GOLDMAN SACHS, PLATINUM, AND ASTEROID MINING
I am always amazed at the careful and sharp eyes of the readership of this site, especially for their ability to spot the odd detail or turn of phrase that may indicate something significant, and, in this case, something with profound implications. This is one of those times I have to blog not only about the article, but about the sender's - in this case, "G.L.R.'s" - insight into it. Here's the article:
The article notes that the price of launch vehicles - you know, the noisy chemical rocket kind - has begun to plummet, making the cost of getting up there to "get stuff" is falling accordingly:
The price of spacecraft is plummeting, thanks to reusable rockets from Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin. It used to cost $35 million (£28 million) to send one person up on a Soyuz rocket. Today, Virgin Galactic hopes to get space tourists into space for something like $250,000 (£200,000), Goldman says. More broadly, the price of all new rockets is falling over time:
Ok, that's nice. Falling rocket prices, tourism, trips to the Moon for vacations. All of this is, of course, couched by Goldman in terms of a "feasibility study":
Nonetheless, Goldman is bullish. "We expect that systems could be built for less than that given trends in the cost of manufacturing spacecraft and improvements in technology. Given the capex of mining operations on Earth, we think that financing a space mission is not outside the realm of possibility."
But, that's not the jaw dropper; the jaw-dropper fuels my - or rather, G.L.R.'s - high octane speculation of the day, with a little parsley and lettuce garnishments thrown in from me. While most of this article reads like the typical bland business-risk-feasibility management study, the opening paragraph is a stunner, there's no other way to put it:
Goldman Sachs is bullish on space mining with "asteroid-grabbing spacecraft." In a 98-page note for clients seen by Business Insider, analyst Noah Poponak and his team argue that platinum mining in space is getting cheaper and easier, and the rewards are becoming greater as time goes by. (Emphasis added)
As G.L.R. put it to me in the email in which the article was shared (and I am citing the exact words here): "Really? I don't recall reading that we actually were mining in space so how can an accurate comparison be done to determine that its cheaper now?"
Uhm... er... yea.
But of course, the opening paragraph of the article are the article's author's words (in this case, the author being Mr. Jim Edwards). So, perhaps were reading too much into it, parsing too closely. But G.L.R. sent along another article about the same Goldman Sachs study, and again, one finds some curious wording by a completely different article author:
In the Sun article by Mr. (or Ms.) Jasper Hamill, note the following italicized statement, which I present in context:
"Prospecting probes can likely be built for tens of millions of dollars each and Caltech has suggested an asteroid-grabbing spacecraft could cost $2.6bn."The bank added: "Space mining could be more realistic than perceived."
More "realistic", or is that simply a euphemism for "more real".Now, put all this into the context of this week's previous blogs and tidbits about space, including that strange story about "the dark side of the Moon". (See
and see this:and see this:
and what does one have? I've stated all along that with the commercialization of space comes, inevitably, its militarization and weaponization. After all, one has to protect those developing assets from..."whomever". And I've also said, all along, that chemical rockets - cost declines or not - are just a very inefficient means of space travel, much less mining asteroids. And hence, perhaps, what we have here, is an inadvertent, or perhaps deliberate, admission that the mining of celestial bodies is already under way, and by technologies that "don't exist."
There is indeed a financial aspect to this speculation that makes some sense here, for if one has been following the financial news lately, and particularly those stories about Russia and China buying massive amounts of gold (and one assumes, to a lesser extent, silver), and the constant trickle of stories about their plans to move to gold-backed currencies, the USA and other western powers seem all too unperturbed by the news, as if they "knew something", and had their own hidden financial system, and sources of bullion and precious metals. And as I've said before, there is a lot of "missing money" that is completely unaccounted for, and no one seems inclined to look for it. Remember those quadrillions of dollars of "bad paper" on banks' books? How would one offset that? Well, a rich asteroid or two would do the trick.
Perhaps, in order to find the missing money, and the source of the West's seeming financial imperturbability, one would have to look up, to space...