Join Donate

Share Your Story • Earl Guthridge • September 4, 2014

It's time we began our journey to the stars

I am a 70 year old retired man living in the state of Florida. Growing up in Pennsylvania, I can still remember dreaming about being an astronaut in my teen years in the late 50's and early 60's. About 6 years ago I started to become aware of new and emerging technologies that could make space colonization a real possibility for mankind. 3D printing, advances in nuclear fusion research technology, and building a space elevator with carbon nanotubes are some of the many that caught my attention.

I feel that we must master the power of the Sun (nuclear fusion) if we are going to be completely self sustaining and break our reliance on our Sun for energy. These last 5 years or so have been a real learning experience for me, because I am on the internet so often trying to find information on the many technologies involved in orbital space colonization. I have also learned just how massive our Solar System really is, especially if you include the Oort Cloud. Just to travel to the inside boundary of the Oort Cloud is 93 billion miles from our Sun. Then you're looking at a distance of 1.6 light years just to travel through it. Some estimates have it containing over a trillion icy objects, which we know as comets, if and when they enter the inner Solar System. Perhaps, once we have colonized the Solar System including the Kuiper Belt and hopefully mastered nuclear fusion technology, then the Oort Cloud could be the next frontier with water and other raw materials needed for future expansion on our way to the stars.

When you stop and think about it, as big and wonderful as our world is, it is a fixed growth environment with only so much water and so much real estate and that's it. On the other hand, humanity has unlimited growth potential. Because of those facts, I feel that our best option is to strive for orbital space colonies, because once we have mastered the creation of them, then we can create them on demand. Relying only on the colonization of another fixed growth environment like Mars would only be a temporary solution. Possibly, we have the perfect element to use in much of the construction of these super massive structures which would be carbon. With carbon down at the atomic level, when you can get all four electrons in the valence orbital shell to participate in the bonding process, you have one of the strongest materials known to man. Carbon nanotubes are a great example. The naturally occurring solid carbon material, diamonds are the hardest substances as a result of its atoms four point bonding structure. Carbon, which comes from the lower end of the Periodic Table, requires only two orbital shells to contain all of its electrons. A full complement of two electrons in its inner shell and the remaining four go in the outer or valence shell.

3D printing is one field that really excites me, because we haven't even begun to scratch the surface yet in this technology. In the decades to come after we have enhanced our expertise in space exploration and colonization, while also making considerable advances in 3D printing precision possibly down to the molecular or atomic level, maybe we should be looking into mining the atmosphere of Venus which is over 96 percent carbon dioxide. When you consider the size of Venus and the extreme density of its atmosphere, that's virtually an unlimited supply of carbon and oxygen for future space colonization. Of course I am assuming that by then we have already mastered a technique for separating the two elements from carbon dioxide. A question that I would like to ask someone in the science community is "IS ANYONE DOING ANY RESEARCH INTO USING CARBON DIOXIDE GAS AS AN INPUT SOURCE IN THE PRODUCTION OF CARBON NANOTUBES". Researching the internet turned up only 3 universities that were doing research in that area. One in China, one in India, and one in Johannesburg South Africa.

To say that I am obsessed with any technology dealing with the creation of and the development of space colonies would be a gross understatement. I feel that the habitability of Earth is only temporary and that one of those doomsday scenarios that you're always hearing about, will eventually occur and without space colonies, as a species we will go the way of the dinosaur. Being in my 70's I realize that I won't be around to witness the reality of space colonization, but I would love to see someone or some organization getting the ball rolling in that direction. It's time we began our journey to the stars.

Comments & Sharing
Bill Nye and people
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today

The Planetary Fund

Help advance robotic and human space exploration, defend our planet, and search for life.


You are here: