30 March 2009
Space Renaissance Initiative – Press Release
Press conference 2009 March 31st - 16.00
British Interplanetary Society - 27/29 South Lambeth Road - London, UK
The Space Renaissance Initiative (SRI) will present a proposal to ignite a space economic revolution on 2009 March 31st, before the G20 summit.
The proposal is a simple priority-driven agenda: to develop low-cost civilian space transportation, orbital and sub-orbital space tourism, lunar industrialization, space-based solar power, and the use of near-Earth asteroids to build space infrastructures. These include research and industrial settlements on the Moon; orbital stations, resources utilization, space hotels, service facilities and space debris collection.
This is not speculation. All of these goals can be achieved within the first half of this century. By the second half of this century, based on the experience gained in near-Earth space, Mars and the Martian moons will be settled with the long-term goal of terraforming the red planet.
In order to help the development of the civilian space industry, we recommend governments should provide incentives in the form of tax abatements and financial help for companies working in the space industry; new investment funds for space tourism and the space industry; and special programs geared towards universities and other educational systems. These policies also extend to private organizations, individuals, space agencies, and financial institutions.
Governments can invest public money toward the new space economy through space agencies (primarily devoted to science and exploration), more commercially oriented agencies (to be chartered), and private enterprise, for the industrialization of the Moon-Earth region.
With a current population of almost seven billion people, human growth on planet Earth is rapidly becoming unsustainable. Problems stem from a shortage of raw materials and lack of inexpensive and accessible energy. This dearth of resources, which results in continuous global economic recessions, could cause our civilization to implode to one billion within the end of this century, with increasing risk of humanity falling back to pre-technological ages.
The only fundamental solution to assure continued growth of civilization is to open the high frontier and start surveying the resources of the solar system. Space contains unimaginable amounts of unexploited resources on the Moon, asteroids and other planets. Establishing a foothold off-Earth would also protect humanity from planet-wide catastrophes....
In the paper itself, it they say:
We are in the second act of the "Crisis of Closed-World Ideologies", which has been developing throughout the 20th Century. This is a crisis that has seen the reaching of limits, and the failure of both collectivist and traditional free-market or neo-liberal ideologies that are based upon economy, politics, and community being limited to a closed-world, earthbound view of life.
There are now almost 7 billion humans making massive demands on planet Earth and all bounds of sustainability are being broken. In short, we cannot go on, with any scheme, short-term or long-term, with any ideology or pact, that does not extend our industry, our economy, our security, our inhabitation, beyond the bounds of this planet. What is remarkable and also should be a breath of relief, is that the means to do so are totally within our grasp and arguably more economical, more affordable, more acceptable (to both leaders of nations and to mass populations), than could be imagined even a few years ago.
We urgently need to open our frontiers and move to a wider vision of what is our world and our economy, accessing geo-lunar system resources and energy, using space today for our earthly security and for the defense of the planet itself, and employing space as the unifying bond itself that will enable G20 and other nations to pull together out of this current crisis. In short, we need a new "Open World Philosophy" that is not in words and ideas alone but in the practice of building, living, using vehicles, habitations, power stations, and factories that are merely a few miles above our heads.
The alternative is totally unacceptable and totally inevitable, the implosion and collapse of our civilization, an act that would amount to self-inflicted global terrorism. But this alternative is thankfully avoidable, and at a “price” and “risk” far lower than more traditional measures that many have been considering.
The Space Renaissance Initiative (SRI) is one group that has emerged with a synergy of practical ideas and steps for your direct consideration. We have papers, plans, and people, and minds that have taken on directly the challenge of today’s economic, security, and social crises. We request the opportunity, in the course of this important and indeed critical G20 Summit, to present what SRI believes will match well with that you are seeking in the manner of solutions that can be implemented today and tomorrow to address our world’s most pressing problems.
There are encouraging signs, pointing the way out of such confinement: in 2004, Scaled Composites proved that low-cost space travel for industry and consumer use is feasible. Both China and India have had the Moon in their sights, and several long-standing European Union space programs have begun to be launched into operation. Remarkably, we have several economies with high rates of unemployment and deep problems with credit and financing for business ventures that are aptly poised for design, testing, manufacturing, and use of near-earth and low-orbit facilities that will generate revenue in short order, with low risk. Governmental financial aids, should be given not only to obsolete industrial segments, but to the most promising industrial revolution of our age. These include the development of low cost Earth-Orbit civilian passengers and cargo transport systems, space-based solar power, industrialization of the Moon,
protection against asteroid collisions, use of near Earth asteroids resources to build the space infrastructure, and consumer-based sub-orbital travel.
This is Economy and this is Revitalization on a planetary yet very pragmatic and bottom-line scale! Any closed-world strategy can only be a short respite that will result in tragedy, as the 1930’s Depression ended with World War II. Today, it is far too likely that our Crisis will end with a cascade of system and infrastructure collapses, augmented and followed by global warfare including the use of weapons of mass destruction; such is our likely fate if we do not reach outside our world to obtain new resources, new energy, and new lifestyles.
If a nation is defined by shared ideals and commitments among its people, then we as G20 and as Earth also can share in a special union that enhances and does not diminish our individuality, our national integrities. We can speak of being unified through a true “Space Renaissance” that preserves national interests while strengthening our collective ability to survive and sustain our civilization and our planet.
We respectfully ask, therefore, to you, the Representatives attending this G20 Summit, to receive our recommendations, and to enable a Space Renaissance Initiative representative to submit our proposals to you during the course of this Summit or as soon as such meetings may be scheduled.