- Series: Helix Book
- Paperback: 274 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books (September 23, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0201328194
- ISBN-13: 978-0201328196
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mining the Sky: Untold Riches From The Asteroids, Comets, And Planets (Helix Book)
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book covers a broad range of subjects providing: historical perspectives; descriptions of the Moon, Mars, and the asteroids; technical processes for extracting/producing volatiles/metals; generating power; and spaceship propulsion schemes and flight trajectories. Of the ideas presented, two stand out as possible keys to the future ...
To ply the space between Earth, Moon, Mars, and the Asteroid Belt, you will need a spaceship, versatile in the propellants it can use. Rockets normally burn their propellants, but there is another type which simply heats them. Nuclear energy is the favored heat source. This idea has been around for years. The most accessible propellant in space: water.
Perhaps the best place to look for water is in a group of asteroids known as Near Earth Objects (NEOs). Their paths periodically cross the Earth's orbit. Some of these NEOs are suspected of harboring ice beneath their dark coats. The NEOs in an orbit similar to Earth's are easiest to reach.
Scenario: Your spaceship departs an Earth-orbiting fuel-depot. Months later, you intercept a NEO, mine its ice, possibly melting/purifying it before storing it. At departure, you can tap into this water to feed your thermal rocket. After more months, you arrive back at the fuel-depot. The water you add to their stores can be used for flights to other destinations.
NEO mining could be dangerous. NEOs spin, have low/variable gravities, some may be a collection of loose rocks, some are two smaller bodies sitting on each other, some have small moons, and some are has-been comets. What will happen when you start boring, digging, or blasting them?
Book quality: page 79 follows page 82.
This book places man on the threshold of solar system travel and exploration similar to "The Age of Exploration" of the 15th Century. A treasure-trove of riches awaits us in nearby space. Additionally, asteroids regular movements act as the trade winds for our space travel as early Iberian explorers traveled long ago.
This fascinating book is for the science based reader with an imagination. One that does not possess underpinnings in basic physics and chemistry will be challenged. I do not recommend this to the primary "Love Novel reader."
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!