Air University Review, January-February 1978
Dr. Krafft A. Ehricke
Far from being isolated in space, Earth is a spaceship with external supplies. The most fundamental commodity, energy, comes from an external source. Terrestrial environment and the biosphere run on the 1.5 billion billion kilowatt-hours of solar energy intercepted annually. Earth and space are indivisible. Only a few centuries ago did man begin to understand this indivisibility in terms of natural laws. Now we experience it by going into space and returning at will and by conversing with our automated scouts all over the solar system. In a few years this indivisibility will express itself in the productive industrial use of extraterrestrial environments.
There was a time when man was slow to accept the mounting evidence that Earth is not flat. Today it is necessary to understand that we do not live in a limited, isolated, closed world. Our world is open to the cosmos and contains all the future and growth potential the human mind can envision. But ours is not, and probably never will be, a problem-free world.
Humanity faces the most complex task of its history so far. Stated in a solution-oriented way, it is necessary gradually to reorganize this planet at two levels. One must deal with the competing necessities of biosphere and mankind with all their environmental and climatic consequences. On the other level, it is necessary to resolve the demands of competing nations and worlds within mankind's hierarchy of socioeconomic developmental levels and the "Christmas tree" of sociopolitical, ideological, and military consequences.
The way to solve a problem is to forge concepts that permit one to look beyond the problem. Even today's conflicts between humankind and the environment, so seemingly insolvable to catastrophists and antitechnologists, can be turned from conflict to juxtaposition of interests in the crucible of higher concepts. Such a concept is the realization that we can enhance the "supplies" to spaceship Earth, beyond energy, to include materials and information acquisition/transfer for the mainstream of human civilization.
We have not yet exhausted outright any needed resource. There are vast land areas, such as the Sudan and others, that could feed all mankind once developed. Minerals and energy abound on Earth and beyond if we have the resolve to develop them rather than retreat into stagnating stupor that would hurt our environment more than the advance of a benign industrial revolution taking into account terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments. Technology will not be the cause of our demise, but lack of willingness to advance it beyond the early, transitional state may be. Technology is the source of our options. Options are the basis of a future that keeps us above the level of pawns. Those who condemn technology, properly applied, eliminate our options. They commit the worst of all pollutions-the pollution of our future
To find the approaches to solutions that can properly safeguard the future of our civilization with its unparalleled contributions to the human factor of life, we need a better understanding of what we face. We need insight into the long past that shaped us and set our course-back to life's silent and successful struggle for survival and growth a primordial planet.
The Extraterrestrial Imperative is a manifestation of larger evolutionary cycles-an integral part of life's commitment expansion and growth. The reality of the biosphere testifies to this fact. This splendid system assures our planet's unique position as a colony of life for the duration of our star unless the climatic or genetic foundations are destroyed. When the planet's accessible (organic but abiotic) energy sources became exhausted some three billion years ago, life's response was a vigorous struggle for survival through growth. Certain organisms developed the enzymes needed to utilize solar energy. This shift to an extraterrestrial source was the first great industrial revolution on our planet. Driven by solar energy, the evolving chlorophyll molecule became the technical instrument by which to turn primordial energy and matter into chemical energy in biotic organic compounds. Mass production of the basic staples of life was initiated. The by-product, free oxygen, began to pollute the chemically nonaggressive environment of Earth and became a self-induced growth driver by which life stimulated itself into a giant evolutionary advance--a global biosphere--catapulting intelligent life into existence.
The point is that technology is as old as life. Technological advances and enlargement of the resource base beyond the limits of this planet became the bridge for survival and growth. A system evolved, so stable that it could tolerate the ascent of a new, intelligent life form able, in turn, to interact with primordial matter through its own technology. This is the basis for the new thrust of the Extraterrestrial Imperative. For small planets, such as Earth, the extraplanetary imperative is a necessity to ensure long-term survival. In return, this imperative offers a higher, virtually unlimited, evolutionary ceiling than appears available to much larger, exclusively planetogenic bioworlds as might have arisen on Jupiter.
The fact that neither technology nor reaching beyond Earth is exactly new, but natural growth options exercised before, puts the human reality of our time into perspective. The reality has two anchor points: (1) That the chlorophyll molecule and the human brain are the only true superpowers on this planet. They must find a way to coexist, and, not being intrinsically incompatible, they can. (2) That humanity does not live as a mankind but is "organized" as an aggregate of some 140 nations. Most of these nations strive to improve their standard of life or safeguard social standards achieved and extend them to the less advantaged. Without the means to grow--and, like it or not, these means include material resources and the ability to process them--general stagnation will create a shrinking-water-droplet world in which competition for growth turns into a grim struggle for survival.
