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Mining The Sky: Untold Riches From The Asteroids, Comets, And Planets (Helix Book) Paperback – September 23, 1997


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Mining The Sky: Untold Riches From The Asteroids, Comets, And Planets (Helix Book) + Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization + The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must
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Product Details

  • Series: Helix Book
  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (September 23, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201328194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201328196
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

As we near the end of the 20th century, humankind must deal with the energy crisis and the depletion of natural resources. Lewis (Rain of Iron and Ice, LJ 1/96) argues that the solution to both these problems lies beyond the earth-that we can tap the vast resources of the solar system, in particular the asteroids, as a source of materials and the sun as a source of power. He even describes how we could colonize Mars. Introducing each chapter with a science fiction-type prolog, Lewis goes on to tell how all this can be achieved. Through occasionally tedious passages, he argues that his proposals are both technologically and economically feasible if done by private enterprise, not as a government project. For general collections. [Robert M. Zubrin's The Case for Mars, reviewed below, also proposes an economically feasible manned Mars program.-Ed.]-Harold D. Shane, Baruch Coll., CUN.
--Harold D. Shane, Baruch Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John S. Lewis, author of Rain of Iron and Ice, is professor of planetary sciences and codirector of the Space Engineering Research Center at the University of Arizona-Tucson. He has chaired international conferences on space resources and is a globally recognized expert on the subject.

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Customer Reviews

This book could be made much more technical.
Brent Ziarnick
Still, a good book which I would recommend to anyone interested in space colonization.
Anaxagoras
An excellent book that truly stretched my ideas of mankind's place in the universe.
Van.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Brent Ziarnick on September 17, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Lewis without a doubt deserves to be one of the most influential leaders in space development. I found Mining the Sky by accident in a hometown book shop while in high school and bought it because I had a few dollars. Five years later, I'm 9 months away from becoming an Air Force space officer with an astronautics degree. This book is that impressive.
This book is the clearest and accessible book on the economic impacts space will provide the human race to date. Most of its ideas aren't fanciful and can be easily imagined as maturing in the next 20-30 years or sooner, given an effort. Maybe even sooner, as at least one private company was inspired by Dr. Lewis' writings.
Dr. Lewis' positive outlook is tempered by a realistic engineering and economic approach to space. Keep in mind this book is first and foremost about space industrialization, not exploration. A true space enthusaist should know that one cannot be without the other. Dr. Lewis could not have given a better general survey of whats out there.
A brief addendum concerning other reviewers' criticisms. This book could be made much more technical. However, this book was meant to appeal to a large, nontechnical audience. For more information, see Dr. Lewis' earlier book (and parent to Mining the Sky) Resources of Near Earth Space. It is the standard text for space materials prospects. Mining the Sky is a toned down version of RoNES meant to explain to a layman (me, when I first read Mining) the opportunities that await those courageous enough to reach out.
Thank you, Dr. Lewis. And everyone even remotely interested in space and mankinds future in it, READ THIS BOOK!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Andrew J. Lewis on March 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating integration of science, technology and business.
The author makes an excellent case for the necessity, feasibility and promise of free market space exploration and exploitation. His justification is the long-range goal of self-sufficient space flight, which he contrasts eloquently with the wasteful, short-term and politically-motivated excursions of the last 40 years.
A number of facts may surprise you: the amount of information garnered from extensive research into the subject; the amount of considerate planning scientists and businessmen have devoted to the prospect; and how soon profitable space-mining could begin. The author, one of the field's leading scientist-businessmen, is well-qualified to present the material.
I found the book's wealth of scientific data overwhelming at times. Readers more familiar with physics and chemistry will find it easier to read. Nonetheless, the scientific data is important to support the author's "conservative" (his word) projections of how much wealth we can create by "mining the sky."
There is some poor explicit philosophy in the concluding chapters. Be aware of it and disregard it-it does nothing to advance or discredit his primary thesis: that the sky-indeed, the universe-is ours for the taking.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is entertaining and mind-expanding. The opportunity for exploitation of near-Earth resources is apparent. Dr. Lewis supports his assertions with good science and broad foresight. This is a great job of presenting both the scientific and social benefits of using space resources.
The future is built upon visionary ideas, not always immediately appreciated. This book makes a convincing case for advancing beyond the confines of this planet and how such an exodus is not only practical, but may well be profitable.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Peter D. Tillman VINE VOICE on September 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
Rating: A+ (ideas); A- (writing). An entertaining and visionary look at
the future of humanity in a space-based economy.

The idea of moving mining to space dates back at least to Russian space
visionary Konstantin Tsiolkovski (1903). Robert Goddard's pioneering
rocketry experiments in the 1920's were paid for by the Guggenheim
foundation, with money from mining (Asarco). Goddard himself
envisioned the migration of industry and people to space (1918).

Mr. Lewis, Codirector of the Space Engineering Research Center at the
University of Arizona, brings these speculations up to date for the turn
of the 21st century.

The resources available in the asteroid belt are truly staggering. Lewis
estimates that there is enough iron there to cover the earth to a depth of
one-half mile(!). At present-day prices, this iron would be worth about
$7 billion for each person now alive. Add in nickel, platinum, copper,
gold, uranium and so on, and the total exceeds $100 billion per person.
Makes the "Limits to Growth" folks look pretty silly.

Of course, there are a *few* steps to be taken before these resources
become economic, not the least mustering the courage and imagination
to take them. Yogi Berra reminds us that "the trouble with predicting
the future is that it is very hard", but from an engineering standpoint,
there's no reason why everyone can't become healthy, wealthy and very
numerous. Just can't do it all *here*...

review copyright 1998 by Peter D. Tillman

Consulting Geologist, Tucson & Santa Fe (USA)
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