"Behind the headlines about billionaire jaunts into space, there's a deeper
motivation – the belief that spreading into the cosmos will save humanity's
future. How did this idea emerge?
In the mid-1970s, the physicist Gerard O'Neill was reflecting on humanity's
deep future in space – and concluded that his peers were thinking about it
wrong. Lots of people talked about settling other planets, but he realised that
there wasn't actually that much suitable real estate within the Solar System.
Much of the planetary surface for building settlements exists within harsh,
punishing atmospheres, and since rocky worlds and moons have gravity, going
back and forth would be fuel-intensive.
Instead, O'Neill imagined enormous floating settlements, not too far away from
Earth, shaped like cylinders. People would live on the inside, within green,
forested towns, lakes and fields. It was a far-fetched idea, but thanks to the
awe-inspiring visualisations that accompanied it – like the one below –
O'Neill's dreams would influence a generation. And one of those people made
international headlines this week."
Via Robert Sanscartier.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics