Tag Archives: outer space

The Long Road: Unresolved and Continuous Stories

For anyone who can still buy a ticket this is the day of the Move Beyond Tour with Derek and Julianne Hough going to New Orleans. I had hoped to get there myself  — although it was never likely. However I think it will be a good event at the Saenger for those who can. I spent my morning at a rosary and funeral for a distant cousin — Agnes Motty. Her brother James and I were pretty close friends decades ago and I was very happy to see him again after not seeing him for decades. However, I did not monopolize him on his return trip to the homeland he does not visit that much. James was a very accomplished artist when I knew him best and says that is not much a part of the life he lives now. His sister Agnes I barely knew and there were a few of his brothers I knew just a bit mostly Louis. But it was clear the long held love they had for the sister who never married was a powerful bond among them as they gathered for the funeral.

This is being typed in part on May 18, 2017 which is my sister Sarah’s birthday. While I am a lot older than Sarah she is next in age to me among my full siblings and living siblings. Also, I have known her much longer than I knew my deceased half-brother Paul. We still spend a decent amount of time together and I called her today  she had just returned from a trip celebrating her oldest daughter Alyse graduating from Mount Saint Mary University in Maryland with many honors. Sarah and I already celebrated her birthday a bit along with an early Mothers Day and me entrusting her with a graduation gift for Alyse which she delivered in Maryland we did that over a coffee and play session we often share with her children at McDonald’s in Abbeville on Mondays. Sarah is a person who exists mostly and largely with little reference to me she has issues and concerns and autonomy that have little to do with me. But she is also one of the great long stories of my life — not to make her feel older than she is.

 

Part of this post was typed on Mothers Day, May 14, 2017 with the view to it appearing whenever it appears.  My own mother was with my Dad and others sort of separately but also with Sarah on a trip principally to visit with others in the family who are attending her granddaughter (my niece)’s graduation from Mount Saint Mary University.  It turns out that much of the family were able to gather for that event. I was happy to celbrate Mothers Day early on May 6, 2017 with most of my siblings and my mother. For all of us our relationship with our mother is a truly primal on and for me as for many it is a very long running one as well.  I was not on this trip but we have been on many together — my mother and I. The picture below is of my parents and my sister Susanna sharing a meal in the oldest building in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania which was built during the end of the colonial and the start of the revolutionary period in American history. History which has long been a pursuit of mine constantly reminds us of a long set of ties to things which themselves have been around for a long time. This is the theme of this post.Family in Gettysgurg

This month I have stayed abreast of space news and watched with interest and increasing distance the discussions on the future of space exploration in which I was once a more active participant.  Time has not been kind to that involvement so far but it is an interest which has been on of the long-running interests in my life so far.

The truth is the theme of continuity has been one that has been on my mind this week, the way we all attempt to carry on in various ways. I am carrying on less successfully every year by many measures but I still hold out hope for an uptick in some trend or another. I still hope for a better life trajectory than I see before me.

 

That brings me back to my original concept for this post today. Although Julianne Hough is young I have been her fan for a long time.  I admire the fact that she had a long career in the performing arts before I became aware of her when she was still a teenager. I suppose she is just one of a lot of possible famous and nice looking people that one could take an interest in but there is more to it than that. There is a kind of message in her life that contrasts with a lot of what I do not like in the world I live in.
Julianne Hough is very attractive, but she also works hard at being human. That is not all I could say but it is a start. I would have liked to see her tour for various reasons and maybe one day I will but it is not today.

Love is a strange thing and so is family and so is friendship. In fact sex in all its permutations of attraction and disillusion is a bit odd at times as well. The handful of very famous beautiful young women who get the kind of attention Julianne Hough gets also have real lives to live and she is rooted enough to maintain a close relationship with her family. Not only doing this show with her brother but that is most notable.  Family love reminds us all that life is largely about the long run.

