Slow Doesn’t Mean Not Happening
These days space engineering projects are dismissed as silly futurism and totally extraneous to our lives, yet satellites are constantly being launched all over the world and their influence is critical in every sphere of our society. A decade or two from now that dismissive sentiment will remain exactly the same, but in addition to satellites there will be dozens of not hundreds of cheap automated asteroid mining projects.
Just as with satellites the benefits are huge and the technology is already well known and relatively easy. The Chinese have already casually begun a number of projects to redirect, control and capture asteroids.
I want fucking space elevators and L5 habitats and mass drivers on the moon and colonies on mars and spun up hollowed out asteroids with ecosystems, I want them yesterday and that’s just to start. But the reality is our society doesn’t have its act anywhere near together enough, those tiny government projects that have been allowed to exist are (surprise!) inefficient and we really have no way of knowing when or how materials scientists will finally get their act together on the shear strength of whatever nanotube concoction they end up with.