Tag Archives: Al Globus

Take Our Survey: Help Design Your Future Home in Space

I’m writing today to ask you to fill out a survey.  It’s short, a one page intro then eight required and six optional questions.  The survey usually takes less than ten minutes to complete. You will not be asked for contact information and there are no ads. Your answers will be used to help inform the design of a new generation of space settlements.
Please forward this to your friends!

Thank you,
Al Globus
Tom Marotta
Bryan Versteeg
and The ELEO Group


Thank you!

Image credit: Bryan Versteeg, spacehabs.com


The Path to Villages and Cities in Space

I’m on an email list with a bunch of geniuses who are working on a way to build space settlements. For real. The list was organized by none other than Al Globus, the ‘keeper of the flame’ of space settlement at NASA.

Al Globus, Space Settlement Jedi Knight
Al Globus, Space Settlement Jedi Knight

An aside: Al recently wrote a ground-breaking paper on equatorial low earth orbit (ELEO) space settlement that anyone who is interested in space policy really needs to read. He essentially discovered a previously unknown low-radiation belt in a 500km equatorial orbit that is ideal for human space operations.

Anyway, as you might imagine, building a space settlement is really hard.  Building the ISS, a relatively straightforward space station took twelve years, $75 billion and cost 7 people their lives. Not good.

Components of the International Space Station
Components of the International Space Station

Even the smallest space settlement will be much bigger, much more complex and probably way more expensive than the ISS.  It should go without saying that before humanity attempts to build a permanent community in space, more experience is needed.

Therefore, the path to space settlement begins with building more space stations.  Perhaps they will look like the ISS but ideally there will be a variety of architectures so we can learn what works best. After the stations come space hotels.  Bigger, more capable, lots of visitors and lots of crew.  Over time space hotels will get so big that they will eventually morph into permanent settlements.

The Path to Space Settlement

Space Stations -> Space Hotels -> Space Settlements

Or that’s the idea at least.  What do you think?



Why Settle Space? Survival and Growth

The best justification to settle space I have seen so far, care of the legendary Al Globus:

“There are two major reasons to settle space: survival and growth. Survival because someday, someway things are going to go very badly on this planet. Major asteroid hit, super volcanoes, sun going red giant, who knows. When that time comes, and we don’t know when it will be, we will have either gotten off the planet or be exterminated. The room for growth in space is enormous. This solar system alone can probably support a quadrillion people or more using asteroidal and solar energy resources alone. The exact number depends on your assumptions, but it is huge. Of course, once we turn our free-space settlements into generation ships, perhaps in a million years, we will have access to all the stars in the galaxy.

Right now, as far as we really know, life is limited to a thin film around the third rock from the sun. We have the ability to change that, to fill the solar system and eventually the galaxy with life. I can think of no more noble nor useful cause. I can think of no greater dereliction of duty to fail due to lack of effort.”

Plucked from io9 here

And to all Americans and freedom-loving people everywhere, Happy Independence Day!

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival… It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” – John Adams, July 3, 1776, on the importance of celebrating Independence Day