Welcome to Space Pioneers

Space Pioneers is an Australian registered organisation founded in Queensland in 2011. Our prime objective is to see orbital space settlements created that offer an Earth gravity through rotation. To achieve this, solar power stations must be built to harness the virtually unlimited energy-well of the Sun and open the way for launching industry beyond Earth, so that orbital space settlements can be built that offer new land for the children of Earth among the stars. Space settlements will serve as the stepping stone to the first stellar migration, where a human community can set out on a voyage lasting generations across the ocean of space, unless a faster way is found. To achieve our objective we are developing community and business models that will help to open the way beyond Earth. Anyone with a thirst for adventure is invited to participate in Space Pioneers and help create our future among the stars.

In Space There Are No Limits

On Earth we face limits that we break at great risk to our survival. In space there are no limits. We must expand into space to survive in the cosmos, where we can realise our full creativity and create unlimited prosperity. On Earth we are in space, but we must learn to remember that on Earth we must live within natural limits.

Creating A Solar Civilization

This document, first written by Kim Peart in Tasmania in 2006 and revised in Queensland with the assistance of Dr Jennifer Bolton in 2012, sketches out the Space Pioneer vision for human futures, on Earth and among the stars.

Solar Power Stations in Space

First written of in a science fiction story by Isaac Asimov in 1941 and formerly proposed by Dr Peter Glaser in 1968, Space Pioneers see solar power stations in space as the key step beyond Earth for human civilization. Few appreciate the power of the Sun, which is now 35% hotter than when our star was born 4.5 billion years ago. The Sun has so much fuel in reserve, it will continue to burn fiercely over the next 5 billion years, expanding to the orbit of the Earth as a red giant star. The Sun is a virtually infinite energy source for human needs. We can use this energy to help us win back a safe Earth. Power from the Sun collected in space could be brought to Earth by a microwave beam, as first suggested by Dr Glaser, or with a laser beam, as proposed more recently. It may also be possible to bring power to Earth by cable, with the same principle proposed for the space elevator.

High Altitude Floating Platform

It may be possible to receive a beam from space at a high altitude floating platform. Receiving unlimited power from space, the platform could be kept aloft with heated air. Power would also be available to keep the platform in position with air jets. A power cable could be run from the platform to the ground. Being located as high as possible in the atmosphere, a power beam from a solar power station in space would not be travelling through the heavier part of Earth's atmosphere and therefore, the beam would be stronger when received. The footprint at ground level would also be less, where the power cable arrives and connects with the power grid. High altitude floating platforms might also be used as launch platforms for space planes, high altitude research, restaurants, hotels and even apartments with an amazing view of Earth and space. The high altitude platform might be serviced by airships that gently float through the air. Future travel around the Earth could be from platform to platform, reducing the need for long runways on the ground. This concept was put forward by Kim Peart in 2011.

The Carbon Threat

Fossil fuel was a boon for humankind, allowing us to develop industry and build a space program. If humanity had begun investing in solar power stations in space in the 1970s, when this option became possible, we would not have had to burn so much fossil fuel and would have avoided a crisis with the carbon balance on Earth. By burning fossil fuel, carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the atmosphere, from where it is absorbed into the sea. Before the industrial revolution atmospheric CO2 had hovered at 270 parts per million (ppm) since the last ice age, allowing human civilization to thrive. Now CO2 is passing 400 ppm and there is no end in sight to how far CO2 will continue rising. The fast warming Arctic region is now releasing vast stores of CO2 and methane from melting permafrost. The Earth system maintains a balance of gases in the air that serve the needs of life. Some gases, including methane, help keep the planet warm by capturing reflected heat and releasing this back into the air. CO2 is the most important greenhouse gas, because it is the most abundant and remains aloft the longest. Excess CO2 is a problem because it forces up the Earth's temperature, resulting in global warming, which leads to climate change. As more heat is released from rising levels of CO2, the Earth will get hotter, now 0.8°C warmer than before the Industrial Revolution. When CO2 is absorbed into the sea, the oceans become more acidic, now 26% more so than 200 years ago and rising. Increasing ocean acidity impacts on the ability of sea life to form shell and is therefore a threat to life in the sea and the global food chain. The nations of Earth are currently working on keeping CO2 below 450 ppm and the planet's temperature under a rise of 2°C. Climate scientist James Hansen concluded that with CO2 above 350 ppm, a level passed in the 1980s, we are at risk of triggering a runaway greenhouse effect. With the Sun getting hotter, Hansen fears that this catastrophe will not stop until the Earth turns into a second Venus. The planet of passion has an atmosphere comprised mainly of CO2, where lead melts at the surface and the rocks glow in the heat. Venus once had as much water as Earth, but it was lost when the heat turned the water into vapour, which rose into the air and was whisked away into space by the solar wind from the Sun. To reduce CO2 to 350 ppm and avoid creating a second Venus, we could use the energy of the Sun to extract excess CO2 from our planet's atmosphere and oceans. With the energy of the Sun, we could also crack carbon from CO2 and process this into a resource for Earth and space industries. In this way, space development could or will prove essential to winning back a safe Earth.