In an industrial civilization, all nations tend to profit from technoscientific advances made by some. In a shrinking-water-droplet world, this humane symbiosis cannot last. When it breaks down, it will pull all into a maelstrom of regression, burdening both the biosphere and the hard-won standards of our civilization--possibly to the breaking point.
Space industrialization as a phenomenon of human development presents the systematic breakthrough into a new Open World at a time when many formerly open world characteristics on Earth (resource abundance, waste sink capacity) fade, and the terrestrial environment begins to assume the appearance of a closed world in relation to human activities. This has two important consequences: To man, the cause of the devolves the burden of preserving the terrestrial environment. Without projecting his productive capabilities beyond the terrestrial environment, man will not be able to carry the burden in the long run without severely stunting the human growth potential.
We cross into the new Open World through a multitude of environmental frontiers--subatomic, atomic, molecular, the cosmos of the human mind, and the cosmos of the universe. In pragmatic terms, in the Open World new environments are what it is all about; they are the source of all national wealth, the basis for all new options. Through their exploration and productive use (industrialization) both the spiritual and the material causes of mankind are advanced.
This concept permits us to see beyond what seems to be an irreconcilable confrontation of man and environment, unless humankind backs down into a no-growth mode. Our technology supports both of our main strategic options-a benign industrial revolution on Earth and an extension of our industrial capabilities beyond Earth. We can see more clearly that we are not stonewalled; we have choices. Therewith the buck stops again right here, with us. It leaves us a choice between two ways of life of either organizing scarcity or creating wealth.
Organizing scarcity reveals the resolve of a viable society to meet and overcome a state of need. The emphasis is on overcoming, because a healthy society will reject the notion of managing scarcity (not to be confused with prudence) as a way of life. Creating wealth is the natural state of life, and mature men and women understand that this is not synonymous with ever increasing consumptive affluence but is equally the basis for safeguarding and developing human values. Current criticisms of industrial lifestyles, which in fashionable zeal tend to exceed the bounds of justifiable cause, should not blind us to the fact that success in creating wealth underwrites a degree of human freedom and a level of social services unmatched by any other lifestyle or civilization, past or present. The quality of these industrial lifestyles sparks the incentives and sets the goals in many developing societies equally determined to set their own shade of life within industrialization. Greater productivity leaves more time to services and human development. Industrial progress without increased burden on the human environment prevents increases in productivity from becoming self-defeating.
The three initial space industrial product areas are information, materials, and energy. Once set up properly, space industrial systems in each of these areas are exceedingly productive. This has clearly been demonstrated by satellites for information transmission and sensory information acquisition. It is equally true for the energy and the material processing sectors. Through the development of space-related industries in the sectors of electronic (information-related) services, products, and energy, new jobs are created. The industrial resource base is broadened. The economies of industrialized and industrializing countries are strengthened. Public health and social services will benefit. The industrial use of space in the information services sector is already a reality, although the potential is far from exhausted. Beyond 1980 the Space Shuttle-based Space Transportation System (STS) will form the economic basis for broadening the commercial applications in the information sector as well as for developing the energy and product sectors.
Information transmission satellites have made great progress in the past decade in global communications, from Intelsat I (1965), with a capacity for 240 telephone circuits, a design lifetime of 1.5 years, and an investment cost $32,500 per circuit-year, to Intelsat IV-A (1975), with 6000 circuits, a lifetime of 7 years, and $1100 per circuit-year. Between 1965 and 1972, the typical Intelsat user fee per circuit-year had dropped from $32,000 to $9375. In 1979, Intelsat V (with ten years lifetime) will come on line, doubling the number of circuits at a possible cost reduction to $500 per circuit-year. Of growing importance is the field of domestic communications satellites, using channels leased from Intelsat spacecraft (as have Algeria and Norway) or dedicated satellites (U.S., Canada, Indonesia). Data exchange satellites designed for the transfer of wideband, high rate data blocks rather than voice or TV circuits are under development for business market in the U.S. and Japan. These will be the first to use rooftop terminals.
The increase in satellite antenna size, channel numbers, and radiated power, made possible by the STS, will accelerate the trend toward increasingly smaller Earth terminals. Direct-broadcast satellite systems and communication satellites to mobile terminals down to personal communication via handheld or wristwatch transceivers will then become realities in the 1980-90 decade. The latter group, in particular, has no competition from hardware links on Earth and only marginal competition from high-frequency radio. A first step in this field has already been taken. Marisat, stationed over the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans, provides shipboard and mobile offshore telephone circuits.
Behind these technological advances lies a momentous contribution to modern society. In the nineteenth century, economic growth rested on mass transfer, the transfer of goods from one location to another. In the first half of the twentieth century, the economic foundations shifted to the transfer of energy. Now, as society is based increasingly on services, information transfer will continue to rise in importance well into the twenty-first century. Beginning in the 1980s, growing numbers of people will telecommute rather than commute to work. If, by 2000, the expected mileage traveled in this country is reduced by 18 percent, the annual fuel savings correspond to some 700 million barrels of oil (at an average of 27 mi/gal) and at least $28 billion (at 60 ¢/gal and 5¢/mi).
There are more than 200,000 doctors' offices in this country today (general practitioners, specialists, and federal offices). Interconnection by office-to-office communication links permits such advances as ready consultation with specialists anywhere, instant updating on diseases, treatments, and medications, and expanded use of paramedics in mobile units. Eventually a global medisat system will make "home type" medical services available in the remotest areas, based on signals or even pictures defining the patient's state to supervising doctors. In developing countries, public health services can be improved much faster and at a far lower investment than could be hoped for without satellites.
Similarly expanded opportunities are provided in education, including special services to the handicapped and televised instructional courses for general education. To increase adult living competence is a much-needed service in our fast-changing time. Televised instructional courses with massive "enrollments" of tens to hundreds of thousands would reduce cost from hundreds to a few dollars per participant. Public order and safety, electronic mail directly to our homes, teletraveling, teleshopping, new ways of contacts between peoples all over the world, the expanded opportunities to tune into major scientific and cultural events anywhere in the world--including, eventually, activities in orbit, on the Moon and beyond--are other promises of the emerging era of space-based information transmission.
But the explosive growth in the capacity to transmit information also means an equal growth in the capacity to transmit misinformation. The potential for manipulating people's minds will increase accordingly. Again, the buck stops on the human desk, since technology itself is neutral. However, these dangers are a blessing in disguise. How else can we improve unless we face the dangers we pose to ourselves? It is the way of nature to immunize through infection, not to protect by creating a sterile environment.
The other branch of information services, namely, sensory information acquisition, is rapidly becoming integrated into the mainstream of economic and environmental activities worldwide. The well-known services from weather forecasting to crop measurement already are worth billions of dollars in agriculture and forestry, pollution control and public health, tourism and leisure time industries. As population, industrialization, and urbanization increase, reliance on information acquisition from space for the management of food, water, and land and. ocean resources will become indispensable. Our sensitivity to climatic variations will grow. Therefore, beyond weather forecasting lies the challenge of understanding the mechanisms and dynamics of regional and global climatic variations. NASA's plans for a large, eventually manned, Solar-Terrestrial Observatory in the late 1980s are of crucial importance. Certainly, by the turn of the millennium, the ability to assess man’s impact on climatic changes and the ability to forecast regional or global climatic variations will have become critical to the survival of civilization.
To educate without offering prospects for utilizing the improved human resources through meaningful employment can have destabilizing social effects. In industrialized countries, and even more so in developing countries, education must go hand in hand with economic growth to ensure adequate job markets in the production and services sectors. Here the key is energy.
Our present energy world is shrinking rapidly as continued global industrialization demands its expansion. To reverse this process, the development of coal, fission, solar, and fusion sources must be pursued. The age of cheap, abundant energy need not be over; but it is not only vital to our time, it is the most important heritage we can bestow on succeeding generations to ensure their quality of life on a planet from which we skimmed the richest and most readily accessible resources. In the energy sector, more than in any other, the future depends on our problem-solving capacity, for, as our bodies cannot exist long without breathing, our industrial civilization cannot last through a prolonged period of lack of available energy. Therefore, we cannot leave this problem to posterity. Our problem-solving capacity, in turn, is enhanced by adding a new industrial option bank in space.
In the space energy sector, one must distinguish between using energy in space for material processing and production, in order to reduce energy consumption within the biosphere, and utilizing space as a source of energy for use on Earth.
