quite a concept, but one that is probably required to expand economic growth for the next 1000 years. There will be no more ‘but we will need 5 more planet Earth’s of resources’ since technology will provide solutions for practically everything. It probably could right now, if it weren’t for politics and our misfortune to always be fighting with each other about something. That will truly be our mission as we reach for the stars, will be how can we all get along without destroying each other.

    • Well Phil Metzger probably believes the climate alarmist fairy tales too. Good, let him go. The ecoloonies want to reduce global population, so he can go first.

    • It seems we have no shortage of dubious future technology forecasts, along with dubious earth doom scenario forecasts! Predicting how much economic activity there will be off earth by 2100 is sort of like trying to predict how many truly self driving cars there will be by then. One is always assuming fundamental practical advances that might or might not ever go the way that enthusiasts predict.

      Without trying to prematurely push the space colonization thing, our own Moon has some real advantages for some sort of applied science program, with just a few humans going back and forth for the foreseeable future.

      As “a modest proposal”, start, say, by building a radio telescope array on the far side, and maybe also work on technology for providing an in space source of rocket fuels from lunar materials? If possible, an in-space fuel source could be helpful for expanding the use of communications satellites, and/or getting around in space a bit more cheaply. There is some prospect we could use lunar solar, lunar water and/or nitrogen compounds, etc., to do something along *that* line, why not, say, hypergolic propellants from lunar resources?

      Anyway, the nice thing about the moon is that if your rocket transportation is working, you can at least expect to be able to get back to the earth in a reasonably short time if necessary — just 4 days travel time, to get back to where there are such handy resources as a real atmosphere, etc. Not so much of a “back door” available if you are stuck on Mars! I mean, if your life support systems started to pack it in when you are weeks or months away from earth, you could just about begin your approved “kiz yur az goodbye”, your Last Rites, or whatever, immediately, it seems to me.

      • Establishing bases on the Moon fits right in with this study of surface materials.

        The electrically-charged dust on the Moon will be a real problem for people trying to live there. One way to reduce this problem would be to fuse, or otherwise solidify the surface on which you build your base, so this type of study could give an answer to this question.

    • I’d love the prospect of space mining. Too bad it’s not nearly as easy as anyone would like.

      First, space is very, very big. There are technologies possible to overcome this, but as an iron rule, any interesting space drive is a weapon of mass destruction (aka Jon’s Law).

      Second, radiation is a real problem. Very few astronauts have left Low Earth Orbit, and only for very short missions. GRC’s and solar storm radiation are exceedingly difficult problems to overcome. Well, unless you pile on hundreds of tons of paraffin/ice over hundreds of tons of lead sheathing.

      • Patrick wrote: “First, space is very, very big. There are technologies possible to overcome this”

        One way would be to use a space-based laser powered by a Solar Power Satellite (SPS) to propel your vehicles around the solar system.

        https://www.space.com/32026-photon-propulsion-mars-three-days.html

        “The team aims to eventually place a laser in Earth orbit, which would use photon pressure to power a sail-equipped spacecraft as it travels away from Earth. Photons have quite a bit of stored energy, which would transfer into a push once they hit the sail.

        This method could propel a 220-lb. (100 kilograms) robotic craft to Mars in just three days, Lubin said. A crewed vehicle would take a bit longer to get to the Red Planet — maybe a month or so, he said.

        Ultimately, Lubin would like to use the technology to send small probes into interstellar space.”

        end excerpt

        We could also use an SPS-powered laser like this to send probes to every interesting object in the solar system and do it within a short period of time.

        Patrick wrote: “Second, radiation is a real problem”

        We need a thickness of about one meter of water ice covering our habitation module in order to protect us from lethal space radiation. That’s very doable.

        • Any “crewed vehicle” that could travel from Earth-orbit to Mars, or even from lunar-orbit to Mars in “a month or so” under solar sail light pressure force would not be carrying enough propellant to brake it into Martian-Orbit, to say nothing of the additional propellant required to perform Martian atmospheric entry and a soft landing.

          But dream on . . .

          • I was wondering that.

            You send an unmanned in 3 days and a manned in 30. So the clear implication is that the unmanned is intended to accelerate a lot harder.

            Now in the traditional hard sci fi stories the theory is to spend half the voyage accelerating under engine power before spending the second half slowing down again. However if we are pushing our Mars Probe via a laser beam (which of course cannot ‘pull’) then you are only going to be able to slow via on board propulsion of some sort or using the Mars gravity well.