So here’s the deal…. I spent a little time with James mourning his sister, I called my  sister to wish her a happy birthday and I missed seeing Julianne perform with her brother. But I was aware today that each day one has to try to make life connect to the day and people who were there in the past and will be there in the future.  I also tried to trust in God for some things to work out in plans I make. But I know nothing has worked out in a big way in many years. Small successes are getting harder to find — but the show must go on. Not just for those of us in show business but for all us who live this life on any kind of stage. And we all do live out a kind of performance for those who observe our lives.

I am aware of many an issue, as are we all…

They are debating the budget now. We do not have a metal standard. We do not balance our budgets. We are the world’s largest debtor nation.

There are programs being cut for the poor and for the defense establishment. There are investments being cut but we are still completely out of control. Ironicaly, the medical establishment is in my opinion responsible for many of the worst problems in the United States and I have voted for Dr. Charles Boustany every time he has run when I was around to vote largely because he is a physician. Mycorrespondence with him about the budget has been  limited to an issue many would find hard to justify in these times. But I do not find it so…

Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D.
Representative Dr. Boustany,
Thank you for your timely response of quality. Because in my Original e-mail I had indicated that I was passing on copies of the correspondence I will take the liberty of doing the same thing with your response.
Best wishes in your efforts,
FWSIII
Dear Frank:

Thank you for contacting me regarding President Obama’s proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget for NASA.  It is good to hear from you.

There is no question that NASA and the breakthroughs that have occurred within have made America a leader in science and technology.  As a heart surgeon, I have personally experienced the real world value of equipment such as specialized monitors, x-rays and other medical devices, the basics of which were developed from the hard work and innovation of NASA employees.  While there will always be a place for the government’s role in creating and developing innovative technology that is far too capital intensive and risky for the private sector, there is also a time and place to hand over the hard work of our government scientists and allow the private sector to make the leaps and bounds that have proven true in the past.

Right now our country is facing a budget deficit that has spun out of control in the last few years and tough choices are ahead of us.  It’s important to note that the President’s budget is only a blueprint and represents his spending priorities.  Congress will ultimately decide funding levels for specific programs through the legislative process.  I appreciate your input.  Be assured I’ll remember your strong support for NASA as I discuss the FY12 budget with House leaders and as Congress considers any related legislation. 

Again, thank you for contacting me. 

Sincerely,

Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D.
Member of Congress
——————————-

I am not including my original missive here, but much of its substance is suggested in his response.


From: “Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D.” BLANKED OUT@mail.house.gov>
To: frank64summers3@yahoo.com
Sent: Mon, February 14, 2011 10:39:57 AM
Subject: A Response from Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D.

 

What about that water on the Moon?

Today NASA held a press conference revealing that by combining calibration sightings of a comet watcher called Deep Impact and the data aquired by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper riding a hundred kilometer orbit over the moon on the Chandrayan India based lunar mission. I watched the press conference on TV and am basing this note on what I remember from that conference without using any more sources. Somewhere on the site www.nasa.gov one can doubltless get the most up to date data. Probably some of it will correct errors in my summary below.

A Frank Summary of Moon Water Issue

1. The general surface of the Moon remains drier than any Earthly desert.

2. There is water difuse and spread over the whole surface of the moon in rough terms. There is is a chaotic and broad pattern of water distribution.

3. There is a broad distribution of hydroxyl as well which is a different combination of hydrogen and water.

4. There is evidence in ejecta that hydroxyl and possibly subsurface deposits of water have been thrown up by impacts.

5. There is an average of between one liter and one gallon of water in every ton of typical surface regolith.

6. There may still be water in permanent shade, water in subterranean deposits of ice and remnants of meteoric or comet borne material that was not part of this surface distribution.

7. We now have a baseline above zero for water on the moon. It is much less than Martian conditions and very austere but it can be combined with other elements of water located.  Together with other sources it increases the chances of successful futute lunar crater colonies above the worst case scenario.

Some Thoughts about Science Fiction….

I am writing a science fiction novel on Facebook on an account named Summers Progress. In it I feature a number of my own inventions. Perhaps none of them will see the light of day outside that fictional universe. I am not sure. I see people casually discussing what amounts to surrender to the Taliban. From a scientifc progress point of view this is quite different than delivering Iraq to the influence of an Iran which is at least eager to compete in science no matter how much else I may find reprehensible in its regime.

In recent months we have had  the new Star Trek movie introducing a new young cast and we have had the release of GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra on our movie screens. I think people are hungry to believe in a new and better future. The role of Science fiction in shaping the dreams and hopes of young people is a complicated one which we cannot easily fully analyze and understand. But it does play a role. I hope that as the world struggles with all its current problems it can still make time to perfect its dreams of the future. Perhaps in some ways those are blueprints of many future policies. 

This post first appeared on my Facebook page on March 27 of this year.

This is the kind of topic that I will surely have to revisit and take in small pieces in other notes if this series is long enough. However, there is a place somewhere in the wide universe for an overstretched brief personalistic essay about the future generally. Maybe this is the time and space for such an essay I have taken the lense of science fiction and have ended up focused on really a small part of the future itself. Howver, the future itself is still my topic.

I often or even usually have a strong or weak religious and spiritual element in these Facebook Notes. I usually do not single out religious groups by name for the purpose of distinguishing them from the point of view I am taking. However, in this case I am taking the somewhat unusual course of discussing both Christianity and science fiction and how they relate to our apprehension of and planning for the future. I think that I have a decently adequate basic nonadherent’s understanding of the following three religions: The Church of Jesus Christ Scientist (Christian Scientists), The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints (Mormonism) and the Scientologists. I can assure any of you that I would be happy to influence thinkers in any of these groups but that I am not taking a position which is anywhere particulary near to the orthodoxies of any of these religions. Indeed it is I believe within the range of Catholic and Orthodox Christianity.

I do believe that Space is within the meaning of the heavens and heaven as are other things which Jesus indicated when he said that “The Kingdom of God is within you”. I do believethat Jesus as a fully human man was a poet, a liturgist, a prince, a lector, a rabbi and among other outstanding achievements he created a body of achievement that could be classified as science and engineering — all his human attributes do not detract from his claim to divinity. Nor do they answer the poetic ambiguity in the verse from the epistle “Though he was at one with God he did not claim equality with God as something to be grasped at…”. I do believe the Scriptures I cal the Sacred Scriptures have a call on us to care for the Earth, for our fellow man, for our families and (that at the state) we have now reached Space colonization is exigent in order to fulfill those obligations. Nonetheless, I do not intend this note to be primarily a religious or Scriptural Facebook Note.

One way in which I subject my own talents in predicting the future to public scrutiny is that I play a variety of viewable online games in which prediction is a vital skill. These games include fantasy football at NFL.com, the NCAA Bracket Challenge on Facebook and various kinds of online Texas Hold ’em Poker. I am not the very best but my play is fairly respectable. Outside of online gaming I have demonstrated other signs of function in the current technological milieu. I have earned a couple of degrees, some licenses, some commisions and certifications and they all demonstrate that I am not drawn towards futurist endeavors because I cannot find anything I am able to do anything worthy in the present. Nonetheless, I would proudlyidentify myself as a humanist rather than a scientist.

I have thought about the future a great deal. It seems that a lot of people have. We all express a certain faith in the future everytime we put milk in the refrigerator, puchase stock, go on a job interview or call someone to set up any kind of date, meeting or get-together. In fact probably nobody reading this really thinks that the known universe will cease to exist in the time it would take an ordinary person to read to the end of this note. In that sense faith in the future seems pretty universal.

id
BRINGING A BABY INTO THE WORLD AND HELPING THE BABY MAKE HIS OR HER WAY IN THE WORLD IS A GREAT ACT OF FAITH IN THE FUTURE FOR A NORMAL OR BETTER THAN NORMAL PARENT.

However, beyond simply believing that life will go on for somebody or something somewhere, most of us think we ourselves have some continuity beyond this throbbing or fleeting instant we call the present. I am writing about the future in a bit more specific way than this however. I am trying to discuss the future as a kind of grand subject.

I like to think about forming the shape of the human and earthly future as well as trying to influence it myself. I am deeply unhappy about many signs of how the future may turn out. However, I am also very optimistic about what is possible. A decent number of historians and antiquarians read futuristic literature and science fiction. Certainly, I have read a great deal of history and seen a lot of antiquities. However, science fiction and futuristic writing have played a big part in the formation of my mind and the filling of the time I have had available to read. It is tru that Styar Wars is a science fiction classic franchise and big money in our time which is set long ago and is full of Biblical and royalist allusions to past societies. But it outlines launches, gravity wells, spaceships, linguistic analysis, imaging systems and countless other things which were new with seeds and roots in the time Lucas began the series andwith fruit and flower in the future as far as we are concerned. A substantial minority of science fiction is set in the past in that sense but in a cyclical sense still maps a reality technicaly set more or less in our foreseeble future. Star Wars is actually less, as some of it is not anywhere near our technical capacity.

One of the intersting things about Michael Crichton the writer of books such as Andromeda Strain, Terminal Man, Jurassic Park and State of Fear is that he was a medical doctor. This is why his series ER was so sound in so many ways. There is an authenticity in his imagined science because he was able to live and function in the world of real science in his time. While a devout Roman Catholic, I belong to a struggling old secret society which gives a particular double interpretation to some scripture passages as coded preservations ofsome amazing achievements of Jesus in science and engineering. For us Jesus’s lofty goals and the ideal on which he founded his church are more and not less credible because of the other ways in which he exerted leadership and showed genius in his world. In a certain minimaly similar way writers like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton have some increased appeal as writers of their type of imaginative fiction because they could do real science in the real world.

We often find science fiction refereshing because it is devoid of some of the reminders of religious, national and familial obligations which surround is. That is true even for those who generaly are and seem to be pushers of family, nation and religion with their incumbent obligations. People such as I am still enjoy Dune’s vacation from the Roman Catholic Church to the Orange Catholic Bible. In instances where they are similar there is still no actual Orange Catholic community that either the Protestant House of Orange or the Catholics of our own time have to actually get along with. However, to notice that sense of fictional escape is not to say that tradition, religion and hard nosed reality have nothing to contribute to both the making of science fiction and to its enjoyment by its readers.

It has been also on the promise of really remaking the future that leaders as diverse as Adolph Hitler, Mao Tse Tung (Mao Zhe Dong), Vladimir Lenin, Lech Walensa and Thomas Jefferson have made their claims. Not all to the same dgree but to a greater degree than most leaders who have not lived in the last ten centuries. Contrary to the vast body of modern opinion I would argue that in many ways almost everyone born in the last thousand years shares a basic sense of desperation and insecurity that was far from being the norm prior to that time. Humanity spent a great deal of its early formative period expanding at a walking pace across and from Africa, across Europe and Asia and then across the vastly long journey of the Americas to Patagonia. Then there were crude and slow crafts and dogs and horses that brought in Australia and remote lands and mountains not safely reachable before then. Then the vikings in the tenth and eleventh century to a degree far greater than any history book will ever tell visited large and small islands in all four hemispheres (East and West, North and South) often leaving there only slaves and captives often of mixed ancestry from varied culture with whom some of their genes and technology were mingled. They also drove waves of refugees in ships from burning towns ro new islands in almost every part of the world. All of this happened before 1492 and the age of Discovery. Since about 1100 the Earth has been a fairly old and settled place as far as hunmanity goes. The mythical and infinite earth of great undiscovered creatures and lands with unknown and incaculable potential really died in about 1100. Since then all leaders of all places have sort of known that many of the happiest and most hopeful options for their descendants were foreclosed and that we all had entered a phase of negotiations (whether lethal or peaceful) with other humans. Most humans have never lived on the edge of the unknown lands but their existence did affetct allhumans at some level. Their experience did define the possible for leaders everywhere. Population control, vertical integration, oppression, xenophobia and tedium always had to compete with the whispers of the wild and undiscovered world and the vast genetic and historic cultural ties which linked all humans to the process of discovery. There have always been serious planners and as long as there were truly unpopulated lands around their plans could be different. Since then we live in a different human experience than formed us and only serious colonization of the solar system can address that basic change in a way that preserves some of the best of who we are for the future.