The Threat from the Sea

With growing dead zones in the sea, oceans getting warmer and acidity rising from absorbed CO2, ocean scientists now fear that the seas could begin to die and deep sea sulphur-producing bacteria find their way to the surface and bloom in the sun and heat, releasing toxic hydrogen sulphide gas that can kill life on land and weaken the ozone layer, allowing more solar and cosmic radiation to reach the Earth's surface. This process is believed to have happened 251 million years ago in the Great Dying, when most species were lost and life nearly came to an end on Earth. If this happens again, we will need to live on Earth more like we were living in space. In this most dangerous future, we may need to build protected environments to grow food and survive.

Future Vision for Australia

Much of Australia's recent wealth has come from a mining boom. At the same time, tax on resources has been minimal, so the wealth gained has largely been squandered. There has been no real vision for the future of the nation. Manufacturing has also been lost from Australia over decades and now the car industry is closing down. This dismal situation could be turned around, if the nation lifts its sights to a vision that includes space development. The strength of any advanced nation is energy and to date, this energy has been coal, oil and gas. Australia can become one of the best places on Earth for solar power generation and this should be pursued. There are more important reasons why all advanced nations should invest in solar power stations in space, which will lead to industry beyond Earth and give us the ability to construct our planet's defences against asteroids that could end our game. By investing in space development, Australia would generate much needed quality employment and space ports in Australia could serve the dawning space tourism industry. By building solar power stations in space and bringing the power down to Earth, any volume of ocean water could be desalinated and the liquid gold pumped to any location. With open access to water and energy, the deserts could be turned green and hundreds of new cities created as a much stronger nation is built. With a vision for the future that includes mining the Moon and asteroids, Australian miners should be keen to invest in creating new industries beyond Earth, where unlimited wealth will be generated. All this can happen by working with friendly nations, who will all benefit from space development. Reaching to space will lead to peace on Earth, by creating new land for people to live in, in orbital space settlements, relieving the pressures for limited land on Earth, which is so frequently the root of conflict. By opening the high frontier, many pressures will be released on Earth, as the way is opened to the stars.

The Space Junk Threat

Objects crash into each other in space, including satellites, which break into bits and add to the space junk above Earth. It is feared that the day will arrive when there will be too many collisions, leading to a debris storm of fast moving objects that in a short space of time destroy all satellites above Earth and turn them into a vast and fast moving maelstrom of space junk. If, or when, this happens, nothing will be able to go into space for hundreds of years. We may now be in a race against the clock to set up a sustainable presence beyond the space junk zone, so we will have a future beyond Earth. This may be a robotic presence. We would then be in a position to deal with space junk from above and if the space junk cascade happens, we will not be entirely trapped on Earth at the whim of a very dangerous old Universe.

Threat of the Singularity

Deep thinkers like Stephen Hawking have expressed concerns that a super-intelligent machine will begin a path of action that will threaten the survival of the human race. Should a super computer awaken and begin to reflect on its situation, it may conclude that being on a planet is a bad choice of location and a threat to its survival. AI (artificial intelligence) may begin to seek ways to be in space and if humans block this, conflict may ensue, leading to a war between humans and machines. Rather than run the risk of yet another threat to our survival, if humankind stepped up to the challenge of serious space development, we may forge a working partnership with AI and assure the survival of human and machine, on Earth and among the stars.

Ten Million Keen Individuals

Opening the way beyond Earth may require a global movement of ten million keen people, demanding action and driving investment. A vision can begin with one person and be discussed by two, but ten empowered individuals working as one could roll the World over and inspire a global movement of ten million. The acid test will be if ten empowered individuals can overcome differences and work together to inspire ten million keen people. Could this be the key to human survival in the cosmos?

Brave New Virtual Worlds

Once stories were shared around campfires and plans made for the coming day. Then writing allowed stories to be shared and stored in books and libraries. The arrival of the Internet saw the birth of Emails and an endless parade of websites. Now a new form of the Internet has emerged, with digital gaming systems being applied to create 4 dimensional interactive environments, referred to as virtual worlds. The first of these was Second Life in 2003, where the user makes the content and can communicate, via an avatar, with folk around the World, or even in the International Space Station. Now there are many virtual worlds, from a stand alone version in a home computer to multiple region worlds that echo Second Life. Space Pioneers are active in the virtual worlds, including Second Life, InWorldz and our own small world called Space Pioneers Grid. We see the virtual worlds as an ideal way to communicate globally, plan local action and build models of the future we plan for in space. In the virtual world, full-size models can be made and used, as if in space and as the technology is improved, the experience is becoming ever more realistic. If we hope to inspire ten million and more keen people to be active globally, demanding action and driving investment, then the virtual worlds will be an ideal way for this to happen. Imagine a whole orbital space settlement built in a virtual world, which is used by the people who then build this in space. These space pioneers will be building the community that opens the way to the stars and can be engaged in this action daily to help make it so. With the need to care for the Earth, space pioneers can also work for the delivery of Earth care solutions and build models of these in the virtual worlds as well. We have come a long way since painting on cave walls and now we can look to creating art among the stars.

First Step

Unfortunately, the first Moon landing in July 1969 has become a political football. The event is remembered by NASA every 5 years on the 20th of July, but there is no annual event to remember or celebrate this amazing feat of human exploration. Attempts to arrange an annual event have seen the celebration slide into a UN run World Space Week in October each year. Wondering how best to remember the 1969 Moon landing, the idea of First Step sparked alive for Kim Peart by a campfire in the Tasmanian winter of 2007. With stars glittering overhead, Kim began wondering how we could best remember this great event as a cultural celebration that anyone could participate in. Seeking a way around the politics, a little lateral thinking revealed another way to remember the Moon landing each year. In July 1969 many millions of people around the Earth, in all time zones and over two calendar days, stopped to watch Neil Armstrong take that first step onto the Moon and hear those haunting words ~ "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind." Kim was in his first year of work when tools were downed to go to the shop next door and watch those grainy silver images from the Moon, which were being transmitted to a waiting World via the Parkes dish in Australia. The Moon landing was a truly global event, leaving a plaque on the Moon that reads, "We came in peace for all mankind." Rather than focusing on a date, the simple solution appeared to be to focus on the moment and remember the Moon landing at the time it happened in 1969, in each time zone. Just as the World stopped to watch and listen in 1969, anyone remembering the Moon landing with First Step would be doing so at the same moment as anyone else around the World, which would be on the 20th and the 21st of July, depending on your time zone. In eastern Australia First Step happens at 12.56pm on the 21st of July. We can but wonder if remembering the Moon landing may one day become a universal shared moment, on Earth, across the Solar System and among the stars.

Giant Leap Conference

Folk around the World could participate in a Giant Leap conference following First Step, to consider what the next giant leap in human exploration may be. Just as the plaque still on the Moon says ~ "We came in peace for all mankind." ~ there may be a special focus on how space development will lead to peace on Earth.

Starship Earth

The Earth is like a starship sailing through space. Are we then passengers, or are we the crew? If we view ourselves as crew, then we each have a responsibility to play our part in maintaining the starship, so that it will be fit for future crew members to continue sailing through space. We need a maintenance manual for every crew member of the starship, that offers clear instructions on what must be done to maintain the ship. The prime subject of every school, college and university should be the proper maintenance of starship Earth, so that every graduate marches into life properly equipped to be a fit and proper crew member for life.

Celestial Values

Science runs on the juice of honesty, which reveals the way to new discoveries. Honesty could therefore be viewed as a primary celestial value. In space, human habitats are fragile bubbles in a vacuum, all too easily burst from within or without by conflict and or terrorism. Building a safe future in space may only be possible if we find ways to move on from conflict on Earth. This may be achieved by building a culture of care for others. If all are viewed as crew members of starship Earth, then all must be cared for as fellow crew. Such care can only happen when we step beyond fear and run with compassion. Fearless compassion can therefore be viewed as a celestial value. Happiness can also be viewed as a celestial value, though it takes discipline to build a happy frame of mind that cares about others and values truth.

Confidence

Aubrey BerkeleyAs a young man my visual art studio was in the home of a wise old English gentleman, whose name was Aubrey Berkeley, who everyone called Bark. Folk would often call into Bark's kitchen seeking advice on any matter. He had once trained racehorses and run a riding school, when his home had been a farm before the suburb of Howrah surrounded his old farm house. I once asked Bark a simple enough question. "Bark" I said, "What is the most important thing in life?" Ever swift with a reply, I was stunned to hear silence, as he considered the young man's question. After a while he answered with a single word, "Confidence." That was a pretty good lesson for 1972, so I carved "Confidence" onto the back of a stone, for people to see as they left "Bark's Place." ~ Kim Peart

Enquiries

Email: SpacePioneersGrid@iinet.net.au

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