Sheldon just voted himself a $20 million dollar bonus at Moon Uranium (a closed end fund that's out of this world!) per DINESGIBBOUS. "At Moon, we will not crater, rather we'll "lift off" by purchasing millions of shares of Pinetree and Mega Uranium and then reinvesting the proceeds in our beautiful satellite office in San Francisco."
UPDATE! Permit for Moon Uranium denied. President Obama said "not until we can do something about nuclear waste up there."
Interesting old Sci-Fi book by Robert Heinlein that addresses the problem of getting things back to and at earth. Its called "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress." I am a sci-fi reader and have found some interesting and logical solutions, plus plenty of good philosophy and stories about man's future in some of those books.
Every time I read about N.A.S.A.'s plans to mine the moon's surface for such elements as uranium and aluminum and for rocks which contain helium-3 I'm reminded of those equally ambitious plans that were devised during the early 1980s for constructing factories in space.
I wonder what ever became of those plans for manufacturing ball bearings and antibiotics in earth orbit?
Nonetheless, N.A.S.A. seems to be downsizing its plans for sending men to the moon within the next 15 years. It may replace its current plan to develop the Ares 1 and Ares 5 rockets with a plan to use the space shuttle's solid fuel and liquid fuel rockets to send a manned space capsule to the moon. The spaceship--called Orion--seems to be a more modest version of that vehicle which was to be launched into low earth orbit by the Ares 1 rocket. The Ares 5 rocket was intended to place the Orion or a larger version of the lunar module from the Apollo era into a lunar orbit.
It seems to me that it would be cheaper and easier to "strongly encourage" the denizens of those earth-based regions where uranium seems to be relatively abundant to allow certain mining companies to mine uranium for export purposes.
When the USA had won the space race and put the first man on the moon Bob Hope was asked to comment on the advance of US science being better than that of the Soviets. His reply was "our German rocket scientist was better than the Soviet's German rocket scientist.
>>I wonder what ever became of those plans for manufacturing ball bearings and antibiotics in earth orbit?<<
Simple. NASA spent billions building the space station, creating an excuse to keep the space shuttle program (ant it's contractors) going.
The shuttle is enormously fragile and over-complicated. As a result, it costs something like $10,000/lb. to launch anything into earth orbit. $10,000/lb for every piece of equipment, every astronaut, every meal that the astronaut eats, and all of the water requried to sustain life. Now think of that number next time you see a picture of the football field-sized "Freedom" station. What a waste.
What they should've been doing, since the Challenger explosion, is working on reducing the cost to orbit by a factor of 10 every 20 years. Now THAT would spur an economic boom.
But no... We instead have chosen to keep subsidizing the bloated contractor companies, so that they can fund re-election campaigns. Much less risky.