Both adventure and resources await our species throughout the solar system. There is little doubt in my mind that we damn ourselves quite seriously if we fail the challenge of securing access to both the adventure and the resources. Yes, I believe God has given the Moon and Mars to Earth’s people as part of our manifest destiny to colonize. It is part of becoming who we are meant to become.

If we had self sustaining and vibrant colonies on the Moon and Mars trading with Earth. Peopled by growing populations and settlers then our lives would resemble that of our human ancestors for long ages past. Most of us would not go to space and would not live their but we would know that we were living in a world of expanding possibilities. Inddeed it would be better than much of the past because almost all could see that were were bringin life where no life had been before. Being both sane and optimistic would again be really possible. The prospect of interstellar travel right now is a near impossibility. The possibility of interstellar travel in the future of a moderately badly run human society with real colonies on the Moon and Mars is substantial. The possibility of interstellar travel in the future of a society descended from us if we have a few centuries of colony driven development on the Earth, the Moon and Mars is very hight indeed. Once honest people can say to their children that our species is on its way to colonizing the worlds around as many stars as it seems right and convenient to colonize then our whole frame of reference will have changed for what the Human race is about and can expect.

We find science fiction in Dante’s Inferno and the rest of the Divina Comedia where the pilgrim with his guide takes a single path down through the center of the Earth where the pits of hell are deepest and the follows the same line past the center of gravity as down becomes up. Now he follows Beatrice through Purgatory to the high mountainous realm of heaven. The science of understanding gravity in a sphere is the central device. We find science fiction in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein when Dr. Frankenstein freed from the Medieval prohibition against dismembering corpses is able to put his monster (named Adam after the man God made) together form spare parts and give him life. We find science fiction in bits and pieces in old Greek mythology.It reaches some heights in Jules Vernes fictional depths as Captain Nemo adventures in 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. There is a poetic wildness to science fiction in CS Lewis’s Perelandra Trilogy named for its second book. But while I read all hese things I also read the vast body of more hard-core genre science fiction.

CS Lewis wrote of the various reasons for writing science fiction. On class of novelists and short story writers he chose to distinguish from himself were the “engineers” who tried to tell stories set around the use of potentialy useful future technology. Arthur C. Clark who wrote 2001: A Space Oddyssey made famous by the great Hollywood film was many things but certainly he was an engineer writer. His hard science fiction told of communications sattelites, space stations, moon landings, computers of the type we call artificial intelligence and other things before they existed. Besides deiscovering shipwrecks, at least one of which was full of treasure, he wrote many novels and short stories. His treatment of starships in 2001 is sort lost in the presence of working portals, one of which was left on the moon at the dawn of mankind. But in several of his novels he describes human s seeding the stars in ships that travel fro hugely long periods of time run by computers which retrieve crews from suspended animation and then help them rise to new function when they reach the star. He may even discuss the use of frozen embryos in providing the bulk of the population base. This is very far from Star Trek’s warp drive or Star War’s hyperdrive or Dune’s Spacefolding Guildsmen.

I have never published a novel and most of the of the ones I have written could be classified as unfinished. However, I have written several set in the period when the solar system is being colonized. A future I feel should be our focus of attention. I have set one or two in the period when human civilization well established in the whole or much of the solar system is invaded by interstellar aliens. I have written very lirrle about humans going to other stars. Partly this is because I feel science fiction ought to entice us into the right future when it is engineering science fiction and our thoughts should be on colonizing the sloar system. However, in my view of the future I have a pretty good idea of how starships ought to come into play.

The most important factor about interstellar travel initiated by the human race is that it would be by far the best if it came after about 500 years of intense development of the Solar System. When there are thousands of operatiing populated spaceships, a dozen or more space stations and large factories and ports on the Moon and Mars fed by Lunar and Martian farms and with labor and finace experienced in space then interstellar travel and starships will have a different appeal than they can as we live in a world where perhaps none of the things listed above will ever happen. I believe we can begin to envision many of the steps we have to undertake. I have included some drawings and illustrations that I have posted in the Crater Cap Concept Colony Group as milestone on that projected road.

