The Instigator
lannan13
Pro (for)
Winning
16 Points
The Contender
carriead20
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

Resolved: The United States Federal Government should mine asteroids.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
lannan13
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/4/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 712 times Debate No: 69416
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (4)

 

lannan13

Pro

I would like to thank Carriead20 for helping me with my current event project for my astronomy class. This debate shall be over wheather or not the US federal government should mine asteroids.

Rules
First Round is acceptance and definitions.
Second Round is for Contentions, no rebuttles.
Third Round is for Rebuttles.
Forth Round is for Rebuttles and Conclusions. (No new arguments)
No semantics

Should- Used to express obligation or duty (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)
Mine- a pit or tunnel from which minerals (such as coal, gold, diamonds, etc.) are taken (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)
Asteroids- any of the small rocky celestial bodies found especially between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)
carriead20

Con

Thanks for sending this challenge Lannan! I appreciate it.

Rules.
I accept these rules.

Definitions
I also accept these definitions and have no new ones to add.

I accept this debate and the rules. Both me and my opponent shall share the BoP.

I will be arguing that the United States Federal Government should not mine asteroids.

Good luck Lannan.
Debate Round No. 1
lannan13

Pro

Contention 1: Funding

The US governmental funding for asteroid mining is key, the International Space Study has found that with the current technology the US federal government must fund asteroid mining as they have found that the original investment period for the ROI takes to long for investors to see benefits. Thus the Private sector would lose interests. [1] Also at this stage in the game it is crucial that the US federal government funds asteroid mining, because throughout history the Federal government has funded new projects in the early stage in order to get private companies and competition against each other's going. Just look at the Panama Canal. The US will be able to get an early advantage over our foreign competitors in technology, raw materials, and new science personal.

We all know that the technology exists, but all we need now is a large sum of government funds to get the program off the ground. [2]

The Federal Government needs to be involved in the early stages of new projects to help get them going and to show that doing such a project is worth it. I turn to my example of the Rail Roads and the Panama Canal the Federal Government passed a bill in 1862 to help rail roads get a huge kick start and helped them get involved. [3] This lead to the many rail roads popping up everywhere and after the government started breaking up monopolies they helped make riding the Rail affordable. As for the Panama Canal, it was a gold mine. it meant cheaper shipping and receiving goods faster. The thing was that no one wanted to do it due to the malaria in the region (just ask the French) and because the Federal Government stepped in there the project got completed and good became cheaper. [4]

Private companies do not want to chance it yet, because private investors don't want to wait too long as they think that they might not see a return on investments. In order to compensate the time that it takes. [5] So we can see that the United States Federal Government must kick-off the project here. NASA is a research and development organization so their production of the technology and oversite is very important as they are our nation's space administration and this is their field of expertise.

The costs of mining on Earth are constantly rising and are soon expected to fall bellow the cost of mining asteroids. The International Space Developement Confrence has found that recovery and payback from current Earth mining is risky and we cannot expect full payback, but from the costs of mining in space are already starting to rival that of mining here on Earth. [18] Harvard agrees with this evidence as they find that mining in space will become more cost efficent and we will get a greater payback and save more money then mining here on Earth. [19]

Contention 2: Why we need it

95% of the world's REM (Rare Earth Metals) supply belongs to China. China is starting to crack down on REM exports to the US leading to almost chaos. [6] You may think no big deal, but if it goes any further it will lead to US crackdown on China and with the US trying to put leverage on the US China will most likely do the same leading to an economic down of the US and then China then the world. Why is this you may ask? It is the fact that the US is entirely reliant on China and the fact that China is also too reliant on the US if one falls they both do. We currently use Rare Earth Elements to make electronics from the cell phone you have and your TV to military satellites. We get a lot of our Green technology from them to like pollution controls, LED light bulbs, and Hybrid cars. [7]

Prices of REMs have increased by well over 100%. China, who owns 95% of the world's REMs supply has begun to clamp down on the exports due to new environmental regulations and their new crack downs on illegal mining laws. There will be a 48% increase of demand of REMs by next year and the shortages of some of these key metals are not helping the prices. [8]Others show demands are expected to rise by 60% by next year due to increased demands in electronics and hybrid cars. China is shockingly going to start seeing some supply shortages themselves and will either have no choice to hike prices or stop exporting all-in-all. [9]

Here's a fun fact of the day, did you know that the diamond mined in South Africa is practically worthless. The only reason that it is worth so much is that South Africa withholds a lot of their diamonds from the global market to increase their value. Much like OPEC and how much oil that they decide to export a year. This is what the US would do. The US would release small amounts onto the Global Market to create a profit and drive down US national debt. The US would keep the rest in the US where they would be made into different things or just stay in warehouses like South African Diamonds. Remind you that once we start this project that we will increase jobs by the thousands and create an industry worth over a trillion dollars which beats the US marine time industry. [10] and [11]

