Thursday, August 11, 2011

Chapter IV: New Habitats For Humanity

Of course, title of this chapter is an attention grabber. Did O'Neill coin this term, or did someone borrow it from him?  The author is silent on this subject, it seems, so I googled it and found it on the wikipedia.  There doesn't appear to be anything there either that answers the question, but I didn't read it all.

At any rate, O'Neill continues to discuss the advantages of space over terrestrial living.  As of yet, I don't see any nuts and bolts methods for getting his colony into place, but little pieces here and there suggest themselves.  For instance, he says that to get stuff off the moon would cost only 3 dollars a pound.  That is in seventies dollars, but if you adjust for inflation, it is still going to be cheap, relatively speaking.

As mentioned earlier, the information here is out of date.  This was before water was found on the moon, and the other two elements that he referred to as being hard to find- nitrogen and carbon- may yet be found in abundance in permanently shaded craters on the moon.  Hence, we may find everything we need for life support on the moon.

He does mention that parabolic mirrors might be possible in order to focus sunlight on a small point.  This is intriguing to me, if it can be done in such a way as to produce significant amounts of power, it may be beamed back towards the surface as a power source.  The power source could be for spacecraft, or for living on the surface.

An economic basis for lunar colonization begins to take shape.  As a way station outward from Earth that can support itself and finance the continuation of the outward expansion.

He finishes the chapter with a discussion of Tsiokovsky.  He was looking to see if anyone had already written along the lines he was thinking, and so there was this Russian who did.

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