Saturday, April 5, 2008

Further Adventures of a Space Cadet

As you may know, Google posted a very fun "April Fool" project in 2008 called "Virgle the Aventure of Many Lifetimes", with founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin presenting, and joined up with Virgin founder Richard Branson. Original page is at Also included is the Virgle Channel featuring Branson.

Key to this concept is understanding that to achieve this vision, there must be some major on-orbit infrastructure to support construction, development and launch of
these exploration initiatives. My 1979 thesis outlines this strategy in a Relevance Tree and shows how a Low Earth Orbit platform, working in concert with lunar mining and large vehicle production outside of earth's gravity well allows for effective use of labor and materials, as well as providing "many futures" rather than just one projection line (dotted). This permits industrial development and production of energy facilities using solar power, which can be beamed to earth as well as used on-orbit. This removes the carbon production cycle from the earth's atmosphere because major construction activity, mining and energy production are done outside of the atmosphere, and pollution from launch, manufacturing and transit are also off-planet. There is also a serious need for the earth observation platform rehabilitation, especially now that tracking global warming and its effects are a crucial dataset. Additional important needs for a low-earth orbit presence are space debris removal and asteroid tracking/deflection.

If the US military budget could be used for this constructive effort in concert with other countries, we could avoid the massive waste on useless military hardware and overblown budgets for failed political interventions, and actually increase the GDP significantly while the government contractors still get their contracts. Win-win. Note the April 20 NYT article about how contractors are "fed" massive contracts and manipulated by the Pentagon. MESSAGE MACHINE; Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand

"Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration's war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized."
This approach to shifting military expense to where it is most effective in US long-term security interests fully supports the (Secretary of Defense) Gates doctrine.

The STAIF conference is where the REAL industry development is happening for studies of the components of human habitation in space. They accept research papers from folks in the industry, and have had some very interesting scenarios presented of human habitation development and on-orbit infrastructure for space exploration.

My presentation in 2003 was right behind Harrison Schmitt's proposal for a lunar mining colony, presented again later in San Francisco last year in February: