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Companies and Nasa are going to mine Earth's Moon:

Are exponential improvements in strip-mining impossible then? (I would think so, but curious)

Raven Wilder
If technology advances to the point where we can strip mine enough from the moon to have disastrous results, it will have probably advanced to the point where we can just strip mine Mars instead.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 78 Ira The Squire, Sun, 16th Feb '14 8:58:26 PM from No idea. Measuring speed
Phyrexian Dalek
You would still be talking about increasing efficiency by millions, so you'll need to be able consistently to double the rate at least every five years to even have a chance of reaching that kind of scale within 100 years. And then afterwards, assuming that the tech plateaus it will take another 100 years to mine 1% more of the moon. While computing power is more impressive that that (Moore's Law says that the number of transistors is doubling every two years) I highly doubt that strip-mining technology can get to that kind of exponential growth.

And also, let's not forget there's no point in digging that much stuff out if nobody wants it, so the demand for it will have to double every five years as well. And that's to reach it in 100 years.

edited 16th Feb '14 9:03:01 PM by IraTheSquire

 79 Zendervai, Sun, 16th Feb '14 9:00:22 PM from North Toronto Relationship Status: Waiting for Prince Charming
Eccentric Dreamer
Yeah, even the demand for oil doesn't go up anywhere near that fast, and we use oil for a bunch of things. And it's basically guaranteed that any effort in that direction will create technologies we can use on Earth to make things more efficient or cleaner. Any technology used on the moon will have to be completely self-contained, as internal combustion in a vacuum isn't really the most brilliant idea.

And basically every development in space travel and technology has made things we use on Earth as a side effect.

edited 16th Feb '14 9:01:55 PM by Zendervai

Everyone is a little bit insane. It makes the world so much more interesting!
 80 Ira The Squire, Sun, 16th Feb '14 9:10:25 PM from No idea. Measuring speed
Phyrexian Dalek
Even the PRC, who has the fastest growth in coal production in the world, only manages to triple the production in 10 years, and showing signs of slowing. Doubling every 5 years indefinitely for 100 years, and then maintain that for another 100 years to take around 1% of moon's whole mass? Highly unlikely.

edited 16th Feb '14 9:11:58 PM by IraTheSquire

 81 Meklar, Mon, 17th Feb '14 12:16:32 AM from Milky Way Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
Are exponential improvements in strip-mining impossible then? (I would think so, but curious)
Perhaps, but what are you going to do with all that stuff? There's a limited amount of material we can even use at the moment, especially on the Moon. Even if you were looking for something present in extremely sparse amounts, it would probably be cheaper just to synthesize it using nuclear reactions.

 82 Best Of, Mon, 17th Feb '14 12:28:44 AM from Finland Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC!
Eventually we'll start building things in space, and if we can get some (most) of the resources somewhere we won't need to beat Earth's gravity to use them we're winning. There will be a time when we build machines in space, from material mined in space.
Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
 83 demarquis, Mon, 17th Feb '14 5:12:32 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Well, if it's going to take that long, we better get started. The Earth is not going to de-stabilize itself.
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