The Instigator
Con (against)
9 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
9 Points

Asteroid Mining

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/22/2012 Category: Technology
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,452 times Debate No: 20498
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (12)
Votes (4)




Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially increase exploration and or development of space, beyond the Earth's mesosphere by mining astriods with todays tech.
I'll let the Pro go first the the first round
2-4. Hell Fire and Brim stone
5. The Death of the debate (no new arguments)
If any of these rules are violated then the violator forfeits
I'll be against it and there will be topicality in this round (policy debate without cross-x)
timeframe ust be less than a decade


Round 1

This debate is about if we as a people should increase space exploration and development of space beyond the Earths mesosphere, more specifically by mining asteroids with today's technology.

The answer to this question is absolutely yes!

my arguments are as follows:

1... COST
A.....Start small! There is no need to spend billions of dollars to mine an asteroid that we are not even sure can be mined. It would make much more economical sense to spend a far less money first to see A) if the substance's that are in these asteroids are in fact worth mining, and B) to see if we have the technology to even break through the surface.
Either way it is important to fund the exploration of these asteroids for both safety reasons (as my next point will address) and to see if there is any beneficial substances found within to benefit the human race as a whole.

B.... Co-op! If we can worth together with both Russia and China the cost would drop significantly. ( I would like to point however that this most likely would not happen, but it is one way to cut cost dramatically.) And we should be doing everything in out power to figure out the cheapest way to fund these space missions, because they can prove to be one of the most useful projects ever funded in the history of mankind. We just will never know unless we are able to actually do it.

2.... Safety
Okay lets pretend for a second there is a speeding asteroid veering towards earth at million's miles per hour doomed to wipe out mankind as we know it. Well guess what If we do not have a better understanding of these asteroid's we really don't have a great chance to protect ourselves. if we don't know the genetic structure of these massive objects we really do not know, if we have a way of destroying them.

Simple funding a mission to mine for samples would give us such a far more understanding of these objects and a dramatically increase chance to survive a doomsday type scenario
Debate Round No. 1


