The motivation for deep-space travel is shifting from discovery to economics. The past year has seen a flurry of proposals aimed at bringing celestial riches down to Earth. No doubt this will make a few billionaires even wealthier, but we all stand to gain: the mineral bounty and spin-off technologies could enrich us all.
But before the miners start firing up their rockets, we should pause for thought. At first glance, space mining seems to sidestep most environmental concerns: there is (probably!) no life on asteroids, and thus no habitats to trash. But its consequences-both here on Earth and in Space-merit careful consideration.Part of this is about principles. Some will argue that space’s “magnificent desolation” is not ours to despoil, just as they argue that our own planet’s poles should remain pristine. Others will suggest that glutting ourselves on space’s riches is not an acceptable alternative to developing more sustainable ways of earthly life.
History suggests that those will be hard lines to hold, and it may be difficult to persuade the public that such barren environments are worth preserving. After all, they exist in vast abundance, and even fewer people will experience them than have walked through Antarctica’s icy landscapes.
There’s also the emerging off-world economy to consider. The resources that are valuable in orbit and beyond may be very different to those we prize on Earth. Questions of their relationship have barely been broached-and the relevant legal and regulatory framework is fragmentary, to put it mildly.Space miners, like their earthly conterparts, are often reluctant to engage with such questions. One speaker at last week’s space-mining forum in Sydney, Australia, concluded with a plea that regulation should be avoided1. But miners have much to gain from a broad agreement on the for-profit exploitation of space. Without consensus, claims will be disputed, investments risky, and the gains made insecure. It is all of our long-term interest to seek one out.
42. In lines 6-10, the author of Passage 1 mentions several companies primarily to
(A) note the technological advances that make space mining possible.
(B) provide evidence of the growing interest in space mining.
(C) emphasize the large profits to be made from space mining.
(D) highlight the diverse ways to carry out space mining operations.
分析：文章 1 的作者列举了很多公司，例如“Planetary Resources of Washington”“Deep Space Industries of Virginia” 和“Golden Spike of Colorado”，主要目的是支持他的观点：很多对太空
43. The author of Passage 1 indicates that space mining could have which positive effect?
(A) It could yield mateirals important to Earth’e economy
(B) It could raise the value of some precious metals on Earth
(C) It could create unanticipated technological innovations.
(D) It could change scientists’ understanding of space resources.
分析：文章 1 的作者明确提到，太空开发的一个巨大好处是可以获得地球上的稀缺金属和要素, 例如金、铂等。这些稀缺金属对于经济发展是重要的。
44. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
(A) Lines 11-13(“Within …lanthanum”)
(B) Lines 14-16(“They…projects”)
(C) Line 17(“In this…commodity”)
(D) Lines 23-24(“Companies …machinery”)
分析：见 43 题解释。
45. As used in line 11,”demands” most nearly means
分析：原文中讲述到太空开发能够满足人们对于稀缺金属的需求(meet earthly demands for precious metals),因此这里的 demands 是需求、欲望的意思。
46. What function does the discussion of water in lines 20-23 serve in Passage 1?
(A) It continues an extended comparison that begins in the previous paragraph.
(B) It provides an unexpected answer to a question raised in the previous paragraph.
(C) It offers hypothetical examples supporting a claim made in the previous paragraph.
(D) It examines possible outcomes of a proposal put forth in the previous paragraph
分析：文章 17 行提到从太空中开采出的水资源是特别有价值的。20-23 行通过叙述太空水资源可以怎样被有效利用(for drinking or as a radiation shield)来“支持太空水资源有价值”这一观点。
47. The central claim of Passage 2 is that space mining has positive potential but
(A) it will end up encouraging humanity’s reckless treatment of the environment.
(B) its effect should be thoughtfully considered before it becomes a reality.
(C) such potential may not include replenishing key resources that are disappearing on Earth.
(D) experts disagree about the commercial viability of the discoveries it could yield.
分析：作者在文章2 中反复提到：太空开发应该三思而后行(But before the miners start firing up their rockets, we should pause for thought.)