Rare Earth Element Production

If we observe the above graph we can see tha China pratically owns the monopoly on the Global trade market as I showed earlier. It was caused by the Chinese beginning to sell REMs at a cheeper price than that of what the US was selling them for. My opponent then goes to bring up reserves and though the US does indeed have the numbers that my opponent has mentioned China is traveling the world buying up large reserves in other nations. In 2009, the Chinese Non-Ferrous Metal Mining Company bought up large portions of REM rich land in Australia and other key mining facilities in Africa. This is for them to gain conrol and a full monopoly on the global market. [17] My opponent has dropped my arguments that I have made last round stating that it's cheeper to mine asteroids then it is to mine on Earth. This is key, because with the asteroid mining to be cheaper then mining on Earth it is key that we get a jump start before other nations that way the United States can easily take hold of the new market.


Contention 3: China War

We all know that REM are what we use in batteries, cell phones, and even military technology. So it is key that the wealth gets spread around. Since China is hoarding them the US could try to force China to give them up. This is very likely to happen since nation's in the past of done this type of thing. Look at Japan when they attack the US due to the US oil embargo on them. This will lead to a possible WW3 and this scenario is likely to happen because once you run out of REMs then you're out. [12] This is a war that will hurt many nation and has a potential to go nuclear and the world will likely end due to this episode. (“The Asian Ascent: Opportunity for Peace or Precondition for War?,” International Studies Perspectives, Volume 7, Issue 1, Pages 36-42)Contention 3: Economic pay back!It's $195 billion per asteroid! [13] Think about the trade of it'll take $2.7 billion to mine while the profit is $195 billion. With this kind of profit the US will be able to finally start to pay off it's debts which will increase trade interest with the US from other nations.

China has indeed stopped exporting REMs to Japan ("The new resource wars: what if china stops exporting rare elements?") Now imagine if China did that to the US. This would cause an inevitable resource war with China since, as I stated already, China owns almost all of the world's REMs. This would be terrible on the Global Market as two Trade Titans have a trade war over REMS. International Relations experts have warned against this stating that it would no doubtfully cause a War. We do not need to be reminded of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff.

Contention 4: US Deficit

The value of the US dollar is plummeting as the the US debt increases. [15]With the asteroid mining program we will be able to pay off our debt. How's that you may ask? It's very simple, the average asteroid holds over $100 billion in REMs. [16] When we subtract the cost of $2.6 billion to mine it, lets round it up to $10 billion for transportation and refining the ore We can see that we can make a $90 billion profit from an average asteroid. US debt will be gone soon enough as the US will become the OPEC of Rare Earth Metals.

carriead20

Con

carriead20 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
lannan13

Pro

All points extended.
carriead20

Con

Due to my internet connection issues and personal things that have come up I highly doubt I will be able to continue with this debate. Sorry for wasting you time Lannan, I didn't see these issues coming up.
Debate Round No. 3
lannan13

Pro

It is okay. I do wish to the voters that they do not deduct conduct from my opponent and just simply vote on the debate as in. Please and Thank you.

Vote Pro.
carriead20

Con

Thanks for speeding it along.

Vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by lannan13 1 year ago
lannan13
1. (https://isulibrary.isunet.edu...)
2. (http://www.scienceclarified.com...)
3. (http://www.ourdocuments.gov...)
4. (http://www.infoplease.com...)
5. International Space University: Technologies, Advancement, and Roadmap
6. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk...)
7. (http://www.business-standard.com...)
8. (http://www.business-standard.com...)
9. REE.Price.an.Market.Update.June.2011.pdf
10. (http://www.space.com...)
11. (http://blog.chron.com...)
12. (http://www.roitov.com...)
13. (http://www.space.com...)
15. (http://useconomy.about.com...)
16. (http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com...)
17. (http://geology.com...)
18. (http://geology.com...)
19. (2005 INTERNATIONAL SPACE DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE National Space Society, Washington, DC, May 19"22, 2005 Profitably Exploiting Near-Earth Object Resources
Charles L. Gerlach Gerlach Space Systems LLC )
Posted by carriead20 1 year ago
carriead20
Okay.
Posted by lannan13 1 year ago
lannan13
I'll be posting my sources in the comments section.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Paleophyte 1 year ago
Paleophyte
lannan13carriead20Tied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Debate conceded by Con
Vote Placed by Ragnar 1 year ago
Ragnar
lannan13carriead20Tied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by Commondebator 1 year ago
Commondebator
lannan13carriead20Tied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: A respectful concession, thats why Im giving conduct to con.
Vote Placed by The-Voice-of-Truth 1 year ago
The-Voice-of-Truth
lannan13carriead20Tied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture and Concession. Pro was the only one to give arguments. Both had good conduct (no insulting, concession by Con, etc.), and the spelling and grammar from both sides is equivalent (actually perfect). The only sources used were by Pro, and that was to define terms within the debate. Therefore, the "reliable sources" vote will go to Pro.