Photovoltaic systems are a natural for supplying energy to orbiting information and manufacturing systems. Here, NASA-planned power units from 50 to perhaps 1000 kwe size will be adequate, at least for the 1980s. For example, a very advanced person-to-person comsat with 1.2 million channels requires about 600 kwe.
Most anticipated space manufacturing processes indicate power requirements within 500 kwe. Due to the strength of the gravitational pull of Earth and the associated transportation costs, only items of relatively low mass but high quality and product value are economically competitive. In the lunar-industrial product sector, on the other hand, larger masses and cost-effective extraction of desired elements from lunar minerals and oxides are the key to economic viability. Here much higher power levels are involved. Unavailability of solar energy during lunar night and the desirability of underground extraction render fusion power particularly attractive.
Controlled fusion power is the key to the ultimate economy and versatility of space industrial productivity. Consequently, plasma research and experiments toward fusion reactors should be given high priority early in space industrial research and development planning. Fusion reactors are complex, with complex auxiliary systems for plasma heating and fueling, complicated blanket and shield structures, energy storage and tritium recovery, and handling. Nevertheless, it appears that operation in space can reduce many of the most difficult engineering problems. A magnetically confined fusion plasma requires a surrounding vacuum of 10-6 torr (1.3 billionth of an atmosphere). At lesser vacuum, the plasma pressure becomes impractically high. Space offers a vacuum of 10 –8 torr or less, greatly reducing plasma and required pressures.
Terrestrial vacuum chambers are relatively small because of the difficulties and cost of maintaining such high vacuum on the ground. Since 80 percent of the energy released by a deuterium-tritium reaction resides in neutrons that cannot be confined magnetically, the inner chamber walls are exposed to savage neutron flux densities, creating an environment that is comparable only to that close to a detonating hydrogen bomb. The resulting material problems are correspondingly severe. Moreover, wall particles are released as impurities into the vacuum. When these impurities get into the plasma, their presence raises the energy transfer by radiation out of the reaction zone, cooling the plasma, causing plasma instabilities, and possibly killing the reaction.
In large vacuum chambers, whose construction poses no basic problems in space, the neutron flux density to the wall is reduced, among other advantages. Thermal stresses, blistering, embrittlement, and other damage are reduced. Maintenance problems are facilitated, and the useful life of the material structure is prolonged. With more internal volume available and with the high external vacuum, conditions are greatly improved for overcoming the impurity problem. Additional advantages (also for terrestrial fusion plants) may be derived from space-manufactured stronger (more homogeneous) refractory metals or other alloys suitable as inner wall material.
For use on Earth, a transmission system must be added to the energy unit. Through space, energy can be transmitted at any wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum. But for transmission through the atmosphere, only selected wavelength regimes are suitable-primarily in the visible and the 10 to 15 cm wavelength microwave region. Transmission in the visible requires the redirection of sunlight by reflectors (space light). Microwave transmission must use large antenna arrays generating a coherent (i.e., laserlike, nonspreading) beam. Much smaller antennas are required if laser frequencies are used (for example, CO2 laser light in the infrared). But they appear practical only for energy transmission into the upper atmosphere (e.g., to power aircraft at high-altitude level flight) but not to ground stations.
For Earth, the solar option is particularly enhanced by space light beaming to Earth the most versatile and ecologically best integrated energy source. The reflector size and number are tailored to their functional requirements-night illumination (Lunetta), power generation (Powersoletta), and photosynthetic food production enhancement (Biosoletta). Typically, Lunetta and Powersoletta circle Earth at 4200 km once every three hours, continuously in sunshine (sun-synchronous orbit). The large Biosoletta system preferably orbits in a slightly elliptic, 24-hour orbit, highly inclined to cause minimum, if any, interference with communication satellites in equatorial geostationary orbit.
Lunettas can serve urban areas, remote industrial activities, rural areas in developing countries to facilitate night work where needed, and disaster areas. Controlled light is provided to specific targets for specified periods without cables and fuel consumption. It can be delivered quickly, removed without a trace, or furnish reliable, high-quality urban lighting even at cloudly skies or in fog, without danger of blackout.
Present city lighting, averaged over the urban area, equals about that provided by two full moons high in a clear sky. Most outdoor lighting requirements correspond to an illumination equivalent to between 100 and 1000 moons, in farm areas 50 to 300 moons. A Lunetta system with clear-sky illuminance of 700 moons (over 100 moons even at strong overcast) needs some 3.6 sq km of reflecting area, divided into 15 to 20 reflectors. Since they move across the sky, additional reflectors must be installed, raising the total to 27 sq km, but more than one city may be served. Individual reflectors appear as stars some 1500 times as bright as Venus--a beautiful sight, illuminating the city gently but distinctly from several directions.