----Mining Asteroids would put China out of work
Newitz 10 (Annalee Newitz, editor, written Feb. 19, 2010,, accessed Nov. 22, 2011, AL)
But is this ethical? Brother Consolmango asked us to ponder whether such an asteroid harvest would drastically disrupt the economies of resource-exporting nations. What would happen to most of Africa? What would it do to the cost of iron ore? And what about refining and manufacturing? If we spend the money to harvest iron in space, why not outsource the other related processes as well? Imagine a future in which solar-powered robots toil in lunar or orbital factories."On the one hand, it's great," Brother Consolmango said. "You've now taken all of this dirty industry off the surface of the Earth. On the other hand, you've put a whole lot of people out of work. If you've got a robot doing the mining, why not another robot doing the manufacturing? And now you've just put all of China out of work. What are the ethical implications of this kind of major shift?"
----Average Joe is rating econ as poor
The Economic Collapse 11 (Uh Oh: 90 Percent of Americans Rate Economic Conditions in the U.S. As "Poor",, accessed Oct. 26, 2011, AL)
Uh oh – are we rapidly reaching another major economic tipping point? According to a new CNN/ORC International Poll, 90 percent of the American people believe that economic conditions in the United States are "poor". This represents a significant increase from when the same question was asked in June. Back then, 81 percent of the American people considered economic conditions to be "poor". To put this in perspective, only 11 percent of Americans rated economic conditions in the U.S. as "poor" back in January of 1999. The Federal Reserve and the Obama administration keep telling us that we are in the middle of an "economic recovery", but obviously what average Americans are experiencing on the street is a different story. Millions of families have been absolutely devastated by mass layoffs, heartless foreclosures or bad debts. All of the recent polls show that satisfaction with government is at an all-time low and anger at Wall Street and the financial community is rising to dangerous levels. In the United States today, the economy is the most important issue for most Americans. When you have 9 out of 10 Americans rating economic conditions as "poor", that is a very troubling sign
----Asteroid Mining causes Kessler Syndrome
Dutt 11 (Varun Dutt, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University,, written Oct. 10, 2011, accessed Nov. 28, 2011, AL)
According to a recent NASA report, the space around earth is home to over 135 million small pieces of junk; another 300,000 medium size pieces (between 1 and 10 centimeters); and over 22,000 significant pieces of trash (over 10 centimeters across). Over 30 per cent of the debris can be attributed to the US alone, reports NASA. In 2009, a US Iridium commercial satellite and an inoperative Russian satellite collided, spreading debris everywhere. A report by the US National Research Council (NRC) says that the problem of space debris is getting worse and has passed a "tipping point." According to the NRC report, we are currently reaching a critical capacity, known as the "Kessler Syndrome" (named after former head of NASA's Orbital Debris Program Office, Donald Kessler), in which debris collisions create more debris, which, in turn, is more likely to hit other objects.
----Space Treaty of 1967 outlaws mining asteroids
The Outer Space Treaty was considered by the Legal Subcommittee in 1966 and agreement was reached in the General Assembly in the same year (resolution 2222 (XXI). The Treaty was largely based on the Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, which had been adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 1962 (XVIII) in 1963, but added a few new provisions. The Treaty was opened for signature by the three depository Governments (the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America) in January 1967, and it entered into force in October 1967. The Outer Space Treaty provides the basic framework on international space law, including the following principles: the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind; outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States; outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means; States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner; the Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes; astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind; States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities; States shall be liable for damage caused
The 11 (, accessed 6/23/11)
7. Space a. the region beyond Earth's atmosphere occurring between celestial bodies of the universe. 
----Radiation causes health defects.
NASA08 ( accessed on Oct. 10, 2011, About Space Radiation, AL)
Ionizing radiation travels through living tissues, depositing energy that causes structural damage to DNA and alters many cellular processes. Current research sponsored by NASA seeks an understanding of DNA structural and functional changes caused by radiation, basic metabolic controls known to be modulated by radiation; genomic instability; changes to tissue structure; and "bystander" or non-targeted effects. NASA has identified the following health concerns as its highest research priorities. Risk of Radiation Carcinogenesis from Space Radiation – increased risk of cancers. Risk of Acute or Late Central Nervous System Effects from Space Radiation – changes in motor function and behavior or neurological disorders. Risk of Degenerative Tissue or Other Health Effects from Space Radiation – other degenerative tissue defects such as cataracts, circulatory diseases, and digestive diseases. Acute Radiation Risks from Space Radiation – prodromal risks, significant skin injury, or death from a major solar event or combination solar/galactic cosmic ray event that jeopardizes crew and mission survival.
----We're not going to run out of REMs anytime soon.
Fessler 11 (David Fessler, Vice-President for Strategic Business at LTX Corporation (REM business), written Sept. 10, 2011,, accessed Nov. 29, 2011, AL)
Andrew Bloodworth, from the British Geological Survey, suggests that: "While we won't run out of these metals any time soon, the risks to supply are mostly human." What he's talking about are things like nationalism, geopolitical risks, mining accidents, and the length of time it takes from the discovery of a resource and production levels of extraction.

----United States mines back in business
McKendrick 11 (Joe McKendrick, contributor to Smartplanet, written July 19, 2011,, accessed on Nov. 28, 2011, AL)
Molycorp, Inc. just announced that it has secured the final funds necessary for the capital build-out of its estimated $781 million expansion and modernization project at its flagship rare-earth oxides facility at Mountain Pass, California. The first phase of its mining project is expected to be operational by next year. So what? When completed, the mine will be the first time in a decade that rare-earth oxides are being produced in the United States, which once lead the world in such production. The alloys and magnets that are produced from the rare-earth metals are needed for a range of today's emerging high-tech and electronic systems and devices, from wind turbines to computer batteries to smartphones to hybrid and electric cars. Today, 95% of the rare-earth metals needed for today's technologies are extracted in China.


Before I make my counter arguments I would like to ask my opponent to stop plagiarizing his debate, please make your own arguments and not copy and past your reference sites as arguments. A reference site should be used to prove your own points.

Rebuttal 1.
Your reference site is not proving mining asteroids will put china out of work it is simply posing the question. Nowhere in your reference site, or the text you copied from it does it give concrete evidence that such a collapse in their economy would happen. Further more you did not copy the whole article. Conveniently you left out the end paragraph which states:
"So you could wind up with two human economies: A controlled, stable-state one on Earth, and a crazily free market one off world."

therefore the best answer to the question this article raises is: No! mining would not crumble jobs in China because there would be a controlled market on earth.

