Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Last Chance - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Re:Problem with the definition of a planet (Score 1) 62

They'll say, "oh, it's okay, there's enough of a size difference between those bodies that they don't count".

No, they'll just point out that while the orbits of the two planets appear to cross when looking at a 2D top-down view of the solar system, in 3D space they come nowhere near each other. The closest point in their orbits is 2 AU apart. Unless you want to say that Neptune's orbital zone its supposed to be clearing is twice the distance between the Earth and the Sun, Pluto is irrelevant.

For someone who seems to care a lot about Pluto you seem to have forgotten how absurdly tilted its orbit is.

Comment Re:If someone killed my wife and children... (Score 2) 144

If someone killed my wife and children... I would not be above genocide utilizing a bioweapon, and I would be capable of building such a thing, targeted to a specific set of tribes or genomes

Good luck with that one. The problem here is that the two ethnic groups are almost the same: they're both Semitic people, and are extremely closely related genetically. Any bio-weapon targeting Jewish genetics is also going to affect Arabs, and vice-versa.

Something like that might work if, for instance, the Nigerians were really pissed at the Chinese. But with most cases where some ethnic group really hates some other ethnic group, the two groups are more similar to each other than to anyone else. It's kinda like all those cases you see where there's a family-run restaurant, but two brothers in the family have a big fight and suddenly there's two restaurants, the original one, and then a new one across the street with the exact same menu and almost same name.

Comment Re:Trees and powerlines? (Score 1) 135

Not counting your airport problem, it's quite possible that properties like yours will simply be on the "Sorry, we can't deliver to your address by this mechanism" list. That's going to be true of millions and millions of residences. Probably MOST residences. This will be more useful for exurbs, and for deliveries to places like corporate office parks, hospitals, or other spots that might need rush deliveries and have more reliably plausible LZs. Logistics are likely to be case by case.

Comment Re:Americans...why ? (Score 1) 135

Because drones flying over your house are an invasion of privacy

Actually no, no they're not. You might have an argument if the machine is being operated literally feet above your house, or below your treetops. But traversing the airspace above your house isn't any more invasion of your property than is driving by it with a car. Do you feel that your privacy is being invaded when a traffic reporting Cessna flies over? No? Why not? Be specific.

Comment Re:Americans...why ? (Score 1) 135

Why do Americans want to shoot anything/everything ?

No, the question is why does everyone else feel the need to keep that meme alive? Is it to make themselves feel better about having given away their own ability to defend themselves? There are plenty of places around the world where people go and spend an hour on the trap and skeet ranges. It's like bowling or golf. Why do all of the Germans, Swedes, French, Italians, Japanese, British, Russian, Brazilian, Spanish, Chinese, Australian, Latvian, and everyone else who do that want to shoot everything? Or is that maybe not really a reasonable characterization, as it turns out?

Comment Re:the main legit use i can see (Score 1) 135

Really? How do you use an airport in a no-fly zone?

Don't be an idiot. You know perfectly well what the GP is referring to. The FAA says no UAS activity within 5 miles of an airport. To the extent that one can make advance arrangements - including special permission, a filed flight plan, etc - per flight, you might be able to get away with that. That completely rules out on-demand delivery services like those being discussed. In every practical sense, that makes the five miles surrounding airports UAS delivery NFZ's. The entire DC metro area and many other spots are also completely, permanently off limits.

Comment Re:Fantasy (Score 1) 170

No the fuss is there because the USA is trying to claim sovereignty of stuff in space by assigning ownership rules.

Sounds more like you want to benefit from other people's investment, risk, and labor for free (invest in your own damned space mining!). Or that you want to make all resources off the Earth forbidden for anyone to use which is Luddite in nature to the extreme.

I object on the grounds of the USA unilaterally extending its powers into space without reference to the rest of the world.

Nobody is going to declare the Moon or some other celestial body a US Territory or Possession. It specifically says that in the bill that was passed. All the bill that was passed says is that if you extract resources from some celestial body you keep what you've taken risk, invested large sums, and worked hard to obtain. It doesn't stop anyone else from setting up their own operation right 'next door', as it were.