Powersoletta enhances solar energy supplies to earthbound solar-electric central power stations. Reflectors (10 to 50 sq km) with a cumulative area of 1530 sq km beam one solar constant to a 1200 sq km ground area. Because of their motion, 11,500 sq km reflecting area must be installed. But at least three ground stations can be served in a latitude belt between 30 and 50 degrees. Powersoletta removes geographic constraints on solar central power siting. Latitude becomes comparatively less important than low-average overcast.
A ground station, at 1000 sq km of solar cell banks and 15 percent conversion efficiency, operates around the clock, yielding a net annual output of 45 to 65 million kilowatt-years, depending on local atmospheric conditions. Energy storage for baseload power is minimized. The output is of great economic and environmental significance. Over a three-year period, a 55-million kw-year annual output consumes 339 or 552 million tons of oil or coal, respectively; or requires a loading of 1807 metric tons of uranium in light water reactors, generating 63.2 tons of assorted fission products, 16.1 tons of plutonium isotopes, and 9.5 tons of long-lived waste.
People living within at least 50 km of the power station will experience night light intensity between midnight sun and bright aurora, due to light spillover. This could be avoided by operating Powersoletta at daytime. Certain reflectors are turned around to the Sun, beaming at those reflectors best positioned at the time to service the power station. The retroreflection technique may cut the reflecting area by some 30 percent. This technique requires extensive energy storage but no enlargement of the receiver area (the most expensive addition) because of double irradiation.
For the night Powersoletta, a cost at the bus bar of electricity (in 1977 dollars) of about 50 mils/kwhe is indicated during a 30-year amortization period, about 20 mils/kwhe thereafter. For the daylight system, 35 to 40 mils/kwhe and 15 mils/kwhe, respectively, are indicated. These numbers include a ground station cost of over $1000/kwe, twice the Energy Research and Development Administration (now Department of Energy) 1985 goal of $500/kwe.
The reflectors with adjustable facets use structures of carbon epoxy and fibers and membranes of kapton. All parts are coated in space with the optically best material, sodium. Recoated and serviced at about ten--year intervals, the reflectors should last 60 to 100 years. At a resulting sodium consumption of 1500 tons annually, a service station may be established at libration point L-4 or L-5 in lunar orbit, supplied with sodium mined onpower station will experience night light intensity between midnight sun and bright aurora, due to light spillover. This could be avoided by operating Powersoletta at daytime. Certain reflectors are turned around to the Sun, beaming at those reflectors best positioned at the time to service the power station. The retroreflection technique may cut the reflecting area by some 30 percent. This technique requires extensive energy storage but no enlargement of the receiver area (the most expensive addition) because of double irradiation.
For the night Powersoletta, a cost at the bus bar of electricity (in 1977 dollars) of about 50 mils/kwhe is indicated during a 30-year amortization period, about 20 mils/kwhe thereafter. For the daylight system, 35 to 40 mils/kwhe and 15 mils/kwhe, respectively, are indicated. These numbers include a ground station cost of over $1000/kwe, twice the Energy Research and Development Administration (now Department of Energy) 1985 goal of $500/kwe.
The reflectors with adjustable facets use structures of carbon epoxy and fibers and membranes of kapton. All parts are coated in space with the optically best material, sodium. Recoated and serviced at about ten-year intervals, the reflectors should last 60 to 100 years. At a resulting sodium consumption of 1500 tons annually, a service station may be established at libration point L-4 or L-5 in lunar orbit, supplied with sodium mined on the Moon (measured abundance in lunar samples 0.2 to 0.5 percent). The reflectors can commute to lunar orbit by a combination of solar pressure and electric thrust-in 300 days or less transfer time at a reflector weight of 75-tons/sq km.
To prevent night frost damage, Powersoletta excess reflectors can beam temporarily at the cold area to raise local temperatures and thereafter be reoriented to the power stations.
