*Image from here: http://factor-tech.com/connected-world/19671-burning-our-remaining-fossil-fuels-will-prompt-60-meter-sea-level-rises-scientists/

After deciding to move to the historic town of Ross in Tasmania, we have made the migration south and after a little wait, have the NBN connected and humming.

Ross will be our base now for space activities with Space Pioneers (see our flier below).

Ross may seem isolated, but with the Internet we can connect with the World.

In early November we head to Sydney for the second Off Earth Mining Forum organized by the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research located at the University of New South Wales. [1]

The flier has been prepared for the forum, to share with anyone who may be interested in our work.

We will be watching out for interesting projects and work opportunities, wondering how Tasmania may connect with the next wave of space exploration and development.

With space tourism about to take off with Virgin Galactic, there is no reason why Tasmania couldn’t participate in training future civil astronauts, who will in time be staying in hotels in space. [2]

Tasmania has for decades been involved in developing nutritious food for Australia’s military personnel, so why couldn’t Tasmania be a place where farmers and scientists work on developing quality food for space as well?

Instead of closing down the car industry and sending workers into unemployment, would Australia have been better advised to invest in the new space industries, with assembly lines for satellites?

Next year commercial roll-outs will begin of Linden Lab’s new virtual world, a revolutionary upgrade of Second Life called Sansar [3], also the commercial launch of the Oculus Rift headset [4] and a galaxy of related products [5], which will take virtual worlds like Second Life from under a million users now, to over a billion and growing in coming years: a thousand-fold increase, to start with.

With giant strides happening in the development of virtual world technology, which can also deliver ever more realistic space experiences, catching a virtual world ride on a future in space will become a space surfer’s paradise.

Anyone living in Tasmania who has a computer with an Internet connection, can dip in and join the adventure using the virtual world, whether out of personal interest, or seeking a career.

In this world, age is no barrier.

Virtual world headsets may become the way future space workers are trained, who may find themselves based on Earth, but controlling a robot in space, seeing through the robot’s eyes and controlling the hands of the robot as if their own.

At times they would catch a view of the Earth from space, while still on Earth.

Would that be amazing?

This approach to space work from Earth may be repeated in space, with a space worker in a radiation protected habitat in space, or on the Moon controlling robots.

Considering Mars is exposed to solar and cosmic radiation, a similar approach may be used on the red planet, or from orbit above.

This may be how the high frontier is opened, building solar power stations in space and launching industry beyond Earth, where mined resources and any space junk gathered is processed and made into space ships, space habitats and unusual products for Earth markets.

Should astronomers look up one day and detect an asteroid heading for Earth that could wreck our works and terminate our terrestrial future, it could turn out to be the efforts of the space miners that will give humankind the jump on defending Earth from space, by mining the killer asteroid into oblivion, or nudging the beast into a new orbit.

We would be rather thankful then that miners on Earth had enough vision to see opportunities in space and be bold enough to accept the challenge.

To survive and live to tell the tale is a far better way to make history, than being sent into the fossil record of Earth for no good reason.

It may also be space miners who save the Earth from the human folly of burning too much fossil fuel for too long, pumping up carbon dioxide in the Earth’s biosphere, driving up global warming, climate change, sea level rise and ocean acidity, which is already starting to affect the global food chains.

The simple solution to this terrestrial crisis would be to apply science and technology to removing excess carbon from the air and sea and process extracted carbon into a useful resource for Earth and space industries.

This would be possible, because space miners would be accessing the virtually limitless energy-well of the Sun for power and to do any work, the energy available determines the results and to turn the tide of excesses of the industrial era will require much energy.

It’s good to remember that our star, the Sun, has so much fuel in reserve, it will burn fiercely over the next 5 billion years, until expanding to the orbit of the Earth as a red giant star: and for us, that is a virtually unlimited power source, largely going to waste at present.

With energy from the Sun and resources from around the Solar System, space miners could also turn to farming.

There is enough raw material in the Asteroid Belt alone to build land in orbital habitats thousands of times the land area found on Earth: and there are trillions of objects flying around the Solar System that could be put to work.

Orbital habitats can be in the form of a wheel or drum that can be rotated to generate an Earth-like gravity and could be located anywhere around the Solar System. [6]

With land in space, we could look to growing any crop and also trees.

Space mining, farming and forestry would take a heap of pressure off the current rapacious demands for the good life by the human race.

Space miners could also be peace pioneers.

Most of the conflict on Earth is over land, whether in Israel-Palestine, in Syria-Iraq, in Ukraine, or in the South China Sea, where any war could all too easily slide toward nuclear madness.

By being able to build land in space and making this land safe for human habitation, the old fights on Earth could be turned into peace in space: and on Earth.

Space miners could also play a critical role in saving all the satellites in Earth orbit, as well as the International Space Station.

There are currently a trillion dollars worth of satellites whizzing above Earth and they sometimes run into each other, get hit by a dead satellite, or are struck by bits of space junk.

A small nut flying at high velocity is a threat to any satellite that can’t get out of its way and more satellites are being sent up all the time, increasing the potential of collisions and creating even more high velocity space junk.

It is widely feared that a tipping point in space collisions and strikes will happen, that will tumble into a cascade of space debris that destroys all satellites in Earth orbit and sends the global economy back to the 1950s.

Australia has invested $150 million toward solving the space junk problem. [7]

If the space junk cascade happens, nothing will be able to go into space for hundreds of years, locking human dreams down on Earth beneath a nightly blaze of shooting stars.

