So a bunch of guys have announced they are working on the goal of asteroid mining. I've been saying for a long time that the first trillionaire will be created through commercial exploitation of space. For a while I've been thinking it's going to be Elon Musk, but there are other contenders for sure.
The guys backing this:
Are already super rich. This is exactly the kind of long term thinking that's needed to make this a reality.
You can do the research but the asteroid belt is filled with very expensive metals, water and other things that have tremendous value. Like one smallish asteroid will have more platinum than all of the platinum ever mined on earth in the history of mankind value. There is an entire planet out there that has been crushed up and sprinkled. We can only mine a small fraction of the earth itself because we just can't get at the interior. Imagine that level of resources made available to us.
Oh and by the way space based solar power built with these materials is IMHO completely viable and great long term strategy for powering earth. In my vision of the future we move as much dirty manufacturing as we can off earth and try to make it a nice liveable garden planet.
Bottom line, long term thinking like this is needed to solve out true long term sustainability problems.