Biosoletta is applied most effectively to fertile ocean regions lacking sunlight for achieving full productive potential; that is, to circumpolar upwell areas. At some 100,000 sq km, the irradiated area should be ecologically self-contained. Seafood is a vital protein supplement. Based on Antarctic production figures and a 40 percent utilization factor of seafood produced, a Biosoletta alternating in 12-hour intervals between a 100,000 sq km "macropond" each in Arctic and Antarctic waters (50 to 70 degrees latitude) could generate an annual Antarctic yield alone of the daily protein supply (36 grams in about 220 grams of seafood) for 180 million people. Again, the Biosoletta reflectors can be serviced at a libration point to which they solar-sail in ten days to three weeks.
Even Biosoletta's energy influx constitutes barely 0.08 percent of the Sun's energy influx and, therefore, cannot affect the global climate. Locally, cold winds and strong currents dissipate the thermal energy rapidly. Biosoletta furnishes make-up radiation energy to power carbon assimilation. Solar radiation in polar regions delivers 0.7 trillion kilocalories per sq km per year, compared to between 1.2 and 1.6 trillion kg-cal/sq km year in tropical waters. Biosoletta "photonfertilizes" two tiny but bioproduction intensive "macroponds" (each about 1 percent of a 5-degree belt at 60 percent latitude) to approach the solar level at low latitudes.
Compared to Powersoletta, the microwave-type Space Power Satellite (SPS) alternative has a number of advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are reduced atmospheric losses, especially due to overcast, and the ability to shape the beam, thereby being able to irradiate relatively small areas from geostationary orbit; whereas a reflector's focal area increases with distance (barring costly special arrangements) and is about 100,000 km2 from geostationary orbit. For this, however, SPS pays with greater complexity of its space component. The system must accept the primary energy, convert it to electricity, convert the electricity to microwave energy, and shape the microwave energy into a beam of required specifications. If the primary energy
is solar, the low-radiation density determines the system's size (80-120 km2 for delivery of 10 million kilowatt at ground outlet) and its weight (50,000 to 75,000 tons for 10 million kilowatt), independent of the conversion system (photovoltaic or solar-thermal). For fusion as primary power, the waste heat radiator becomes the primary driver of system size and structural mass, depending on the conversion system. Generally, smaller sizes and weights are indicated. Powersoletta's thermal input, while far from critical, is higher, but a large number of microwave beams, each carrying millions of kilowatt power, may not be the publicly preferred option.
The disadvantages of the SPS are rooted primarily in the fact that microwave radiation at significant power densities is not part of the solar radiation input into the terrestrial environment. One consequence of this concerns ionospheric radio frequency interference, which causes power loss and can cause ionospheric heating. Through the limitation of maximum power intensity in the beam to about 17 percent of the Sun's radiation energy flux in the ionosphere (1.35 kw/sq m), this effect can he kept within acceptable limits. However, safety limits force the density at the beam's periphery to much lower values so that, including a safety zone around the receiver system, the required land area corresponds to an energy influx of about 2.5 percent of a solar constant on the ground (1 kw/sq m). For Powersoletta, the output per unit land area is about twice as large. Thus, SPS requires much more receiver land area than Powersoletta, even though the microwave beam can be shaped.
Space manufacturing looks commercially promising for a wide range of products. These lie primarily, but not exclusively, in the pharmaceutical, electronic, and optical sectors. In the pharmaceutical sector, it becomes increasingly desirable to separate and concentrate living cells capable of producing medically important substances. Under zero-gravity conditions in space, living cells, whose mass/charge ratios differ, can be separated efficiently and accurately by applying weak electric fields (electrophoresis). The effectiveness of this method is strongly impeded in the presence of a sizable gravitational force.
Electrophoresis has a wide range of medical and biological applications. An early promising use is the isolation of human, kidney cells that produce the enzyme urokinase, a substance with the potential effectively preventing and dissolving blood clots. Even at a present cost of $1200 per dose, the 500,000 doses currently needed annually in the U.S. alone cannot be produced by the present method that extracts one dose urokinase from more than one ton of urine The electrophoretic method can also be applied to separate other kidney cells that produce erythropoietin (an antianemia hormone stimulating the production of red blood cells in bone marrow); to a host of enzymes (blood proteins) controlling a wide variety of metabolic functions (and malfunctions); to white blood cells and antibodies (affecting tumor growth, transplant rejections, etc.); to chromosomes (X-, Y-types, affecting composition of cattle population through artificial insemination); and, possibly, to nerve cells (neurology). Even this list is not exhaustive. The consequences to medical and biological science and practice--from preventive, even predictive, medicine to agriculture--cannot even be estimated today.
