Jul 31 2010

The Way Space Really Works

Recently a good friend of mine — a member of the great Apollo generation, those who actually used their engineering, scientific, and management expertise to send us to the Moon — was lamenting the current dormant state and uncertan future of the U.S. space program, and asking how we can change this.

His bottom line was, “What needs to be done?”
(This post is my slightly altered response.)

These same issues came up in Freeman Dyson’s talk at ISDC 2010 recently. What we should do is keep working and be patient. But we won’t have to wait much longer…!

Here’s the way space really works …

Global space advocates — Young and Old — You make space work
And this BOOM’s for You!


Big Apollo-style programs (e.g., the Panama Canal) come in cycles. To develop political support for them requires many people in society to feel like they’re “getting ahead”, and that requires a John F. Kennedy-style economic boom which “lifts all boats.”

1) The reason no one’s been back to the Moon in 40 years is simple: There hasn’t been a Kennedy-style boom since the 1960s …
Click: Why 40 years?

2) Complexity theory gives us insight into the punctuated equilibrium character of great explorations from Apollo all the way back to Lewis and Clark … and to sketch the future …
Click: Space – The Fractal Frontier

3) I think the new international Space Age is almost upon us (within 3-5 yrs). And part of the reason is, ironically, the financial Panic of 2008 and our current great recession …
Click: 10 Space Trends

4) I first experimented with some of these ideas in Space Policy in 1996 but didn’t really get interested in it until, of all things, NATO had an international conference in Portugal in 2005 on how long-term economic trends might be influencing warfare and global security. And in my talks to all kinds of audiences over the last several years, my experience is that if you can actually personally remember the 1960s it will probably be easier to grasp than if you’re younger.

But in fact, given current trends, young people — especially if you were born before 2000 — are in for a wonderful cosmic ride.
Click: Young people and their new Space Age

One response so far

One Response to “The Way Space Really Works”

  1. Carnival of Space #165 « Cumbrian Skyon 04 Aug 2010 at 6:28 pm

    […] Many people, myself included, fear that we really have stalled in our efforts to get people off Earth and start spreading out across the solar system, and are frustrated that there are no signs of our self-imposed exile on Earth ending. But there are optimists out there, and one of them is Bruce Cordell, who firmly believes that manned space exploration is just half a decade away from receiving a seriously hard kick up the backside. Why? You’ll have to go to his inspiring and thought-provoking 21st Century Waves blog to find out how space “really works”… or will work in 2015… […]

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