            So what is the plan? Get into orbit with Mars and slowly bled off speed in the upper atmosphere?

            Open question btw. I assume whoever has the laser plan has considered this part and I am actually curious.

          • @Craig from Oz – Brachistochrone trajectory at 1.0 gravity will get you to Mars in ~4 days. 2 days accelerating, 2 days decelerating.

            As for how to get the lasers to push/pull, depending on the specifics of the given propulsion system, one can play games with oblique angles, relative planetary position, eccentric capture orbits, aerobraking, etc.

          • Patrick Janecke, acceleration at 1.0 g from laser light sail propulsion?

            And you stated “As for how to get the lasers to push/pull, depending on the specifics of the given propulsion system, one can play games with oblique angles, relative planetary position, eccentric capture orbits, aerobraking, etc.”

            Well, since we are indeed playing games (your words) with the above, why not consider 10 g’s continuous acceleration . . . in which case, without worrying about deceleration into orbit, one could reach Mars from Earth in about 9.5 HOURS at time of closest interplanetary distance. Just think of the tremendous savings in life support system mass that would achieve.

        • Oh, I’m well aware of laser propulsion. It’s one of my favorite methods. I’m also aware of its possible military applications as well. Again, Jon’s Law strikes again.

          As for radiation, yes, a meter of ice per cm^2 plus cargo plus structure (and a storm cellar too) can work even for a long mission, depending on the energy of the GCRs and intensity of possible solar storms. I am thinking rather on commercial terms, which would be significantly more stringent than NASA standards for exposure. (NASA standards are more stringent than ESA, but I digress.)

      • a weapon of mass destruction
        ================================
        The best description of this concept I’ve run across is Heinlein’s “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress”. If you can find a copy, be prepared to add it to the ‘keeper’ shelf…..
        (The penal colony on the moon ‘throws rocks’ into the Earth’s “deep gravity well”.)

      • Initially on Mars, the idea will be to build habitats and manufacturing facilities within the fairly common lava tubes that have been found on the planet. That provides the necessary shielding from solar radiation flares, which aren’t all that common anyway.

        Because of the distances involved, solar flares can be detected long before the damaging proton fields arrive, giving astronauts time to seek shelter. And protons being electrically charged can be deflected by strong magnetic fields, as the earth’s charged upper atmosphere does in protecting biota from solar flares.

    • Just remember, build the high speed rail on the moon NOW, before all the land gets grabbed up by private owners, and then it’ll cost a fortune to acquire the rights of way.

      /sarc

  3. Very Serious Question: Why would anyone want to live in a habitat bubble on Mars? Or even underground in small regolith-epoxy structure on Mars or the Moon?

    And probably for the rest of one’s much-shortened life? Extreme cold, no moisture, fine power dust that would get everywhere after an EVA, and instantly lethal if exposed un-pressurized.

    And tiny atmospheric Mars makes living at the South Pole (at the Amundsen Station) look like a 5-star hotel in Caans or San Moritz by comparison. The only thing I can figure is people have watched too much SciFi fantasies like Star Trek and Star Wars for so long that they think that’s what it would be like. Kinda explains the gullibility on Climate Change science fiction too. Too many gullible people unable to parse through all the pop-science/pseudo-science nonsense they are fed.

    I can see it now: Bouncing around care-free in spacesuit on Mars, looking across a barren lifeless cold desert. Oh what a wonderful day! Just like Julie Rogers singing the Hills are Alive in space suit, before she has to rush back in to safety before sunset or she runs out of O2 and battery power to her meager 400 sq ft of life of freeze dried food and granola bars and washed down with recycled urine.

    No thank you.

    • I meant Julie Andrews, as in The Sound of Music. Not sure where Rogers came from. Jumbled recall I suppose. Time to go to bed.

    • Joel O’Bryan March 5, 2019 at 10:34 pm

      ye, of little imagination. Adventure. challenge, and a “last chance bar” for AOC to work at after her career in politics ends…..

      michael

      • I see the engineering and life science realities. Radiation from GCR and solar protons being just one of one of many. Robotics and AI are probably how we are going to have to continue to explore the solar system.

        Look how NASA has struggled just to get manned vehicle back to LEO at the ISS. SpaceX and Boeing are charging NASA plenty for their vehicles to put the manned spaced travel to LEO.

