From: Michael Egan
Location: West Yorkshire, GB
What do you see as the best strategy for humanity's dispersal across the Solar System? I'm delighted with the amounts of data coming in from the various Mars probes, etc, but shouldn't the asteroids - particularly the near-Earth ones - become our focus? Humanity has gone forth and multiplied, and now there's little room and diminishing resources left on poor old Mother Earth. The NEAs are easier to reach - aren't they...?
From: Greg Bear
Perhaps, but Earth's resources are still abundant enough and cheap enough that mining asteroids is unlikely to be profitable for the immediate future--unless, of course, we find one filled with rare earths. And getting the ore from an asteroid--or even the refined metal--down to the ground would be a formidable challenge, security-wise. One man's treasure becomes another man's weapon of choice!
Have to say that finding a solid gold asteroid would likely deeply upset the gold-standard folks!