The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

This House Believes that we should substantially increase governmental funding into asteroid mining.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/23/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,164 times Debate No: 35730
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




This is a debate in the Championship between Stephen_Hawkins. Here is the link for more information Now before we get to this great debate we must look at a few rules to make sure that we ensure what is going on here.

No trolling.
No Forfeiture.
Try to keep swearing to a minimum.
1st round is acceptance and definitions as seen fit by the debators.


Astriod- small body from 480 miles to .5 miles in diameter.

Substantially- an ample or conciderable amount.



I accept, as long as the plans for the "substantially increased governmental funding" is stated in R2, in order to clarify the extent of the substantial funding and its nature.
Debate Round No. 1


"Substantially increase government funding."

The US federal government will reallocate $10 billion dollars inorder to mine astriods. It costs $2.6 to mine the actuall astriod, but the rest is to figure the cost refining the ore and in case something goes wrong. per US law if NASA doesn't use this money it gets taken away. So we wouldn't be wasting any money.

The need and why we need it.

95% of the world's REM supply belongs to China. China is starting to crack down on REM exports to the US leading to almost chaos. ( You may think no big deal, but if it goes any futher 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 to reliant on the US if one falls they both do.

2nd senerio.

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 emargo on them. This will lead to a possible WW3 and this senerio is likely to happen because once you run out of REMs then you're out. is a war that will hurt many nation and has a potention 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)

Economic pay back!

It's $150 billion per astriod! let's think about the trade of it'll take $2.7 billion to mine while the profit is $150 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.


Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Today, I hope to explain to you why the additional subsidies and funding towards the pipe dream of asteroid mining is unjust, and something we should be strongly opposed. My opponent affirms the aid by the government to prop up industry in this market sector with the aim of simply creating profit, rather than any interest in the equity of mining. I will be rebutting this claim of government-led investment over a free market judging our investments into space. I also note that this debate is not geography-specific, and therefore all mentions of the United States and United States law ought to be disregarded as irrelevant, for brevity’s sake, or I shall simply point out that the majority of nations don’t have ten billion dollars to spend, nor have any regulation in place along the lines that my opponent suggested exists.

What would ten billion dollars give us?

My opponent argues for the use of the money to follow the system proposed in his link[1]. However, his link does not state that this is the cost of mining the asteroid. Instead, it shows the cost of moving an asteroid from Near planetary orbit to high lunar orbit, or near-moon orbit. To use the funding is a waste of money, and while it may or may not be true that “Placing a 500-ton asteroid in high lunar orbit would provide a unique, meaningful and affordable destination for astronaut crews in the next decade”[2], it is in no way an economically intelligent idea. Moreover, how much of the 500-ton asteroid would we be able to mine per visit? Current best estimates favour David Gump’s Firefly mission, which states it can mine between 25-65 kg of an asteroid.[3] The asteroids we are even able to mine are mostly to be type-S asteroids which have roughly 10% metal, which the largest share of that is to be nickel and iron. So on our best day, we’d be getting a couple kilos of a pretty valueless amount of metal. In reality (as the Dragonfly mission is still hypothetical), the closest actual launch we have was the seven year Hayabusa mission, which gained us only 1500 grains of rock from asteroid mining.[4] This is less than the mass of a single skittle worth of rock. So in reality we expect an absolutely miniscule payoff from throwing billions and billions blindly at the utopian science-fiction ideal of asteroid mining.

Additional considerations – Who owns an asteroid?

We have a multitude of extra considerations to take into account. One of which is simply taxation. Corporations of course must pay tax in a modern society – this is how the world works, and the way of the world. To dodge tax gives one an unfair and unjust advantage. However, is it not true that space corporations would be able to do this? Setting aside the science fiction for a moment, it is illegal for any nation to claim ownership to land on the moon or any other celestial body[5]. However, to collect taxes one needs to be able to own the land you’re on. A government would not be able to tax an extraterrestrial company any more than the British government can tax a Vietnamese bike shop. “As far as law is concerned, there’s nothing inherently in the space treaties that prohibits this [mining] … But there are a heck of a lot of unanswered questions,” to quote Henry Hertzfeld professor of Space law (which is a thing)[6]. Corporations would be able to claim to be based on an asteroid or similar and avoid taxation. “Unless the U. S. manages to impose jurisdiction on an asteroid, there will be no way that the U. S. government can claim that the operation is domestic and subject to corporate tax. This may be another attraction for the company: asteroid mining is the ultimate offshore site. Nobody has given a lot of thought to how all this will be dealt with from a legal and governmental angle. And the current tight coupling between corporations and the U. S. government probably ensures that whatever regulations are imposed will generally be favorable to the corporations.”[7]

Additional Considerations – The 1%

Rich investors from rich companies living in rich countries will benefit first and foremost—asteroids may add “tens of billions” of dollars to the global GDP as Planetary Resources claims, but guess where most of that is going? The same place where profits from the sale of commodities have gone since the dawn of human civilization - the pockets of the 1%. However, this market will be inaccessible to those without the huge funding needed to benefit. This marketplace will give unheard of profits to those who are willing to lie and cheat and most importantly those who are born with the funding to pursue such frivolity, and therefore will create astronomical inequality and negative consequences (pun not intended). It will not benefit the people in any meaningful way, but instead the industry would be led by governments, funded by us taking all the risks, and then the richest of other nations learning from our mistakes will swoop in and take the gold out from under us. Instead of this breaking a strangehold of resource ownership, it will instead tighten it. REM metals are already being broken in their control by nations such as Japan and others[8], but the opening of more resources will allow other nations to instead get a stronger grip over these resources, not weaken them.

Additional Considerations – The Hawking Hypothesis

Remember what Stephen Hawking said about why we should probably be afraid of any aliens we might meet out there? only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach."

Sound familiar? We are becoming Hawking’s aliens. Not content with the finite supply of materials on our planet, we’re searching out new celestial bodies to pillage. We are expanding the capitalist horizon into space, we are pushing the profit-motive beyond orbit.[9]


To conclude, we have many reasons to oppose the resolution – ignoring the inefficiency of the economic side of the debate, where we simply won’t earn money from such a foolhardy enterprise, the ethical considerations are so massively damning that asteroid mining will become devastating. As such, I urge a vote against the resolution not simply on the economic grounds, but for the ethical benefit of all. Thank you.

Debate Round No. 2


lannan13 forfeited this round.


Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 3


Sorry for the ruined debate. Please vote for Con. I'm sorry for the forfeit but I have to juggle summer homework, work, and ROTC. I hope we can debate again sometime soon.


Thank you, and vote CON.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
I'll say he chose the debate resolution.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: ff, but really, you guys couldn't decide on a more even-handed resolution? lol