Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]




102 Morris Drive

Laurel, Maryland 20810

United States of America, Earth

TELEPHONE [301] 498 9270

Statement for the Record

by Charles E. Tandy (attachments include biography)

"Future Space Programs"

Committee on Science and Technology

U. S. House of Representatives


To perhaps oversimplify one aspect of the question
of future space programs, I would like to present three
so-called "alternative futures", not just for the United
States, but for the world. I think which future becomes
reality may depend to a surprisingly significant extent
on what is decided in the near future by the relatively
few members of this committee (compared to over 4,000 million
members of the human species). It is perhaps appropriate
that this question originates in the House of the people
rather than with the Senate, the President, or even the
United Nations.

One possible future is for NASA to continue at its
present more or less subdued pace. In light of the testimony
at these hearings "spelling out" the great opportunities
space offers to industry, employment, and the human condition
this approach is clearly irresponsible and will not be
discussed further herein.

The other approach, then, is for NASA to quicken its

perhaps, for example, taking a realistic and flexible



step-by-step approach such as that previously detailed in these hearings by Gerard K. O'Neill or G. Harry Stine. The real question in my mind therefore becomes whether we will treat the so-called "high frontier" program as a space program or a people program. By "treating it as a space program", I mean looking at it from a narrow technological short-run point of view which no doubt will aid industry, increase employment, and probably improve the human condition and devoid of any overarching long-term ethical (rather than technical) goal. I propose a more comprehensive human long-term "high frontier" program with an explicitly stated overall ethical goal and timetable to strive for.

Does it really make much difference whether we take

a "space program" or "people program" approach? I suggest
it may be one of the most important decisions in the history
of the human species.

It is not often we get a chance to eliminate all human
poverty and end all war. Specifically, for the first time
in human history we now have via space and space science
the practical means to acheive what the social scientists
have only speculated about. We may not get another chance
in centuries, if ever. There are realistic reasons why we
can stop spreading poverty and war beyond our tiny planet
when we have been unable to end it aboard ship. As urban
planners have noted it would be easier to build a new



city rather than have to work with a decaying old one.

Re "fighting" the population problem and giving "utopia" (democracy) a fair chance, the settling of America (not merely the slow evolution of Europe) was the road (unconsciously) taken. The difficult job of settling the American frontier seemed to a lot of people at the time to be a silly, nutty idea. The United States has been called the first new nation. And because we were new, we could idealistically but perhaps for the first time realistically give our ideals a fair ("neutral") chance. At the time, the miraculous results greatly surprised a large number of supposedly intelligent level-headed people.

But we have come a long way in 200 years. The question today is not whether a non-democratic government is a necessary evil. Democracy was very idealistic but perhaps it needed a new land, a new frontier, to also prove itself realistic. Today the question is whether we will end all human poverty and war. With only a few exceptions, space scientists admit that technologically we theoritically can end all human poverty via "the high frontier", possibly by the mid-21st century.

There are no doubt various space programs (past, present, future) which are exceedingly justified. These programs are not discussed herein. The program here in under discussion should more properly be viewed as a people program, not


a space program. A few points to keep in mind about this


1. Whether the program costs $50 billion or $500 billion (how does one put a price on ending all human poverty and war?), once the initial development (say, a few decades

at most) is done

no further funds will be required.

The space habitats will be entirely sef-sufficient, will

more than pay for themselves, and will without any additional funds manufacture more and better habitats.

2. The habitats will eventually prove to be not only Earth-like (grass, trees, etc.)


but even better than

Earth (no pollution, complete control over environment, etc.) They will be homes in space, not "space capsules".


3. Eventually, but, likewise, in the foreseeable future (before the mid-21st century, if we so decide now) millions, even billions (not just thousands) will be living in space. 4. This "people program" will greatly improve the lives of people on Earth re employment, energy (directly or indirectly), population, resources, and environment. 5. The space habitats may to some extent decrease the felt need of people or nations to "steal" from another. 6. The space habitats will allow-encourage social

diversity and experimentation, including ethical and existential evolution of the individual.

7. To be successful, the program will have to be multi


national or world in scope, and will allow members of the poorer nations to have major say re decision-making. A space polis would not "belong" to any one nation or group of nations. In some sense, they will be "free cities" but of course subject to certain laws all "free cities" are subject to.

8. In order to insure no more war

space lawyers, social scientists, nations of the world, the United Nations, and others will, for example, have to obtain agreements between the nations of the world now. In a few years

once we really get out there it will be too late. (At that point we might still be able to end poverty, but not war. I don't want any "Star Wars" in our future!)

In short, we do not want merely a "space program" to defend ourselves against doomsday. We want to take the offensive. The goal of ending all human poverty and war may not be acheived. However, it should be a consciouslystated clear-cut goal. Future historians may not give us much credit for defending ourselves against doomsday. Indeed, they may fault us for not taking the first (perhaps only) chance we had of ending all war and poverty. I believe we have only a few years at best to take advantage of this opportunity before events overtake us.

[ocr errors]


President Kennedy set the time table of before 1970 for our landing on the moon. With better luck, it might

« AnteriorContinuar »