Explaining Southern California's economy

Space business: Are rocks the next big thing? Deep Space Industries thinks so

Archimedes concept

Bryan Versteeg

Deep Space Industries plans to explore, analyze, mine, and ultimately extract valuable resources from asteroids.

A brand new company called "Deep Space Industries" (DSI) revealed itself on Tuesday to a public that just can't get enough of orbital metallurgy and final frontier that, as we know from numerous James Cameron movies, will be all about taking mining out of earthbound shafts and sending it to the stars! 

The event was held at the Museum of Flying at the Santa Monica Airport and featured the executive and scientific team of DSI laying out the case for a future in which their company uses the abundant raw materials of "near Earth asteroids" (NEAs) to create everything from tools to solar panels to rocket fuel.

The presentation was entertainingly emceed by a long-lost friend of mine, Geoff Notkin, who some years ago moved to Arizona to commit full-time to meteorite hunting and has since starred in a realty TV show, "Meteorite Men," in the process becoming an authority on rocks that have fallen from outer space. 

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Hello, commercial space! SpaceX launches first Space Station supply mission

Space-X-Falcon9-Launch-Oct12

SpaceX

The era of commercial space flight officially begins. SpaceX has sent its first full resupply mission to the International Space Station.

It didn't go off without a hitch — although what hitch there was the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster's computers handled deftly as it blasted a cargo-laden Dragon capsule toward the International Space Station last night. 

Something went wrong with one engine, but the Falcon 9 was able to adjust in flight and continue the mission. According to SpaceX, the Falcon 9 is the only rocket currently flying that can do this. 

Also, it looks extremely cool when launching at night in Florida (see above).

This is the first of 12 missions that SpaceX will undertake, to resupply the ISS in the wake of the cessation of Space Shuttle flights. The Hawthorne-based startup — whose CEO, Elon Musk, also runs electric carmaker Tesla — proved earlier this year that it could launch a capsule, rendezvous with the ISS, and return cargo to Earth via the old-school splashdown route. 

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This is what a species with technology looks like

I got this video via Mark Lacter at LA Biz Observed (he's also a KPCC colleague). It's an edited compression of footage shot from the International Space Station. [Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS from Michael König on Vimeo.]

It's beautiful, to be sure. But I was immediately struck by the omnipresence of technology: the carpets of city lights and the gyrations of the space station itself. If you zipped in from a neighboring star-system, there'd be no mistaking where the action is among our nine planets (I still count Pluto).

I suppose the question is, Does technology transform nature or somehow make it more compelling to look at, from orbit!

Contrast this with the last vivid rendering of Planet Earth than I can remember, from my youth in the Skylab era. I'd have to say that it WAS a big blue marble. Now it's something altogether more...intense.

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