Humanity must perfect the colonization of craters in varied situations.
Robotic ships on Mars starting the process will be a kind of simple practice for interstellar colonization as well as being the basis of much of the future economy.
Craters will become huge complexes of cities and farms in some cases. But robots can start the all-important capping process.
Eventually systems like my catapult idea would tie Earth to continuos and efficient launches into space just as imports fom space colonies and prodution for space in space will create a huge part of the economy.

What we need to do to get to be a species that lives engaged with the universe of our perception is first to dwvlope this solar system. This process will of course vastly impact our societies and culture. Not doing it is already having an impact. I believe this process can involve creation of entire Earethly eco-systems in canyons. It can be largely humane and part of a larger blossoming of human culture. One of my new Facebook friends Shaun Waterford is developing (and has largely developed) asystem of underwater habitats. I think colonizing the Moon and Mars can lead toa great synergy and cross-fertilization of ideas with those who want to explore the great potential of responsibly colonizing the pelagic ocean floor, seamounts and underwater coastal flats. Most problems will be different between spae and the sea. However, a huge number of problems will be the same, similar or have complimentary solutions. So what could life in space be like?

A view from above of a mature crater cap colony. The white sheet is the uppermost of numerous layers in the crater cap. It allows the features to be studied from space. The blue discs are solar power centers. The two railways intersect with a single airlock on the surface sheet. The colony has almost no profile, farms, towns and mines are below the surface.
If colonization is centered in craters there will still be plenty of astronomical observatories, laboratories, pipelines and spaceports which allow the colonists to have an exposure to their unearthly surroundings which over a lifetime amounts to something we can scarcely imagine. However, in the Crater Cap Concept Colonies life could be very much like earth except that it would be lived in an earthly ecosystem and by earhtly pople under conditions of one sixth or one third gravity. There is norassurance it will be well done but if it were done well life could be pretty good there. Good in the minds of ordinary folk who are not as interested in science fiction as I am — is a possibility in space colonies.
Using entranceds to mines that radiate from the crater with its central fertile fields and pure cliff dwellings that draw from traditionms such as the Anasazi and Nabateans beautifula nd functional residences with extra safety from breached caps would not use the fertile floors of the crater colonies. Each country and colony could devlope a unique architecture i each miniature world that a crater would constitute.
Many animals could adapt to life in these crater colonies. Chickens could roost high on the walls and fly though the pressurized air in low g. with their aerating feet and droppings they would help in the phese of turning the floors of regolith into real soil.
Larger crater rims would have parks around some of the more massive foundations of the cap. These parks would be outside themain warm and wet circulation of airin the colony.
This would enable a cooler driier microclimate to make for a more pleasantly diverse living environment.
Fish living in bodies of water on the moon and mars would be able to fill a normal idf assisted ecosystem. Then children vould carry emergency vaccum suits in sealed cans as a weight when venturing into this wilderness area. They would benefit from the incidentla weight training. Adults might be allowed to determin e their own risk and decide to use the suit/weight cases or not.

There is of course a lot more to the future than we can address by looking to space colonization. I am very much aware that John Hope Franklin has died this week. He was a black man and a scholar of African American History as well as being an active leader and scholarly planner
of the civil rights movement. John Hope Franklin died at ripe old age. However, the possibilites for collaboration between various groups and peoples would be much more promising if we were colnizing space and greatly increasing real and potential resources. Jesus said “I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.” Frankilin spent a great deal of time trying to figure out ways for varied people to live together in a way that seemed more abundant to him. There is no guaranty that we will act wisely and fairly in a world of objective abundance but objetive abundance is part of what all people of goodwill should be working towards.

Science fiction is one of the arts of our own time and place. We are invited by it to look at what we can do and how e can do it. I do hope though that because somuch of our fiction is interstellar we are not distracted fro the great adventure in our solar system which really is calling to us and which will shape much of our destiny.

The End

A Personal and Objective Take on Outer Space

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.