The profitability of space is not in question here. Space can be quite profitable once a company gets past the huge overhead that it would cost to get out there. Some companies like Boeing, manufactures of aircraft, have expressed an interest in space travel. There is an interest in using space as a tourist attraction by some companies. Other companies have seen value in mining for useful metals on the moon. Still others speculate that they could even mine the very rocks that I talk about in my story by putting them in orbit around the moon as they fly by us.
In short, there is no excuse for keeping private concerns out of space. The only thing that is stopping it currently is an agreement with the UN to keep space for science and the charter of NASA. I think your faith in the human spirit is a bit naive. Since the dawn of the space travel interest in it has only dropped rapidly. Very few entrepreneurial people are thinking in terms of anything about space. My thesis is simple, we cannot afford to wait around for the human spirit to one day decide that its worth while to tell the government to stop baring private space concerns. It has to be done soon because each passing year is yet another roll of the dice.
As to your idea about the weapons platform orbiting the planet. That is only one of the many ideas that have been brought up about how to defend earth from the rocks. A few more include crazy laser schemes, Rocket boosters attached by remote to stop the rock or deflect it, etc. Depending upon the composition of the rock we’re shooting; blowing up the rock may not be the best or most effective answer anyways.
Your comments on the construction people are ludicrous to me. Anyone who realizes exactly what an asteroid strike means for the surface of this planet would also realize that their construction company would not likely be able to make any money after the strike.
1. Presuming a strike the size of 1997XF11
2. Presuming minimal casualties a single strike in the Pacific Ocean with no break up at impact.
3. All of the western sea board of North America and south America, The eastern sea board of Asia, every pacific island, Australia, the eastern coast of India and the eastern coast of Africa would be hit with disastrous tidal waves killing 75% of the people who live in those areas.
4. For thousands of miles from the strike site sea bottom mud and salt water would be tossed into the atmosphere and millions of gallons of seawater boiled away instantly causing a steam rise that would break the atmosphere and be visible shooting into space.
5. Nearly ever active and inactive fault on the planet would see activity ranging from 5-9 depending on your position on the planet.
6. Volcanoes would become active depending on their location spewing tons of ash into the sky.
7. The Caldara in Yellowstone national park may erupt resulting in destruction of the northern Midwest and parts of Canada. Loss of hundreds of crops and farms. Possible contamination of the great lakes by falling ash.
8. As those tidal waves I spoke of earlier wash through the Oceans. It will cause rises in the Atlantic that would cause floods in areas like Florida, new Orleans, and other low land places, Washington DC and NYC all qualify for floods. These tidal waves would also knock loose hundreds of tons of ice from the polar ice caps causing the ocean to rise further as they melted.
9. All that wonderful steam would coalesce into nightmare hurricanes and storms that would wash across the face of the planet drenching most of the earths crops not in storage in ash and salt and water. Effectively killing most of mans available food. The rains would last 6 months to a year in some locations.
10. Anyone who survived the first week would be looting and killing each other in the second week. The economy would cease to exist. Governments where they did exist would be martial law or gang rule. Every major city would be a blood bath of survivors scrambling for supplies, looting by right of the gun and sword.
11. So, no business concern with any ability to project the realistic long-term consequences of an asteroid strike would be interested in letting it hit. Why is this? Because after the strike the rules of economics would be inescapable. Due to scarcity of resources, and the laws of supply and demand. 99% of the people would be unable to afford any of the services a construction company would be able to provide, presuming they could.
12. The true value of the building materials, gasoline, working trucks, and other equipment would be indeterminably invaluable.
13. But one thing, in time the laws the supply and demand would adjust those prices down to a level that would reflect the buying power of the economy. This would probably not be for a very long time though and by then that company would be building dirt huts not skyscrapers and people would be paying which chickens and goats, not the trillions of dollars you mentioned.
Eric J. Tower