In the electric/electronic product, value lies in the growth of mono-crystalline semiconductors of highest perfection and purity for a wide variety of applications. The same space features of null-gravity (eliminating convection currents in melts) and ease of levitation melting (no contamination through wall contacts) also permit the production of glasses of very high purity and optical quality as needed for high-power laser systems, fiber-optic transmission lines, and high-resolution optics.
The list of already recognized potential products is much longer. All meet requirements of high value and low mass that give them commercial viability and could favorably affect the balance of payments of the United States and other industrialized nations vis-á-vis the rising costs of raw materials from developing countries. From there, other product lines lead to larger mass items and special products for larger space systems. In the larger mass items category, for example, is the production of new metal alloys and near-perfect, friction-free bearings and pistons by alloying metals of widely differing specific gravity (which causes them to separate at surface gravity), such as aluminum and lead alloys for bearings and pistons. Automobile manufacturers have long attempted at great expenditure to create such alloys that could give many automotive parts a capability of at least 500,000 miles. Two items exemplify the products-for-large-space-systems category: the aforementioned use of sodium for coating space reflectors and the production of ultra-light (for operation in a low-g environment) high-quality solar cells.
Lunar material contains industrially valuable materials. The world reserves of some of these appear limited at present. But several factors militate against major imports to Earth of zinc, copper, nickel, manganese, or titanium from the Moon (or from translunar sources, such as asteroids). In some cases, technological advancements will lead to the commercial exploitation of progressively poorer grades, thereby enlarging terrestrial land reserves currently not counted. Large mineral deposits become accessible on the ocean floor. Recycling and substitutions offer additional options for stretching terrestrial metal supplies. Job considerations in the primary (extractive) and secondary (refinement to semifinished products) metal industries are an additional factor since it takes a long time to phase out such industries, especially in developing countries, prior to relying on large-scale extraterrestrial imports. This leaves as a comparatively closer prospect the advantages of the lunar environment (vacuum, low-g conditions at the surface, zero-g in an orbiting lunar factory) for generating superior products of comparatively high market value but larger masses than those that are most suitable for Earth-orbiting factories. Access to low-gravity supplies can also be important for large space constructions as are typically involved in the energy sector. For these, however, the most attractive construction materials (graphite composites, graphite fibers, epoxies, polyimides) are not available on the Moon. Therefore, the opportunities of taking advantage of lunar gravity to obtain construction materials for large space systems appear limited.
However, associated with the large masses of these systems are significant transportation requirements from Earth. If oxygen-hydrogen orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs) are used to lift these masses from near-Earth orbit (NEO) to outer, especially geosynchronous orbits (GSO), then, for each 100,000 metric tons of construction material delivered to GSO, the launch system must deliver also about 290,000 tons of oxygen to NEO for the OTV (plus 60,000 tons of hydrogen). For each ton of payload delivered to NEO, an advanced launch vehicle burns 11 to 15 tons of propellant in the atmosphere, releasing 8 to 11 tons of water vapor and 37,000 to 47,000 thermal kilowatt-hours. Whether the oxygen must be supplied from Earth, therefore, makes a difference of some 3.7 million tons of propellant burned in the atmosphere per 100,000 tons of cargo to GSO.
Lunar oxygen, therefore, can be an attractive substitute, especially since it ranks second in abundance behind silicon, and it can be extracted in large quantities by means of fusion power and requires no further processing. Of course, the need for oxygen can be eliminated by employing electric or advanced nuclear propulsion. But each of these alternatives has its own set of disadvantages and problems that keep the use of lunar oxygen a competitive option, especially since a lunar oxygen industry opens up a lunar industrial capability whose implications are not restricted to transportation. Another potentially attractive early option is a lunar service industry with selective resource utilization, taking advantage of low gravity availability as well as vacuum conditions on the surface. A case in point is the libration-point service station for Soletta reflectors with sodium and other selective resources supplied from the Moon.
Thus, the industrialization of space offers a new dimension of technology and productivity with a vast scope of opportunities in terms of electronic services, solar energy for Earth for illumination, electric power and food production enhancement, space factories, space fusion, and lunar industrial potentials. However, a great deal of hard-nosed research and development and of pragmatic, balanced in-depth assessment is necessary of the many opportunities as they come up. There will be disappointments as well as pleasant surprises.
