Planetary and Solar Resource Management, Biospherical Security and the New Space Adventure (excerpt)

by Elliott and Sharon Maynard

There are three reasons why, quite apart from scientific considerations, mankind needs to travel in space. The first reason is garbage disposal; we need to transfer industrial processes into space so that the earth may remain a green and pleasant place for our grandchildren to live in. The second reason is to escape material impoverishment; The resources of this planet are finite and we shall not forego forever the abundance of solar energy and minerals and living space that are spread out all around us. The third reason is our spiritual need for an open frontier. The ultimate purpose of space travel is to bring to humanity, not only scientific discoveries and an occasional spectacular show on television, but a real expansion of our spirit. – Freeman Dyson, 1979 - Disturbing the Universe. [1]


Over the past few decades, the development of computers, communications devices, cheap mass-transportation. satellites, and the global internet have expanded the human worldview from the few square miles, surrounding a local community, to an area which encompasses the entire surface of our Planet – extending beyond, into the most distant reaches of outer space. With this historically explosive leap in technology, we humans have acquired a "toolbox" of unique new technologies, which can be applied to monitor and protect Earth's precious biospherical resources, and also to extend the limits of our awareness and intellect. These are the issues explored in this chapter. The critical need for humans to manage Earth's precious natural resources is highlighted as follows, by author Stephen Had, in in his'" transformative book, Global Renaissance: "Since time immemorial the falling rains and changing seasons naturally cleansed the smoke and waste in the biosphere. But this is no longer true. Now in the global age, humans must manage the environment in ways which avoid the accumulation of materials contrary to our health, either directly or indirectly through the atmosphere, farmland and oceans which support life." [2]

A Holographic " Virtual Earth," A New Type of Global Information Resource

Through the global network of remote sensing satellites – the "Eyes" of Gaia"– we have, for the first time in history, achieved the capability to accurately monitor and diagnose Earth's vital biospherical parameters: atmospheric and water pollution, glacial and polar ice thickness, forest cover, desertification, oceanic current patterns, migrations of marine mammals, the status of global fish stocks, and the intricate dynamics of planetary weather patterns. Supercomputers connected into the satellite network can be used to create a holographic "Virtual Earth," a multidimensional model that could serve as a dynamic, real-time scientific information resource for citizens of every nation on our planet. Such a digitized Earth Program could be run either backward in time, to examine historical trends from past geological records, or forward into the Future, to simulate biospherical scenarios such as the melting of the polar ice caps, rising sea levels, or fluctuations in the Arctic and Antarctic ozone holes. Such a "Virtual Earth" would allow scientists. scholars, school children, or anyone with access to a computer to virtually "fly" over the surface of the Earth, plunge into the deep ocean depths to explore thermal vent communities, or climb to the top of Mt. Everest – all without ever physically leaving their chairs. The concept of a Central Computer – which monitors and regulates global society, was envisioned by futurists Ken Keyes, Jr. and Jacque Fresco as early as 1969, when they described a six-foot diameter sphere named Corcen, which would network and integrate computerized information, and serve as a "knowledge bank" that would regulate the lives of individuals in future global society, and coordinate what they referred to as a "humanized man-machine symbiosis."[3] . . .  continues