      • “…a “last chance bar” for AOC to work at…”

        Already in the planning stages. Cis-lunar space is widely touted, by the newspace community, as the next boom town. And every boom town needs a watering hole. I am planning for the first cis-lunar tavern. I plan to call it The Cis-Boom Bar.

    • With enough money and enough time, we can do anything. That includes building a beautiful city on Mars, inhabited by wonderful people, possessing all of the amenities needed to produce and raise brilliant kids. Money and time.

      • But once a Martian, always a Martian. If you’re born and bred on Mars, can you adjust to earth’s gravity without major physical problems?

        • If you’re born and bred on Mars, can you adjust to earth’s gravity without major physical problems.
          ==========================================
          Heinlein again: “Stranger In A Strange Land” – can you grok it?
          RAH came up with the concept of the water bed as described in this novel. Possibly another book for the ‘keeper shelf’. (Caution: religion, and even an astrologist.)

      • I’m very much in agreement with, and in the same camp with Joel O’Bryan. Like Joel imagined a Mars astronaut, “Oh boy, I get to put on this super stinky suit, now full of my dead skin cells, and covered in Martian dust, to go out and somewhat look at this dead, cold rock one more time. I can only smell my own stink, I can’t feel wind or sun on my skin, and I can’t even scratch my nose when it itches or rub my eyes. Even sneezing and coughing are major problems. Farting? Don’t even go there, although it is a change from having to smell the normal odor inside this suit”.
        Mars has no magnetosphere, so any atmosphere and water (exception – some ice) it ever had has been blown out into space by the solar wind. Without a magnetosphere, Mars is unprotected from Solar and Interstellar radiation; a very real problem. Without a magnetosphere, there is no hope of ever “terraforming” Mars; not with anything close to current known technologies. Its atmosphere is 1/100 that of Earth, and is comprised of 95+% CO2. Its gravity is 1/3 that of Earth. It is colder than the Antarctic most of the time. There is no life in the ground, so it is dirt and not soil, and therefore cannot support plants. It may be rich in minerals, but without the micro-organic life found in Earth’s soils, plants won’t natively grow there.
        So I disagree. Given time and sufficient money and other resources, we cannot do just anything we put our mind to do. We do, in fact, have limitations – God given limitations; and being able to recognize that is a positive attribute for mankind.
        People can only take so much physical and emotional punishment, then they contemplate suicide. Mars = en mass suicide.

    • Especially, when they are unable to establish self sustaining facilities on Earth under ideal support circumstances.

      • Fair point. There is some work to be done on that (I’m going for ‘understatement of the week’ with that one).

        It is good that someone is looking into matching the soils that would be encountered. There’s no point in doing another biodome exercise using bags of topsoil from Home Depot. It must work with the soils and surfaces that will actually be encountered.

    • “Very Serious Question: Why would anyone want to live in a habitat bubble on Mars? Or even underground in small regolith-epoxy structure on Mars or the Moon?

      And probably for the rest of one’s much-shortened life? Extreme cold, no moisture, fine power dust that would get everywhere after an EVA, and instantly lethal if exposed un-pressurized.”

      I don’t think there will be a big human population on either the Moon or Mars. Because of the problems you outline.

      Large, orbiting O’Neill-type Habitats are the future of the human race in space.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Neill_cylinder

      These space habitats can overcome all the problems associated with living on the Moon and Mars. They can be built to protect humans from lethal space radiation. They can be rotated to provide artificial “gravity” equivalent to the Earth’s gravity. They can be built big enough to hold millions of people comfortably.

      So what I see in the future is small populations on the Moon and Mars and lots and lots of artificial human habitats in space.

      If I was a billionaire, I would build myself one. A big one. Might start my own “nation”. 🙂

      • Is there any way an alien species could spend lightyears in space and then, adapted to weightlessness, expect to invade a massive planet like earth?

        • Make it spin like a centrifuge, and yes, hypothetically possible.

          Of course, something as big and hot as a generation ship would be detected years, maybe decades before it got here. Plenty of time to build and deploy nuclear space missiles and orbital mines.

    • First, settling Mars would be exceedingly stupid. The only sane reason for space colonization is in asteroid mining, and demand for the minerals would have to far exceed current levels. Even then, remotes and automatons would be more efficient.

      • I think we will have people on both the Moon and Mars but most of them won’t be permanent residents and will rotate out after a certain period or time and will be replaced by others.

