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Hold for Release
Statement for the Record
Frederick H. Osborn, Jr.
Hudson River Conservation Society
Putnam County Bicentennial Commission
Subcommittee on Space and Space Administration of the
Committee on Science and Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
America needs a new frontier.
Leaving Europe, sailig the Atlantic and carving homes from the wilderness selected for our progenitors men and women with a low tolerance for the status quo, high courage and a sense of adventure. Many of us have inherited these qualities. They make for a cantankerous citizenry, but one singularly responsive to challenge. But where is the frontier today? Taking over other people's territory by slaughtering the natives has gone out of style. We are beginning to recognize the fragility of the delicate planetary shell on which we live. Photos taken by the Apollo astronauts helpd that. It won't stand much more crowding and exploitation. The old earth is pretty well filled up; so we grow radicals, hippies, and flower children today instead of sturdy pioneers.
We can open frontiers within ourselves, try to
live small, and limit our growth, but our instincts for adventure and freedom may not be able to adapt to such restructuring.
Or we can go up and out hundreds and thousands of miles above us, to where there is virtually unlimited Synthesized energy; where gravity can be synthised by using centrifugal force; where hard vacuums, so expensive to produce on earth, are free; where temperatures range from close to absolute zero to millions of degrees to power new jobs; where new sources of raw materials are available on the
moon, among the meteoroids and asteroids, and the moons
of other planets. These are wide open spaces to which the "endless" prairies of colonial pioneer days are crowded Tokyos.
For a while the space between the planets will be harsh and unforgiving, just as this land of ours was harsh and unforgiving in the early days. Our government should build the highway to the frontier, and help the early settlers, just as earlier governments sent out the Lewis and Clark Expedition, aided the transcontinental railroads, provided grants of land. We wouldn't have won the West without that help.
First there will be work cubicles, like Skylab, or the Soviet Soyuz now orbiting above us, from which men and women will build power stations for sending energy to earth via microwave. Such power stations can make the United State an energy exporting nation again without desecrating our environment. It will be possible to repair communications satellites. Scientists will do research with orbiting telescopes and sophisticated instruments without atmospheric interference. There will be servicemen for sarkk satellites which observe the weather and survey the earth for minerals and fuels. There will be manufacturing modules to make quality crystals for computers. The Soviets are working on all this, as reported in the Christian Science Monitor of January 13th. There will
be explorers searching for raw materials among the meteroids.
When the work force increases the work cubicles will increase to space habitats, and the habitats to colonies, just as the sod huts of the prairies increased to towns, and the towns to Memphis, Houston, and Los Angeles.
Advancing the opportunities for using the space of the Solar System for the benefit of humankind should be a national goal.
During these hearings you are being told by experts that the technology is feasible. You know this is true because Apollo, Skylab, and Viking have shown the way. You know, too, I hope, that the billions spent on the moon landings have been returned to the economy many times over. One hundred and one nations participate in the communications satellites, all making money on their investment. The advance in computers is one of the mainstays of our economy. The weather and earth sensing satellites are more than paying their way. In the past quarter century nothing the government has done has been such a success. This is something to build on! It is one of the very few things that has given the taxpayer back more than he has paid in.
I have a specific request to make of this Committee. I want to see a receiving antenna, a rectenna, receiving energy from a satellite solar power station via microwave.
I would like to see it over the horizon off the south
I would like to put in a bid for a Satellite Solar Power Station for New York City now. I would like to. see one operating within my lifetime, paying back the taxpayer's investment and serving as a prototype for providing the rest of the nation and the world with power. Under the pressure of World War II our country developed the atom bomb from chain reaction to Hiroshima in three years, the Manhattan Project.
President Carter, in his first speech on energy a year ago said the energy problem was so serious it should be attacked on a wartime footing. Satellite Solar Power Stations are a much simpler concept than atom bombs. We know far more about them than we did about isotope separation in 1942. Arthur D. Little and Boeing have told me seven to eight years at Apollo pressure would