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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Ryoji Furui: on 6/5/14 at 22:36pm UTC, wrote Dear Arthur, Nice essay with targeted plan how we cultivate the space. It...

James Hoover: on 5/26/14 at 22:30pm UTC, wrote Arthur, Time grows short, so I am revisited those I've read to assure I've...

Georgina Woodward: on 5/25/14 at 4:45am UTC, wrote Thanks again Arthur, I appreciate you taking the time to discuss the...

Arthur Woods: on 5/24/14 at 15:41pm UTC, wrote Robert Many thanks for reading my essay and for your positive comments. I...

Arthur Woods: on 5/24/14 at 12:54pm UTC, wrote Dear Georgina Your original question was about the probable impact of...

Robert de Neufville: on 5/24/14 at 0:12am UTC, wrote This is one of the best essays I have read, Arthur. You frame the issue...

Anonymous: on 5/22/14 at 23:28pm UTC, wrote Hi Arthur, Thank you for your prompt reply addressing my concerns, and for...

Arthur Woods: on 5/22/14 at 13:23pm UTC, wrote Dear Georgina Thank you for reading my essay and for the opportunity to...


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FQXi FORUM
November 25, 2017

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: A Space Age on Earth by Arthur R. Woods [refresh]
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Author Arthur R. Woods wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 14:57 GMT
Essay Abstract

This essay introduces the need to consider a new perception of our planet called Greater Earth. A perception that is based on Earth's true cosmic dimensions as defined by the laws of physics and how this new perception of our planet may catalyze an optimistic path to a sustainable and prosperous future.

Author Bio

Arthur Woods is a Swiss/American astronautical artist who witnessed the beginnings of the U.S. Space program while living in the vicinity of Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center until 1970. He initiated a number of art-in-space projects, including two of which that were realized on the Mir space station in the early 1990's. He is the co-founder of the Space Option concept and is currently editor and publisher of a website dedicated its documentation and elaboration: TheSpaceOption.com

Download Essay PDF File




James Dunn wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 21:16 GMT
We do not know what the true cosmic dimensions of the laws of physics are. We build useful things incrementally as we find new relationships we had not previously considered. But the next generation will find new relationships we are as yet unaware of that may change our directions of development completely.

Example: Dark Energy is modeled in some way that is useful. Wireless transfer of power might become available. Space travel and living on other planets and in space has a completely new paradigm that results.

We can predict the future for 1000 years in advance based upon what we presently know. But we must continuously evolve politically, economically, technologically, educationally, and every other institutional consideration as new developments occur.

My prediction is humans will not substantially leave our solar system. Because we will develop the technologies to build universes of our own designs long before having the resources to migrate out of the solar system. And our discoveries will make apparent the other civilizations in the universe and that migration is both unnecessary and unwanted.

We will develop the technologies to be self-sustaining and be able to interact with the universe without moving and wasting energy.

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Author Arthur R. Woods replied on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 09:17 GMT
Dear James

Thank you for your feedback.

Concerning your comment: "We do not know what the true cosmic dimensions of the laws of physics are." and that "...the next generation will find new relationships we are as yet unaware of...", I state in my essay " ... knowledge increases though a process of making finer and finer discriminations about the nature of reality and the...

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Tommy Anderberg wrote on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 09:41 GMT
Very good stuff. This is pretty much the essay which I (wish I) would have written if I had decided to focus on the near term. :)

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Author Arthur R. Woods replied on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 08:22 GMT
Dear Tommy

Many thanks for reading my essay and for your positive comment.

Arthur Woods




Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 14:59 GMT
Dear Mr. Woods,

I enjoyed reading your highly informative essay and I hope that it does well in the competition.

Regards,

Joe Fisher

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Author Arthur R. Woods replied on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 08:23 GMT
Dear Mr. Fischer

Many thanks for reading my essay and for your positive comment.

Arthur Woods




Anonymous wrote on May. 2, 2014 @ 18:24 GMT
Arthur,

Your point - that a change in perception produces different actions and thus can lead to different outcomes - is very much my outlook on things.

Your essay reminds me of the late 70s and 80s when I was involved in a bunch of ocean floor mining and space exploration work. The one effort that succeeded beyond imagination was the Space Race that had many naysayers but took-off only after President Kennedy put US prestige and government resources behind it. Any ideas on what is today's version of Kennedy's action that can move the concept of "Greater Earth"?

