Terasem1 is model that should have been made ten years ago. The actual construction of these habitat should have started twenty years ago.
The model is a detailed prop depicting a Bernal Sphere along the designs of Gerald K O’Neil. Gerald wrote the book ‘the high frontier’ in the early 1970s (when we started having those oil crisis) and even then the book captivated a small but perceptive generation of visionaries. The vision of the High Frontier is not an easy digestible one – it builds on series of cumulatively more abstract steps well into the sky, and beyond into the depths of space. The High Frontier is no less poignant a statement as it was in the 1970s and we need solutions put forth in the book more than ever.
The message is clear – even though the majority of human beings in this planet gravitate between ‘let other people sort it out’, blank ignorant apathy or a passive aggressive ‘don’t bother me with difficult issues’ we face insurmountable challenges to retain any appreciable level of our level of pluriform civilisation and industries in the next century. Instead of facing up to challenges we all flee in short term thinking and hollow consumerism.
The challenge in 2010 is – A world with ten billion people that has to relinquish acces to 15+ terawatt of energy consumptions is a world where very soon more than 5 billion will be dying.
The High Frontier charts out a solution that at every single step makes sense, from an egineering perspective. The price of this undertaking is high and potentially unaffordable in the current macro-economic and political climate, but it remains to this day the only way for modern society to expand, grow and become significantly more affluent.
The alternative has become unthinkable.
The road ahead is simple – do whatever it takes to create an industrial base in space. Mine asteroids and the moon. Make the colony self-sufficient. Build a SSPS (solar satelite power station) producing in the order of a gigawatt. Build another every year and (after a decade) every month. Rinse repeat, add space elevators, colonies on other planets and – habitats. The key here is – adding habitats – safe and very comfortable permanent colonies in space. Enormous and equally implausible structures
housing (initially) tens of thousands of people and (eventually) being a key destination for emigration of the human race into the rest of the solar system. Bear in mind – if properly exploited, just the ateroid belt alone holds sufficient minerals to build these habitats to make very comfortable living space equivalent to the earth’s landmass thousands of times over. That would in effect mean that after 25 or so years of doing this, energy availability would be bigger than acute demand, and energy prices
will be falling sharply and irreversibly.
The message with this habitat is – does humanity choose stagnation and irrelevance, or is humanity capable of making the sacrifices to expand without little limit, indefinitely and in all directions? Look into this vision and can you imagine yourself living there?