Flying space cites that orbit the earth were once thought only possible within the dark realms of a sci-fi writer’s grey matter, but space settlements could be a very tangible reality before the century’s over, according to NASA contractor, Dr. Al Globus.
The space settlement expert and contractor for the NASA Ames Research Center in California, believes humanity’s future lies in rotating structures that would house hundreds of thousands of people and orbit the earth.
Logically speaking, huge habitats full of humans floating around in space is the next step for a species which has spread to every corner of the globe, but colonizing Earth’s orbit is no walk in the park and it’ll take time and a lot of collective determination, but the good doctor suggests he’d be astounded if the human race didn’t make some space in space in which to live.
“Whether [space settlements] will happen or not is really hard to say. Whether it can happen, absolutely. If we as a people decide to do it, we can do it. We have the scientific capability, financial capability, there is simply no question we can do it.
“We could have the first space settlement in decades, certainly less than a century. If no major disaster strikes in the next few centuries, I would be astounded if we didn’t do it.”
If anyone knows about the possibilities of space settlement, it’s Dr. Globus. With experience of working on the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle Program, the doctor knows at thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to the final frontier.
The Daily Mail reports that Dr. Globus is so fascinated by the possibility of space settlements, that he has initiated NASA’s annual Space Settlement Contest, which challenges students to create space colony designs.
He believes fervently that in the future people should have the opportunity to visit flying space cities in earth’s orbit as easily as they travel from London to New York. In fact, he believes it is essential for the survival of the human race.
“Space settlements would be ‘a place to live, raise your kids, where your friends and family have Thanksgiving dinner and celebrate Christmas, and visit Earth on vacation.
“It’s the same purpose as any town or settlement or city has. The way species get endangered and wiped out is by being dependent on a limited environment. Humanity started in East Africa and now live on literally every continent – even Antarctica – albeit for a small time. We live in snow, jungle, deserts, savannas, forests; we have spread out about as far as we can spread out, and the next step is to move to space.”
Dr. Globus explains that the flying space cities would have a rotating habitat which would provide artificial gravity for the inhabitants, so people who spent a prolonged period in space could still cope with Earth’s gravity. Yet he’s quick to admit that such a project doesn’t appear to be financially feasible at present.
“There is one circumstance we could easily afford it, and that’s if the people of Earth decided to stop killing each other and spend all that time and money on space settlements.”
Even if the funds were forthcoming, Dr. Globus still believes our current technology and infrastructure is still not sufficient to tackle the task, but he remains optimistic that the necessary knowledge needed to build a fully-functioning and flying space city will soon be at our fingertips and we can boldly go where no man has gone before.
“In two or three decades we might have a couple of small hotels [in orbit], and people moving in on a regular basis. Then at some point somebody will notice if you are old and infirm you might like to live on a space hotel, because you wouldn’t be subjected to a 1G hotel and you wouldn’t need a walker or wheelchair.
“I can foresee someone building a retirement home in low gravity; after a couple of years you won’t be able to come back, but if you’re facing 15 years of sitting in a wheelchair you might not want to do that anyway.
“And once that step is done, people living in space permanently, then it’s not a big step to build a space settlement in orbit. All that is on a time scale measured in decades, or in the worst case centuries.”