Seeking resources didn't make any sense then and doesn't today. The problem with the resource argument is that we have never run out of anything i.e. the fear of possibly running out is in our minds, but so is the capability to turn to another resource. We didn't get automobiles because we ran out of horses; we didn't get wireless because we ran out of wires etc. Picking up on your perception prescription, is there another reason that can make the idea of "Greater Earth" take off?

Your thoughts, especially on the resource argument?

By the way, different thinking is at the core of my essay which you can find here. Looking forward to your comments and questions on it.

Thank you for an updated view of an earlier time with a new spin and the fond memories you woke up.

- Ajay

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Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 2, 2014 @ 18:25 GMT
The above post is from me. I think I got logged ot.

- Ajay

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Author Arthur R. Woods replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 10:47 GMT
Dear Ajay

I have read your interesting essay and I will add my specific comments on your essay page.

Concerning your resource question, I believe it will be much easier to meet the future challenges of humanity in a "resource rich" world rather than in a "resource poor" one. In order to maintain our civilization and to improve both the human situation as well as our planet's...

view entire post





Ajay Bhatla wrote on May. 4, 2014 @ 21:35 GMT
Arthur,

Thanks for your reply.

If you and I differ on something, it's how important 'resource' issues are to making the case for Greater Earth. From my perspective, the resource argument will not motivate much of the public which,in turn, will not push people in power to make SPS real. Yes, some are supporting SPS already but the numbers are too few to force the decision makers to choose it. There must be a better argument that just resources. And fear is not the best argument. Nor is the profit motive. Kennedy's choice to us 'US prestige' was a very savvy decision that got action.

-Ajay

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James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 6, 2014 @ 06:03 GMT
Arthur,

Greater Earth can unlock resources that lessens scarcity and the intense competition leading to unequal distribution of wealth. Looking beyond Earth and utilizing the forces of fusion that utilize the most plentiful resource, hydrogen would be a great start toward a cleaner future.

The perception beyond Earth's boundaries would be a good start.

Jim

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Author Arthur R. Woods replied on May. 16, 2014 @ 20:21 GMT
Dear Jim

Many thanks for reading my essay and for your comments. Yes, beyond Space Solar Power, nuclear fusion would be an important next development for meeting our energy needs as well as powering our spacecraft in order to really open up the solar system. Here, too, Greater Earth offers us opportunities with the harvesting of Helium-3 (He-3) - which is plentiful in lunar soil but rare on Earth to be used in future nuclear fusion reactors back on Earth when this energy technology matures.

I have read your interesting essay and commented on your page.

Best regards

Arthur



James Lee Hoover replied on May. 26, 2014 @ 22:30 GMT
Arthur,

Time grows short, so I am revisited those I've read to assure I've rated them. I find that I rated yours on 5/12. Hope you enjoyed mine.

Jim

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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 7, 2014 @ 20:33 GMT
Arthur

It was a pleasure to read your beautifully written essay. As an astronomer whose studied near Earth conditions I firmly agree with your proposal as a major step away from our planetary limitations. I've also identified fundamental limitations of understanding caused by Earth-centric thinking and conceptions which I touch on in my own essay, i.e. even beyond your; “ Earth as defined...

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Author Arthur R. Woods replied on May. 12, 2014 @ 12:17 GMT
Dear Peter

Many thanks for your comments on my essay.

I am sure I don't need to point this out to you, but for other readers of this dialogue please permit me to address the "pollution sink" issue which you mention. First, I agree 100% with you that humanity should not operate in an irresponsible manner in the the territory of Greater Earth or anywhere else. Indeed, the movie...

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James A Putnam wrote on May. 13, 2014 @ 04:04 GMT
Arthur R. Woods,

Excellent! Your essay represents the goals of this contest. You gave an answer to: How should humanity steer the future?, as opposed, to: How should humanity steer humanity? Both educational and imaginative. It was fun picturing such a future while understanding that it is serious and might work? Very well written.

James Putnam

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Author Arthur R. Woods replied on May. 16, 2014 @ 19:11 GMT
Dear James

Thank you so much for your positive comments. They are much appreciated. I have read your essay and will respond soon.

Best regards,

Arthur




Walter Putnam wrote on May. 17, 2014 @ 14:58 GMT
A wonderfully written, thorough and factual blueprint for how humanity should steer the future, Arthur. It is only a matter of time that the rest of the world catches up with these insights. We can only hope that it's not too much time because, as you underscore so brilliantly, we cannot count on things developing according to logic. It is very important that those who understand the issues faced by Earth and its inhabitants do their best to help others understand. You have made a significant contribution by outlining your thoughts in this forum.

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Michael Allan wrote on May. 17, 2014 @ 19:40 GMT
Hi Arthur,

You write clearly and confidently on a topic that's unfamiliar to me, which keeps me interested all the way through. In terms of steering the future, I think you're explaining how we could navigate the "gateway to the Solar System" (as you call it, p. 9) in order to reach the future, which puts you on topic. But I'd prefer this steering argument to be built more emphatically into the text, and more strongly (more on this below).

You claim that venturing into near space (Greater Earth) is viable on an economic basis owing to the exploitation of resources (energy, minerals, etc, pp. 5-7). If true (I can't judge) then this is a strong backbone. Basically there's a ladder there waiting for us to climb. Now all it takes is a conscious choice to climb it. Here you might simply have pointed to the existential risks of an earth-bound civilization (e.g. some of those surveyed by Robert de Neufville) and then justified the venture soley as a prudent exercise of risk mitigation. Or you might have pointed to some positive benefit on the far side of the passage, even if it were just the satisfaction of our curiosity, or our taste for adventure. Instead you have us driven up the ladder mostly by the demands of overpopulation and uncontrolled growth (pp. 2-3). This is a weak part of the essay. It undermines both the viability of the passage (we're incompetent), and the argument of deliberate steering (we're not in control). This makes the venture almost the dangerous act of a desperate people; we're not steering events, but being steered by them.

Still, these are just isolated points. Overall it's a strong essay.

Mike

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Author Arthur R. Woods replied on May. 21, 2014 @ 14:30 GMT
Dear Mike

Thank you for your thoughtful feedback. The purpose of my essay was how a change in our perception about the true dimensions of our planet could be an effective strategy for moving humanity beyond the atmosphere giving it more space and more resources for its development and survival. In other publications, I have addressed the existential risks and the possible solutions...

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Michael Allan replied on May. 21, 2014 @ 22:09 GMT
Well, the impression is unmistakeable across several pages of your essay. We require "additional resources beyond those available [on the] planet's surface" (p. 2) because the "world is getting smaller" (p. 3). We have "the uncomfortable realization that [it] is becoming more crowded", that we live on "a very crowded and ecologically endangered planet" where other life forms are being "pushed to extinction by human expansion". With our "uncontrolled use" of resources "resulting in severe ecological consequences" (p. 4), "humanity finds that it needs more room and more resources to sustain its numbers and maintain its thirst for further development".

So it's no exaggeration to say, "you have us driven up the ladder mostly by the demands of overpopulation and uncontrolled growth". It's on this I base my critique. - Mike

PS - Thanks again for reviewing my own essay, Author. I'll be rating yours (along with the others on my review list) some time between now and May 30.

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Member Marc Séguin wrote on May. 20, 2014 @ 01:47 GMT
Arthur,

Thank you for a well-argued essay. I think the idea of "Greater Earth" is an important part of the "equation" that humanity must solve to successfully steer the future. In my essay, I propose that we put forward a Futurocentric Education Initiative aimed at raising the collective awareness and knowledge of the citizens of the world about the issues that are the most important for the future of humanity: the idea of Greater Earth fits nicely in one of the main topics of my first draft of the futurocentric curriculum (topic 7: Space exploration and settlement).

I have looked at all the essays, and read more than half of them from start to finish. Your essay is part of the short list that I hope will make it to the finals, and I have rated it accordingly. If you have time to take a look at my essay, rate it and comment on it, it would be quite appreciated.

Good luck in the contest!

Marc

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Author Arthur R. Woods replied on May. 21, 2014 @ 14:43 GMT
Dear Marc

Many thanks for your positive comments. I have downloaded your essay and I will look for synergy. I will read it soon and add my comments to your page.

Good luck to you, too!

Arthur




Tihamer T. Toth-Fejel wrote on May. 21, 2014 @ 03:34 GMT
Dear Aurthur,

A *great* essay! While I touched briefly on the importance of building a space-faring civilization in my essay ( Three Crucial Technologies ), you expanded the concept into a sharply defined vision.