Rebuttal 2...
Again what you copied from this article does not offer any kind of evidence that mining in space has negative effects and I'm still trying to figure out what this has to do with our debate? While I agree that 9 out of 10 Americans economic rating as poor is a sad thing, It has absolutely nothing to do with this debate. And frankly I'm a little upset I had to waste my time to read this.

rebuttal 3..
Once again while copying this article you left out important details. Lets say for instance that only one person in the history of mankind has ever been hit by space debris. Oh and they lived to talk about it.
Also I would like to point out that since this debris is not harmful perhaps your aforementioned argument of "poor" Americans can get paid to find and recover this debris, turning it into a job rather then a problem

Rebuttal 4... The 1967 Space Treaty Does not outlaw mining asteroids, you lied about this and would invite you point out the specific text that outlaws this. The Whole treaty can be found here

Rebuttal 5....
Well congrats to molycorp. and congrats that you never lost your lust for copying articles.. However an article about a mine oping does not have any baring on weather asteroid mining should be outlawed.
Debate Round No. 2


The Pro didn't answer Topicality last round which means his whole last round didn't even count and with Topicality being the most important issue in debate being unanswered. The debate is over, but I'll still continue.
1st of all it isn't plagiarism it is cut cards by me, for debate. So if you charge me with plagiarism you're charging the whole NFL with it.
1. No if you get large amount of asteroids minerals and bring them to Earth to sell and cheaper to you put China out of work.
2. So your plan costs x and we're in debt. It would cause deficit spending. And if your planning to get your funding investors well people know the econ is down, people aren't going to be happy.
3. You're plan causes space debris making space uninhabitable to the point to where we can't even leave the atmosphere.
4. The Treaty states this: a. outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means
b. the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind
c. States shall be liable for damage caused (space debris)
5. I never said asteroid mining shouldn't be outlawed, just not done. The article states that U.S. has started asteroid mining production.
Points still standing
1. REMs won't run out any time soon
2. Topicality
3. He doesn't give the company he is doing this through, so we can assume it could be the Iraqi's which isn't U.S.


Topicality? You mean refuting your arguments was not on topic? By stating that every Reference site you got your information from did not give any credible evidence for your side of this debate? Or how about the fact that you did not use one single thought or idea of your own? Is that not plagiarizing when every sentence of your whole argument was that your own reference site?

Further more your your not debating my arguments your merely re-emphasizing yours when I have already de-bunked

and by your very own admission which I quote "5. I never said asteroid mining shouldn't be outlawed, just not done. The article states that U.S. has started asteroid mining production" You would have lost this debate seeing as how question at hand is "should asteroid mining be outlawed"

even furthermore, what you picked from the treaty further demonstrates my idea of a co-op mission to mine which by that treaty would not be illegal. (also it should be pointed out that even the part of the treated you picked does not say anything about mining it says one nation cannot claim any asteroid)

I have nothing to dispute this round because my opponent did not argue any of my points. Whilst I have already de-bunked all of his.

So I would like to take this round to invite my opponent to give me either One credible source that his statements are true. (which again I would like to point out in the earlier round I have proved he left out some very key details while he copied his text) Or concede in his arguments.
Debate Round No. 3


Topicaltity is a policy debate topic and is the most important and if you read the 1st round it is a policy debate with Topicality so if you don't answer it you're considered cheatin. Second of all I cut cards for debate if I loose to plagerism then you charge half a million people with it.
1. aye, but you said you were going solo and it is against the resolution.
My points still standing
1. REMs won't run out any time soon (which knocks out his Inherancy (the need to do it)
2. Topicality
3. Still didn't clearify how he was getting his money
4. dropped space debris
5. dropped China agruement


1. Rems wont run out any time soon... (the need to do it) ... my argument incase you missed it was safety we need to mine these substances to understand them better so we can protect ourselves In doomsday type situation

2. Topicaitity.... (no answer for this, your just being ignorant, and refusing to debate my arguments and repeating yours)

3. Sill wont clarify how he was getting his money.... I offered to suggestions in my first round which leads me to a conclusion you didn't even read my arguments

4. Dropped space debris... again which I quoted your source by saying that one person in the history of mankind was ever hit by space debris and it did not even kill them... therefore this is not a vaild threat, also I suggested an Idea to make jobs out of recovering this debris,

5. China.... As I also had pointed out already in the first round. your source does not give strong evidence that anything would happen, it merely poses the question IF it could happen.

My arguments are still standing and have yet to be refuted which are listed in the first round.

Off topic but I would like to say sorry for the readers of this debate, if you read everything thus far there has been no new information and my opponent refuses to debate my points. I have de-bunked his and this is just repeating himself over and over..
Debate Round No. 4


2. Pro agrees, therefore the debate has gone to my side
3. how come you didin't restate them
4. no has done it doesn't mean it can't happen. Look at the Nukes we got alot and can cause a nuclear war.
5. never refuted


My opponent not only broke his own rules by adding a new argument in the fifth round.
"4. no has done it doesn't mean it can't happen. Look at the Nukes we got allot and can cause a nuclear war."
but has also not refuted any other of my arguments which can only lead me to believe that con agrees with all my points and counter points I have made throughout this "debate"


The only conclusion I have made is I feel bad for the people that have to read this so called "debate." I have listed my arguments which have gone unchallenged until the fifth round which broke the rules. furthermore My opponent has not giving a shred of evidence that anything he said was true. I have pointed out my opponent left out vital information which contradicted his own arguments from his own reference site. I have also pointed out his miss information about the space treaty of 1967.

