Upon A Midnight Clear
Ian Thomas Healy
Copyright 2011 Ian Thomas Healy
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Cover design by Ian Thomas Healy
Rob Stabler squeezed back into the cramped airlock, exhausted and running low on O2. Fifteen hours in the 'suit and nothing but aching joints and negative sample tubes to show for it.
Asteroid mining was simply impractical. Unlike in the old Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century movies, the Asteroid Belt wasn't a raging torrent of whirling, spinning boulders. A miner could burn his drive for days before he'd come across a piece of rock of any significant size, and what he found was likely to be carbonaceous or stony and therefore useless for all modern purposes. Why should he bother to range out so far from the Inner System in search of the rare mother lode of metal when corporations were strip-mining on the Moon? Or on Io and Titan, quenching the Outer System's thirst for metals and organics? It was expensive and wasteful of resources to try to exploit what few resources were available in the otherwise-empty orbital slot between Jupiter and Mars.