More profound and inspiring than the technology, however, are human and socioeconomic implications. Understood in the perspective of the Extraterrestrial Imperative, space industrialization is the crucible in which the seemingly irreconcilable problems that cause such profound pessimism in the outlook of many can be resolved. Earth and space become one through the intelligence and the creativity of man.
In conclusion, let us take a brief look beyond. In the perspective of the evolutionary thrust of the Open World of Earth-space, exoindustrial productivity may be regarded as the first phase of extraterrestrialization, that is, the process of living in more than one world. The industrial facilities of this phase are Earth-related, directly or indirectly, as they should be. The people who make up the industrial teams in orbit or on the Moon are and remain terrestrials.
The people on Earth benefit from space industries. They are not asked to foot the bill for huge autarkical, colony-type factories housing thousands who, in turn, deprive terrestrials of even larger numbers of jobs.
The economic function of space industrialization is to generate jobs on Earth, not in space. Its most important international function is to assist in reducing the gap in the economic development of our global "North" and "South," not by lowering the standards of the North but by raising those of the South. This implies continued global industrialization. But as the world keeps industrializing, global competition for our country will increase and continue to erode the job base. Thus, for domestic as well as international reasons we need to open up a new industrial territory and make it works for people right here on Earth.
As the space industrial capability level and the skill of productive space utilization advance, the number of people living in space for a major fraction of their life span will grow. These people will develop new preferences as to g-levels and lifestyles no longer necessarily related to terrestrial physical or social conditions. They will "urbanize" their new worlds. Space stations and lunar abodes will become their primary home-Earth a place to visit or perhaps just to "experience" holographically, in the comfort of their gravity environment. The more antiseptic surroundings in space settlements could reduce resistance to diseases of those who live in them from birth. They may find the hygiene of Earth just as hazardous as we would find the hygiene of medieval cities or ancient Rome. Still, some space-born offspring may migrate back. Those who stay will continue to diverge sociopsychologically from the ways of terrestrial mankind, as Americans have diverged from their ancestral countries. They will become the new Homo Extraterrestris who no longer needs Earth, hence does not wish to simulate its environment slavishly.
Their readiness to achieve sociopolitical and resource independence will grow with the psychology of their extraterrestrial motivations and their technological ability to create new worlds in their totality. This will lead to Androcell, not a colony of Earth, but a sovereign, mobile, neocosm. Androcell is the new beginning, while back on Earth open-world conditions move toward a demographic and industrial equilibrium.
The Androcell phase is likely to follow the intermediate phase, exourbanization. Oversimplifying somewhat, one may say that exoindustrialization puts the machines and productive techniques into space; exourbanization introduces the human and biological elements; and extraterrestrialization integrates the two components into complete neocosms.
Each of the three evolutionary phases is justifiable by clearly identifiable prime objectives as well as by their impact in changing the consequence world. Each phase contributes to the capability and motivation to, progress to the subsequent phase. In third phase, we leave the harbor and emerge into the open sea of space, psychologically and socially speaking. Human history henceforth will pulse through many world-arteries that lose themselves beyond the horizons of our perception in the trackless infinity of space and time.
The civilization of the Androcell is truly three-dimensional, not only because the design of Androcell utilizes purposefully all gravity levels between axis and periphery of the rotating systems; but, more important, because living awareness between worlds, and between surfaces and Androcells, plays itself out in three-dimensional space. Through exoindustrialization (production facilities), exourbanization (Astropolis, Selenopolis) and neocosms (Androcells), the human life form may be regarded as returning to the three dimensional origin of all terrestrial life. The two-dimensional existence of Earth's land surface becomes an evolutionary benchmark wedge between the three-dimensionality of the finite oceanic womb from which life rose to the brightness of consciousness and the infinite cosmic womb in which it can rise to a level beyond our understanding.
La Jolla, California
Krafft A. Ericke (L.H.D.), National College of Education: M.S., Tech. University, Berlin) is head of Space Global, La Jolla, California. He was Executive Advisor for Advanced Programs and Assistant Director, Astrionics Division, at Rockwell International; with General Dynamics he conceived and managed development of America’s first oxygen-hydrogen upper-staged Centaur. He has participated in numerous missile and space programs, has taught celestial mechanics and flight operations at San Diego State University, lectured in all parts of the U.S. and overseas, and published several books, on space flights. He developed the concept of the Extraterrestrial Imperative with space industrialization as its first objective. He is an annual space lecturer at Air Command and Staff College and a recipient of the Air University Award.
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.