This is a great place to learn and make new friends! The other day I learned from my new friend David Lindel that thanks to nanotechnology astronaut’s suits is going to be more flexible and comfortable to wear. This can facilitate work in outer space. I am just a common citizen without the technical background or expertise required in the space industry. I do my living as a small animal veterinarian actually practicing in the state of Georgia. Since childhood besides animals, learning about space and science was also very attractive to me. That’s the reason I enjoy so much the discussions here at the International Nanoscience Community and sometimes try to contribute with my blog.
One of the things that worry me about the future is that the general public seems not be connected to the ideals of exploration and colonization of space. How can we change that? I think part of the problem is that people feel that they are not getting something from the space program. Sadly people only thinks about NASA or other space agencies when something goes wrong, as per example news about love affair triangles, drunken astronauts or the infomercials on TV. How many of us had seen those infomercials about products that use technology developed by NASA? The other day a laboratory equipment representative came to our hospital to show us a $10,000 blood testing machine. He was pushing very hard in selling that piece of equipment to us and his way of distinguish how his brand was superior to others in the market was pointing to the fact that his machine uses technology developed by NASA. Is the name NASA becoming just part of cheap advertisement slogans? Looking at recent infomercials it seems that the only good products derivated from the space program and available to the population is the Craftmatic bed. In a world where perception is everything, can we show to the common citizen that the space program means more that pretty pictures from stars, comfortable beds or stainless steel cookware?
Some people believe that mining asteroids can provide the economic push for the development of a new space industry and eventual colonization of our solar system. But what kind of materials can we bring from near asteroids that can produce a profit and keep us asking for more? What about water? Everybody seems to buy water bottles. The water bottle industry is probably a billion dollars market around the world. People are always looking to buy those expensive bottles of waters from natural springs located in a remote part of the world or glaciers. It is expected that with the effects of pollutants and global warming those sources of water are going to be scarce in the near future. Without sources of fresh and clean water this industry may come to an end sooner or later. But if nanotechnology can provide us with the correct tools to work in outer space, we may be able to begin mining ice or water from nearby asteroids. Asteroids can serve as a source of fresh pure water that never has been polluted by human contaminants. The devil is in the details of how to bring that water from asteroids to us thirsty inhabitants of Earth.
Let’s forget about the bottle water industry and take a look somewhere else. What about the jewel industry. We probably don’t have to look for uranium, gold or silver to make the mining of asteroids profitable. What about just bringing some rocks and allowing some talented designers to create art pieces using only that raw material. I am very sure people will pay money to have a pair of earrings or a neckless made from materials obtained from an asteroid. I can see the Shop Network selling the last “asteroid belt collection” of bracelets on Sunday.
In other words, instead of hoping to find exotic materials in space with the purpose of creating a profitable space industry, let’s begin with creating an industry based on more simple materials as per example water and rocks. Let’s take it from there and see how the general public reacts before getting complicated with other kind of projects.
Dr. Feneque graduated from the University of Puerto Rico College of Agriculture in 1991 and from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1996. He actually resides and practices small animal medicine in the state of Georgia, USA.