I do not think my opponent read any of my arguments. and As much as I like to keep these debates civil ... I would like to end by telling my opponent that I am not thankful for taking part of this "debate" you have done nothing but waste the time of me and the readers. And further more I will never debate you again because I Do not think you understand how a debate works

as for voting period, If anyone has even bothered to read this far down. I would invite you to vote pro,
Debate Round No. 5
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Steve221 6 years ago
I didint give a specific on what should be mined, because my argument was we do not know enough about these mines to protect ourselves in a doomsday situation.

my argument was to mine for A. samples both on the surface and in the core so we can get a much better understanding of what we are dealing with B. mine for any substance that can bennifite mankind
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
A debate is structured as a series of contentions or claims. contentions are statements with a subject, verb, and object. Sources are cited to provide evidence supporting the contentions. Something like, "Asteroids should be mined because (1) we are running out of rare earth elements on earth, (b) it will be economic to get them from asteroids, and (c) there wil be side benefits in the technology developed. The con case is something like Asteroid mining is impractical because (1) It's too expensive, (2) it's too dangerous, and (3) the legal rights to mine are unclear. Im just giving examples of simple declarative statements that might be used. The debate was actually largely incomprehensible.

This debate was a mess, with neither side making clear contentions. Pro was somewhat more coherent, but he didn't bother to even say what was to be mined. Con jumped in to concede that whatever it was it would be so cheap it would deprive Chinese miners of a livelihood. The rest of Con's miscellaneous references seemed unrelated to the topic. I gave the debate to Pro because Con conceded cost and made no other relevant arguments.
Posted by bbowhan 6 years ago
I believe that I will accept this debate if there are no other takers in 24 Hrs. Time: 06days20hours21minutes20second
Posted by ConservativePolitico 6 years ago
I'm doing the Mars one with him, check it out on one of our pages. I think its turned out pretty well.
Posted by CoolPapa 6 years ago
I would like to debate this with you but the title is about asteroid mining and you make no mention of it in your statement. Your statement is very general versus the specificity of you title. If you could clear things up I would be glad to debate this with you.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
Great topic. I'd like to debate the general topic as Pro, but not asteroid mining, which is nuts. I'd go Pro on "The US should establish a base on the moon." I'd want acceptance plus three rounds, assertion of character limits and standard debate conventions, and one or two month voting. My contentions would involve climate engineering, the exploration of the outer planets, and facilitating deep space cosmology. If someone would like to go Con on that, let me know via PM or otherwise.
Posted by lannan13 6 years ago
I'm against it
Posted by bbowhan 6 years ago
I will be happy to take the position For the U.S. developing space, if you are planning to be Against it... I am unsure as to how narrow you wish this argument to be. Just asteroid mining, or that and planetary exploration, or 'skies the limit'.
Posted by cameronl35 6 years ago
I would accept this but the resolution is not asteroid mining, it's the Policy topic.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Wow. Con did the same mistakes he usually does, but he provides a lot more sources than pro. Tie! Tie people. Tie!
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con should have won by showing that asteroid mining was not economic compared to terrestrial mining, but he claimed it was so much cheaper it would put Chinese mining out of business! Con cited data, but didn't connect the data to the subject of the debate. How is the treaty related tomining? How is mining in the asteroid belt relate Kessler syndrome? I couldn't guess. The debate was a mess, but Pro was more coherent. BTW, what is supposed to be recvered by mining? Iron? what?
Vote Placed by Steelerman6794 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con did not debate, but rather provided a collage of articles that were not his own words or ideas. I consider completely replacing your own words with someone else's to be plagiarism, so Con lost points for conduct. Both sides should also proofread their arguments before posting. Pro's S&G was marginally superior to Con's Pro effectively introduced HIS OWN arguments and HIS OWN rebuttals to Con's collection of copied/pasted articles. Pro therefore won on both substance and presentation
Vote Placed by ConservativePolitico 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:21 
Reasons for voting decision: A weak debate on both sides, no one ever really developed a point very deeply. That being said Con needs to work on his spelling and grammer but used way more sources than Pro.