My first concern is that without mature nanotechnology, building a "Greater Earth" will be *really* difficult, unsafe, and expensive. It's still worth it, but the average person (and the average politician) will not think so. So it will not happen until one spacecraft's worth of people can sell all their worldly possessions to colonize the Moon or an asteroid. Historically, this is how colonies in the New World (and the West) were founded.

SPS is a great idea, and I've been a fan ever since I met Peter Glaser and Gerry O'Neill. That being said, I don't see how it will happen until the heat capture of solar cells (which you mentioned) becomes a problem. Already, the cost of photovoltaic cells is less than the installation cost, and grid parity is near. That undercuts SPS in the near term, but enables it in the long term.

My second concern is that even if we get nanotech, which more easily enables a "Greater Earth", we will still have many of the problems we have today (war, injustice, ignorance), which is why I think that building AIs who can help us reason better about ethics might be a good idea. Then again, we might ignore them just as we ignore the human saints and prophets of today.

-Tee

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Author Arthur R. Woods replied on May. 21, 2014 @ 14:53 GMT
Tee

Thank you for reading my essay and for your positive comments.

Yes, I believe nanotechnology can and will be the "game changer" in many areas. In the case of space development it is the key for enabling the space elevator which gets us out of Earth's gravity well safely and cheaply. This in turn would allow SPS to be deployed.

I have downloaded your essay and I am looking forward to reading it soon and I will add my comments to your page.

Arthur




Georgina Woodward wrote on May. 21, 2014 @ 22:17 GMT
Hi Arthur,

I read your essay a while back but notice I did not comment. You have set out a well written, enjoyable to read, clear argument for considering the area surrounding the Earth as a part of our usable "territory".I like the diagram.

The attitude that we can just get more minerals from elsewhere is contrary to the argument that we should use them prudently and work at...

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Author Arthur R. Woods replied on May. 22, 2014 @ 13:23 GMT
Dear Georgina

Thank you for reading my essay and for the opportunity to address your comments. I agree with you that "we" all should be more responsible with our use of resources and become better stewards of our precious planet. Recycling industrial products for their reusable materials makes both ecological and economic sense. As pointed out in the article you mentioned, in order to work...

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Anonymous replied on May. 22, 2014 @ 23:28 GMT
Hi Arthur,

Thank you for your prompt reply addressing my concerns, and for the link to the article. There are also a lot of interesting comments following it. One mentioning damage to the ozone layer. Here's an article mentioning it. Rockets-ozone and here is another that suggest that mending the ozone holes could ameliorate climate change.Mending ozoneFood for thought, as is one of the comments questioning the damage caused by repeated puncturing of the ozone layer by rockets and re-entry vehicles.

I have been discussing battery powered cars with Israel Perez. I found out that Tesla does have a closed loop recycling system for the batteries that will be produced by its "gigafactory" which I think was probably necessary to be able to sell those cars as 'Green'.

Regards, Georgina.

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Author Arthur R. Woods replied on May. 24, 2014 @ 12:54 GMT
Dear Georgina

Your original question was about the probable impact of space tourism on air pollution and that it was a terrible waste of energy and resources. As space tourism hasn't actually begun and it is difficult to judge how successful it will eventually become and it remains to be seen if it will become a problem that can't be solved through innovation or regulation. The co-author...

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Robert de Neufville wrote on May. 24, 2014 @ 00:12 GMT
This is one of the best essays I have read, Arthur. You frame the issue expertly and I think you are largely right in your prescriptions. As I write in my own essay—which I would love for you to read—humanity has to move off the surface of the Earth sooner or later. As you say, we probably don't need to go that far in the near future, but with the damage we're doing to the planet's natural systems sooner is probably better than later. Good luck in the contest—your essay deserves to do well.

Best,

Robert de Neufville

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Author Arthur R. Woods wrote on May. 24, 2014 @ 15:41 GMT
Robert

Many thanks for reading my essay and for your positive comments. I have read your excellent essay and will comment on your page. I do believe we share similar insights about what is at stake and that the survival of our species is our main priority.

Best regards,

Arthur




Ryoji Furui wrote on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 22:36 GMT
Dear Arthur,

Nice essay with targeted plan how we cultivate the space. It must come from your background. I sometimes think about or imagine how universe looks like or how it formulates but it is far from my real life and i really respect people who engage in those projects to explore what the universe is.

Thank you,

ryoji

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