You are objecting to fantasies that reside only in your mind.


Comment Re: The treaty says no such thing. (Score 1) 170

National ownership and private ownership are two entirely different things. The US has no right to grant or deny access to an asteroid, under the Outer Space Treaty. But once there's property in question within the United States (having been returned to the surface), ownership of that property is a key issue that needs to be decided by law. The US has made clear that it considers that the private property of the company in question. This is in no way "national appropriation by claim of sovereignty" to the asteroid. It's just saying, "Yup, you mined it, you own it, we're not going to confiscate it or anything of the sort"

Comment Re:The treaty says no such thing. (Score 1) 170

First, the UK was trying to encroach on waters already owned; no such ownership claim exists to objects in space.

It's not that simple. In each case Iceland was pushing the boundaries of law on ownership of seas. Remember, there was a time where there was no such thing as coastal waters, and then later when there was no concept of an EEZ. In fact, Iceland was the first country to lay claim to an EEZ for fishing (Britain cried foul, but they helped pioneer the concept by laying claim to ocean-bottom mineral resources a couple years earlier in a different kind of EEZ). Now every coastal state has an EEZ, but back then it was a new concept.

For your other two points I think I may have lost the thread here. Or maybe you did. Either way, my point was that larger states can't always successfully bully smaller states by military might in today's international world. I don't see why that wouldn't apply to space as well.

Comment Re:The treaty says no such thing. (Score 2) 170

. So far as we know the bulk of that material is stuff that's easy to get here on Earth: silicates, sulfides, iron, nickel etc. Judging from meteors found here on Earth there are exotic materials like iridium, but in trace quantities.

Not at all. In a similar thread I linked to a USGS study on the prospects of space mining that showed that for an entire class of asteroids the average precious metals concentration is 28 ppm, with findings as high as 200ppm. In bulk, not concentrates, no overburden. I mean, that's insanely rich deposits. The richest gold mine on Earth is something like 40ppm - with lots of overburden. Most are 1-2 orders of magnitude less rich than that.

The problem with Earth is that most of the precious metals in the planet have sunk into the depths, with the crust mostly containing only that which has been deposited by later bombardments. But asteroids (with the possible exception of large ones like Ceres) are undifferentiated. Look at 16 Psyche, for example - it makes up 1% of the total mass of the asteroid belt and it's an estimated 90% metal. Ever seen anything like that occurring naturally on Earth? ;) Now Psyche itself wouldn't be an ideal target, it's a main belt asteroid, but still, it drives home how much these objects are not like Earth.

The platinum deposits in Canada's Sudbury Basin were delivered by a meteor

I think you're mixing things up. Sudbury is mainly mined for nickel - the platinum is recovered as a secondary product and is not the prime mining target (while not precious, nickel is a rather valuable mineral (nearly twice as valuable as copper), and Sudbury is one of the world's best deposits). And its minerals, while the result of a meteor strike, didn't come from the meteor itself. The meteor (now believed more likely to have been a comet than an asteroid) overwhelmingly converted to vapor and plasma and was blasted into the upper atmosphere and circulated around the Earth. The giant "wound" however, penetrated all the way down to the mantle, which bulged up and diffused with a giant pool of liquified rock and let to melt differentiation mineralization processes, creating areas of very rich deposits. The key issue is that overwhelmingly the minerals at Sudbury are believed to be terrestrial-sourced igneous deposit, even though the concentrations were caused by an impact.

Comment Re:Fantasy (Score 1) 170

I don't get what all of the fuss is about...

It'll probably take a million years for us to suck our solar system dry if not longer and by then we'll have colonized many other solar systems.

The fuss is because there are those who view humanity's very existence as a bad thing. Exploitation of resources in space extends humanity's time and allows for expansion and growth which they see as a bad thing.

The fuss is also about political power. Environmental groups who have used their political power to control if, how, how much, and by whom the Earth's limited natural resources are exploited as a political/economic weapon and means of control over populations see the exploitation of unlimited natural resources in space as eventually making their weapon powerless and destroying their ability to control populations.


Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.