        I expect there will be people doing research in both places and there will be tourism. But I think the environment is so unfriendly that there won’t be many people who try to make it permanent. Those places will be similar to the Earth’s antarctic region as far as human populations go.

    • “Why would anyone want to live in a habitat bubble on Mars?”
      Good question since the biospheres here seem to fail.

    • Very serious question: whatever happened to global warming on Mars, with its current atmospheric concentration of CO2 at 953,200 ppm (mole fraction) and its average atmospheric temperature ranging from an annual high of about 0 °C to an annual low of about -80 °C???

  4. I found it!
    “create the regulatory and engineering environments to make sure everything is done safely and justly”

    Regulation Nation and Social Justice all in one convenient package.
    How very efficient of them.

    Of course it is EurekAlert. (what else?)

    • Beat me to it Tony. EurekAlert!

      Such a target-rich environment, this one!

      I kept checking the calendar to make sure it’s not April 1st already. Thank Gaia that dedicated workers are paying attention to preparing the foundations for the deep (space) state! If there’s going to be economic activity off-earth, it’s critical that we start now to strangle it with regulation.

    • Target rich?
      Their assumptions make it impossible to miss fatally flawed claims.

      e.g.

      “The researchers also applied their standards to a simulant created in UCF’s Exolith Lab called UCF/DSI-CI-2. They compared the results to measures of Orgueil, a meteorite that fell in France in 1864.”

      And Orgueil is physically representative of which space destination?
      Mars?
      Moon?
      Large asteroids?
      Venus?
      Passing comets?
      Or perhaps some unknown Kuiper Belt object?

      It’s a massive waste of research funds chasing confirmation biased dreams.

  5. Oh and by the way… your tax dollars are funding these guys.

    “The simulant UCF/DSI-CI-2 received a magnetic susceptibility score, or figure of merit, of .96, which means it is a 96 percent match with Orgueil. Similarly, it received an elemental score of .94 and a mineralogical score of .83. The other five properties the researchers measured also had high scores.

    “We’re delighted we could get such a high-fidelity simulant,” Metzger said. “The fact that we were able to replicate those eight properties with such high fidelity tells us that these simulants will be very valuable for companies doing asteroid mining, doing tests of constructions of facilities and landing pads, metal extraction and more.”

    Oh gee, the other 5 properties also had high scores, he said. It all sounds of “sciency!”

    I wonder how they propose de-orbiting a 10,000 metric tonne hunk of nickel-iron through Earth’s atmosphere so it can be useful here on Earth? As it’s useless in space. An ocean impact?
    And these planetary scientists apparently do not understand the materials science of refining metals if they think it can be done in space.
    ====

    April 15th is fast approaching… pay up folks.
    This stuff will go nowhere. Never. But you gotta pay for it anyways.
    A Self–licking ice cream cone.

  6. Climate Alarmists should definitely be given top priority to take part in this fantasy venture. Even if the mission is a failure, that would relieve the continual pressure from ecoloonies against the rest of the population. It would reduce global population and improve scientific intelligence at the same time.

  7. Man cannot survive the trip to Mars because of the long 0-g environment and cannot live on Mars because of the ~ 0.5 g environment. When we leave Earth it will have to be to a space colony where a 1 g environment is provided.

    This will not occur till the Earth is over crowded — a long time from now.

    • Your adamant prediction is about as bad as the one in the original posted article that says by 2100 there will be more activity off Earth than on. Doesn’t anybody think at all about the unlikelyhood of what they’re saying coming true as stated?
      It’s straight from the “climate disaster” playbook. Laughable nonsense!

    • Yes, humans need Earth-equivalent gravity and protection from radiation in order to thrive in space.

      Fortunately, we can produce both of these requirements without too much effort.

      I think humans moving into space will take place before Earth gets overcrowded. The determining factor is the cost of getting to low-Earth orbit. When that reaches a certain point, people will start going to space.

      We shouldn’t wait for the Earth to become overcrowded becasue I’m not sure it ever will become overcrowded. I wouldn’t consider it overcrowded today, and the figures say that many affluent populations are declining in numbers now. So we have a long way to go to get to overcrowding and the population may stop growing entirely, if we manage to lift all of humanity to a more affluent state. The Earth’s population may stabilize and stay there.

      • I agree with that completely, Tom. Population will level off or even decline with ever-increasing affluence.

