September 26, 2021

Space Exploitation: The Way to Prosperity

Author Michael Jabbra

One issue that barely received any attention during the campaign was space travel and exploitation.

That’s a shame.

To put it bluntly, many domestic and international problems can be boiled down to a lack of resources and a lack of energy. With energy, we can do almost anything. Without energy, we get demoted to the Middle Ages. We use energy to sterilize our water, to cook our food, to light our homes, to communicate, and to make almost every product that we use. Lack of energy is in part responsible for inflation.

After the Apollo lunar landings, the U.S. government lost any interest in space aside from military surveillance and communications satellites. The apathy grew after the end of the Cold War.

It’s time to wake up. Oil reserves are harder to find. Pollution is a problem worldwide.  Solar panels and wind turbines, the preferred solution of well-meaning environmentalists, will not power all of the United States. (Powering a house with solar panels is one thing; powering a factory, airport, police station, or other large facility that needs to be online 24-7 is quite another.)

Space has what we need: energy, resources, and room. It is possible to collect energy from space based solar panels and send that energy down in the form of microwave beams to receiving stations in the United States. There is no weather in space; the solar panels would be receiving energy 24-7.

When it comes to space, the Republican Party has been missing in action. The national platform’s section discussing Agriculture, Energy, and the Environment did not mention orbital solar power or mining asteroids or the Moon at all, while going to great lengths to complain about dependence on China for rare earth minerals needed for advanced technology and about the Democrats’ obstruction of using fossil fuel resources. Why this neglect?  Is there no one in high places in our Party who understands the importance of cheap, clean energy to maintain American prosperity? Is there no one in high places in our Party who understands that space exploitation would be a wonderful way to steal environmental voters from the Democrats by forcefully promoting the mining of rare earth metals and other resources in space instead of on Earth, as well as the collection of energy from space, which will not require burning fossil fuels?  Shouldn’t the Party applaud the example of space entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk? Shouldn’t the Republican Party, the party of national security, take more forceful steps to ensure American access to space and the protection of American private enterprise in space? The Party should not count on other nations dismissing the value of space access.  We are, after all, the Party of national security; far sighted people in the Party should now start emphasizing the need to protect any American commercial activity in space. The time will come for a Space Force, separate from the Air Force.  At a minimum, it is time to make clear to other nations that any attack on American space assets will result in wholesale retaliation against their space assets, and possibly against their homelands.

Future Republican Party platforms must emphasize the need to encourage free enterprise in space. And that free enterprise will need to be protected.  It’s time for the Party to include space access in its platforms.

For further reading:

Spacefaring America

High Frontier

Astropolitik

A Step Farther Out