this article appeared in the July 2, 1990 edition of the Hartford Advocate
Big Bucks in the Asteroid Belt
Is Michael Bowers a space case?
Some people look up in the sky and see stars. Some look up and see God. Michael Bowers looks up and sees dollar bills - lots of them.
The US should stop wasting its time on rinky-dink moon landings and think BIG for a change, this Hartford attorney says. Space stations, moon bases - in the quest for astral wealth, he envisions them all. "All this talk about Mars coming out of the White House," he says. "Mars is not the primary target."
Mars is just a necessary rest stop on the way to the real bucks in the universe, Bowers says: asteroids. There are over 40,000 asteroids up there, he points out. At least 25,000 are filled with valuable metals, including gold and silver, according to the team of scientific experts Bowers represents. With just a little focus and money, the US could mine these orbiting bankrolls, these space oysters people once called "vermin of the universe," and use the mountains of cash to end the national deficit, house the homeless and help the environment. His conservative estimate of the wealth skyward? $500 trillion.
Just to recap here: Is Bowers suggesting we lasso the little suckers and crack them open like walnuts?
Yup. "We could be dropping platinum into Fort Knox by 2000," he says.
Bowers even has a plan to finance the project: space bonds. Double E treasury bonds could be sold, with 12-14 percent interest backed by the platinum assets. In no time, Bowers says, the sales could raise the $200 billion or so needed to give the space program the financial boost it needs to really get off the ground.
With so much money at stake, why don't the Washington politicos seem more enamored of Bowers' idea? "they don't have any balls," Bowers says. "This requires big leadership people. Everyone in Washington is the problem. We have to bring the solutions."
Bowers is confident that if he can just prod the liberal, pablum-puking press and media into actually covering the issue, the American people will force wimpy politicians to take action. Like the Western frontier, he says, "People moved for macro-economic reasons."
That probably explains why Bowers blasted the editors of the New York Times in a letter this past January. Specifically, Bowers wanted to know why the Times, the nation's paper of record, refused to run an article on the wealth lying fallow in the asteroids.
"There isn't enough testosterone on Capitol Hill to float a microbe," he wrote. "It appears at this juncture that the dearth of testosterone is not on the Hill alone. The net effect of ignoring this wealth is to insure that the 'Big Lie' is perpetuated...that is that we in the US have 'thin wallets.' We don't have thin wallets. We have thin testes and thin cerebral cortexes in DC and elsewhere."
Clearly, Mr. Tact he is not. But no one could say he lacks commitment. Working out of Democratic headquarters in Hartford, he spends hours blitzing the phones, trying to convince the unenlightened that the sky's the limit - literally. When he has time, he practices a little law and works on hooking up Connecticut businesses with Poland.
In some ways his dedication is personal. "I'm not leaving my daughter a swill-pile of a planet," he explains, "and a $10 trillion debt."
"Some of us understand the concept of duty to the public," this former state policeman explains, adding, "but I don't want to get into that flag-waving shit. Stick to the economics."
Economics aside, Bowers advises thinking of space as a way to solve our environmental woes. Thanks to the greenhouse effect, "we could lose the entire southwest part of the West before these asses get their heads out of their fantails," he says. The same B Team that stands ready to mine asteroids could give the US a working model of the greenhouse effect in 90 days.
Now that, Bowers says, would be real progress. "What's [Senator Christopher] Dodd doing about the greenhouse effect? he says, "That little pudknocker. Child care."
Is James Cameron launching an asteroid mining company?