        The only reasonable justification for significant numbers of people to try to live in space is the virtual certainty that eventually there will be an extinction-level event on earth, such as a very large asteroid strike that ends up broiling the entire surface and sterilizing the planet surface. But for that purpose, it should be adequate to have orbiting stations.

  8. I thought it said UFC which caused a moment of excitement. When the letters sorted back to UCF, I immediately lost interest. “everything is done safely and justly”????? WTF? I see engineers are still struggling with English 100. Whenever I purchased standards I was primarily concerned that they were safe and just! And endorsed by GSP.

  9. Of course if the Greenies win this present War to close down our civilisation, then its back to the caves. A bit hard to build spaceships from there.

    MJE

  10. “Before civilization can move off world it must make sure its structures work on the extraterrestrial foundations upon which they will be built.”

    ___________________________________________________

    First task: erecting a network of extraterrestrial founded electromobility loading stations.

  11. I doubt there will EVER be lots of people leaving earth, i know it looks easy in films, science fiction films, but space is very unfriendly and dangerous and expensive, STAR TREK is a lot of baloney.

  12. I was encouraged to see the background of the team that created the ‘standard soil.’ They had engineers, chemists, etc., with nary a “Climate Scientist” to be seen. Good.

    But as pointed out by others, TonyL first, I think, ““create the regulatory and engineering environments to make sure everything is done safely and justly” is a ridiculous part of the exercise at this point. I suppose that’s just grant application boilerplate in the current academic environment.

    This strikes me as a mixed bag where UCF is trying to monetize the research by becoming the standard for extraterrestrial soil research. There’s money to be had in developing and maintaining the standard samples – for sale at reasonable prices (reasonable prices hahahahahaha! I crack myself up) – to entities working on space colonization projects.

    But good for them. They’ve made a good match to an extraterrestrial sample size of one, so they seem to have a soil matching process that works. That’s really all they can say. Anything claimed beyond that gets and deserves the responses we see here.

    Now all they have to do is find out where we’ll be going and get a sample from that place so they can make a match. Easy-peasy… not!

  13. Since we’d be attempting to support life, and all life as we know it is carbon based, what should we look for first?

    A source of Carbon to fuel the Carbon Cycle.

    On Earth the Carbon Cycle of Life is fueled by atmospheric Carbon Dioxide.

  14. “engineering environments to make sure everything is done safely and justly,”

    How do you tell the difference between a just I-beam, and an unjust one?

  15. ““I’m firmly convinced that by the end of the century there will be more economic activity off planet Earth than on planet Earth,” says Phil Metzger, a planetary scientist at UCF and lead author of the study.”

    Absolute nonsense, based on fantasy.

  16. “I’m firmly convinced that by the end of the century there will be more economic activity off planet Earth than on planet Earth,” says Phil Metzger, a planetary scientist at UCF and lead author of the study.”
    ————————-
    Yes, and I firmly believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

    We have two generations of people who watched too many sci-fi movies and TV shows and who think they reflect reality, including the authors of this study.

  17. The level of stupid in this prediction is about as large as the Universe itself. How about we start by looking at the planet we inhabit now? We ‘occupy’ about 3% of the surface. The depths of our mining and resource extraction have barely scratched the surface (pun intended) We have all the breathable air and drinkable water we will ever need. And thanks to science we have essentially unlimited supplies of energy from which to continue our comfortable lives.
    Take this simple fact away and then ponder just how stupid and dangerous space travel really is: 544 people have been in Earth orbit, 18 fatalities: 3.3% of astronauts have died during spaceflight. But many astronauts have made more than one flight. the number of person-flights is 1228, for a fatality rate of 1.4% – sign me up!! NOT !!!

    • “544 people have been in Earth orbit, 18 fatalities: 3.3% of astronauts have died during spaceflight. But many astronauts have made more than one flight. the number of person-flights is 1228, for a fatality rate of 1.4% – sign me up!! NOT !!!”

      A lot of people won’t care aboot the odds. The fatality rate of a US president is much higher (cab driver, police, fire … don’t compare).

      A whole lot of people compete and spend a lot of money to get a job that has a 9% fatality rate. A lot of people won’t even blink at a 2% rate.

  18. how are we going to get lead up there to stop cosmic rays coming in from the Universe from frying everyone’s brain?

  19. It would save time and money to just observe the underground growing operations and industriousness of the Canadian marijuana sector. They just need to add nutrition and O2 byproducts to the feverish activity.

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