This post originaly appeared on Facebook in January but two new drawings have been added and a few typos corrected in this version.
Outer space is that portion of the universe that is farther from the center of the Earth than the highest reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere. It makes up more than 99.99999999999999% of the universe which we can physicaly perceive. If we were to divide up all of the physical space we can see or detect equally among all the inhabitants of the Earth the amount of space occupied by all humans alive today would make a minute and entirely insignificant portion of the share belonging to each person. However, most of that space is dark empty and has hardly any atomic particles in it and it is so far away that physicaly using those particles in any way in the next 100 generations can’t be reasonably imagined. But even our solar system alone would allow us to use a fraction nearly as big as that we started this argument with or maybe bigger. In the solar sytem most of the oxygen is in outer space, most of the carbon is in outer space, most of the hydrogen is in outer space, most of the helium is in outer space, most of the metals we call precious are almost cerianly there and the metals we need for highly specialized uses abound in outer space. It is almost certain that there is more liquid water under the ice of Jupiter’s moon Europa than there is on Earth. Nothing between the Sun and the orbit of Pluto is intrinsically beyond the reach of our own basic technology to reach, tag and return from roboticaly. Cost, law, design glitches and time are clearly identifiable obstacles. I said these things were not intrinsically impossbible by rearranging and refining existing technology. Given thse basic facts, I believe that an aggressive space policy is in the interest of all humans and of the Earth and all its species so long as it is mostly a wise policy or even largely a wise policy.
What inspires me to write this note today is the small concept group which I mentioned in my last Facebook note. I believe that the development of outer space is as important as anything else that confronts human beings in our age. The concept group is called Crater Cap Concept Colony Group. It is not the only group of people exploring the possibilities of space as a group and it is not the biggest such group either. However, it is certainly the only one that I have founded on Facebook. So that rates it an important mention in these notes.
Space colonization follows a chain going from observation, to exploration, to travel and exploration and then to stationing. After these things comes colonization. Space colonization has the chance to be the biggest change in human economy since the development of agriculture. The coming of agriculture was not an unmixed blessing but it was one of the most justifiable of all social changes in human history. Had humanity not become agricultural sooner or later things would have become much worse than they have gotten so far. Life today awaits at a crossroads as great as that of agriculture.The great works of irrigation for large scale agriculture created the mighty powers that ruled ancient China and Egypt and created societies that could pour weatlh into purchases that enabledother peoples to change from nomadic hunting or nomadic herding to a combination of nomadic herding and carrying trade goods. It enabled fisherfolk to increase their population by adding waterborne trade to their fishing economy. It enabled warrior bands to enter int0 long-term contracts with landholding kings and to earn a living partly from keeping the peace. Agriculture really made a different human world and remade much of the world as well. The best hunter-gatherers were actually richer, healthier and freer than the new farmers but in the end the choice of the species as a whole to emphasize agriculture was a choice vital to both survivial and any real chance of prosperity. I think that space colonization requires a simlar leap and offers similar sets of consequences. I don’t really expect to live to see a working colony on the Moon or Mars. However, as long as I do live I will apply some of my energy to that transition humanity must make towards becoming a space colonizing species. The Crater Cap Concept Colony is the model I think we should be pushing towards making a reality.
While astronomy has always been a discipline that was a significant teacher and leader into fields of knowledge for much of the human race’s journey into development — it must yield to the leadership of those who will build permanent and sustainable colonies. On the day when Humans have a few colonies on the moon with tens of thousands of residents each it will be very easy to make huge progress i astronomy. However, aiming only for a golden age of astronomy will not necessarily bring about lunar colonization. The larger possibility must find the rank and leadership in these areas.
Craters are distinct features which can be studied and which have common characteristics. They exist on the Earth, the Moon, Mars, asteroids, several moons of our solar systems planet and can be theorized to exist in or near many other objects around our sun or other stars. Capping a crater has an intrinsic economic and resource wisdom to it because one is using the enormous energy already expended in creating the bowl and only creating one side. Frequently one could achieve enormous benefeits in blicking our cosmic rays and radiation. All of these benefits are true even for asteroids. However, in larger round objects like the Moon and Mars it is very likely that one could use the gravity to create a highly functioning biospheric hemisphere. In terms familiar to some, one could make a terrarium including one or more aquaria. Whether or not there is air or liquid water on the heavenly body would have little to do with the success of the crater cap colony. People could live in these and that is the basis of our little concept group.
just a crude drawing of a robot for for the Mars early phase
Second drawing of MATCHES (Mars Access to Crater Habitat Exploration Ship)
Last of MATCHES drawings.
I also think that once there is a crater colony (or certainly a few crater colonies) thriving on the moon then one would have a basis for many industries. Things manufactured on the moon would be esily lifted and deployed to Mars colonization, to space ships, to Earth orbiting stations and to asteroid miners. One sixth gravity is economic magic that would make all solar system operations entirely different. Producing goods in . pace and dropping them to earth is intrincsically cheap. Thus carbon fuels highly refined could be lifted to the moon wherthe will be mixed with gasses made impure for colonies by various accidents and industries. These fuels would lift six times as much from the Moon as the would from the Earth and these fuels would not affect Earth’s air and climate when burned. Very precious things would be “downported” by Earth to maintain a balance. In the distant future components of landing craft returning to Earth would be built with precious metals needed by agencies and nations on Earth. This would create a flow of commerce to bring our population base into outer space. Within a few centuries perhaps a significant minority of cities and farms could be in outer space without any flash bang science that includes things we cannot imagine.
Once we have a couple of crater colonies on the moon we would need geosynchronous sattelite and another base perhaps at an L point between lunar and Terran gravity. These would be the places where all aging nuclear waepons were diposed of by either being loaded on spacecraft for second or third explosions or used in initial explosions to launch really massive spacecraft to move very fast on the way to other colonies and smaller robotes on their way to the stars.
None of this is pure fantasy. I think we should divide up most of the surface of the Moon and Mars among all of earth’s nations unequally, sell some as new national sites and keep a good portion as a permanent UN mandate. Failing to act wisely now either means we willl lose humanity’s greatest economic opportunity or else nd up with a really horrible policy made under more pressing conditions. I am not optimistic that we will make good choices. But I think our behavior in this century will determine the human future’s outlook for all of foreseeable human society.
I am committed to specific goals but I support all who are sincerely striving for a human future in space that is wise and sustainable. Good luck and God Bless to all of you out there. I am not a likely expert or member of the space community but I cherish this hope for an expanding future. Perhaps the amateurish perspective will cost me a few Facebbok friends. I lost two inj the first year and have lost four lately. However, I am grateful for the professionals on my list at the time of this writing.