A mining and industrial presence beyond Earth, preferably located beyond the space junk zone, would be able to deal with space debris from above, building craft that chase and catch space junk, with a view to recycling.

What the consequences of losing the satellites would be can only be imagined, but we would also lose the space option and be trapped with all our problems on Earth.

The space junk cascade threat has been created by running space development on the cheap and failing to keep space clean.

If we have time to act, we now have the chance to turn over a new leaf on Earth, with mining in space.

If anyone declares that the space option is too costly to consider, they haven’t done their homework.

With the energy of the Sun and resources of space, a point would be reached in space development where there would be no further cost to Earth and beyond that point, the return to Earth on the investment, from across the Solar System and among the stars, will be virtually infinite.

The burning question should be: what is the swiftest and cheapest way to secure a sustainable industrial presence beyond Earth, beyond which there will be no further cost to Earth?

This will be our cosmic survival insurance policy, which we cannot afford to live on Earth without, if survival matters.

Once a sustainable space presence is won, we will win a stellar economy where poverty can be sent into history, where a healthy and creative future could be delivered for all Earth’s children.

Why would anyone not be interested in such a future?

The minute the human family decided to gun for a sustainable presence beyond Earth, a new future would be launched on Earth as a form of futures market, which would pump new fiscal adrenalin into the global economy.

The sooner we launch a stellar economy on Earth, the sooner we will be dealing with all problems on Earth.

Each day of delay will prolong suffering on Earth, along with the steady destruction of our planet’s environment.

When we see that a sustainable human occupation on Earth will only ever happen when we secure a sustainable industrial presence beyond Earth, then the reason to act will be clear.

At present humanity is like a Tasmanian Devil, frozen in the headlights of a truck on the highway at night.

All the problems we face are very clear, so will we be smart and leap into action?

Our action can begin with mining in space.

REFERENCES

[1] Off Earth Mining Forum
http://www.acser.unsw.edu.au/oemf2015/

[2] ‘Las Vegas UFO Aficionado Bets $500 Million on Space Hotel’
Brendan McGarry, 28 Jan 2013, Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-01-28/las-vegas-ufo-aficionado-bets-500-million-on-space-hotel

[3] Project Sansar
http://www.lindenlab.com/releases/linden-lab-invites-first-virtual-experience-creators-to-project-sansar-testing

[4] Oculus Rift headset
https://www.oculus.com/en-us/

[5] Virtuix Omni

Home

[6] Orbital Space Settlements ~ National Space Society
http://www.nss.org/settlement/space/

[7] ‘New Australian research centre to remove space junk, save satellites and spacecraft’
Carl Smith & Chris Kimball, 11 Mar 2014, ABC News Online
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-07/new-research-centre-to-remove-space-junk-save-satellites/5306286

FLIER

Space Pioneers

http://spacepioneers.com.au/

Space Pioneers was founded on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in 2011 and has recently relocated to the historic town of Ross in Tasmania.

Our prime aim is to inspire ten million and more keen people globally to become engaged in a citizen’s space program: demanding action, driving investment and directly participating in the adventure.

To help achieve this aim we use virtual worlds, like Second Life, where any number of people can engage in the action with home computers: meeting globally to plan local activities toward building a celestial future.

Advances in virtual world technology arriving in 2016, including an advanced version of Second Life called Sansar and the commercial release of the Oculus Rift headset, will make virtual worlds much more realistic for building models, developing training systems, as a place to meet and chat via an avatar, and also for promoting ideas and products.

Participants in a virtual space program can own a virtual apartment in a virtual space station, which can be visited daily and which could one day be built in space, connecting space pioneers with a stellar future.

Training systems for working in space using a headset can lead to remote control of tiny robots in Earth orbit, seeing through the eyes of the robot and using the robot’s hands: even observing the Earth from space.

In Ross we are promoting a think tank to work on space problems, such as the swiftest way to secure a sustainable presence beyond Earth.

We see space development as an essential step to building our home planet’s defences against a meteor that could end our game, as happened to the dinosaurs 66 million years ago when an asteroid struck the Earth.

As a popular T-shirt slogan flags, “Asteroids are Nature’s way of asking: How’s that space program coming along?”

By winning a sustainable future beyond Earth, where there is no limit to growth, we can work on solving all problems on our home planet; but if we cling to the earthly nest, all our strife on Earth will get steadily worse.

Our vision for a future among the stars ~ ‘Creating a Solar Civilization’ ~

http://spacepioneers.com.au/articles/casc.html

• Chris Sharples in Comments: Spot on Pete #2; the biggest threat to humanity right now is not that we might be wiped out by an asteroid, but that the demons of our evolved nature – excesssive self-interest, greed-beyond-need, aggression and above all denial of anything we don’t want to be real – will cause us to destroy ourselves. Having been born 2 months before the launch of Sputnik 1, I’m a great fan of space exploration. After all, making a better world requires not only reducing the amount of bad stuff going on, but also increasing the amount of awesome* stuff going on. But that said, right at this critical juncture in our history, the greatest task before us is to learn to curb the demons in our nature, not to try to escape their consequences by spreading them into deep space. I must say, somewhat reluctantly, there’s a strong moral argument that until we can learn how to function rationally and sustainably on this planet, we shouldn’t be just taking our unresolved problems elsewhere. * in the original meaning of this word, not its current debased usage.