About The Author
D. R. Prescott has written a novel, a collection of short stories, a nonfiction book, a collection of essays, planetarium show/display scripts, two family histories, technical articles and business plans as well as written for and edited several newsletters.
Awards and published work include Writers' Journal, Long Story Short, Taj Mahal Review literary journal, The Orange County Register, Writer's Digest, and Writing.com and four books among other challenges.
As a former aerospace executive and planetarium program director, Prescott currently writes and explores life in Orange, California.
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"Sentience can be annoying."-DRP Abt. 1990
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Since 2008, Prescott has been a regular contributor of
essays and short stories to
The Taj Mahal Review Literary Journal
Get your copies now at: http://tajmahalreview.com/
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O R D E R   T O D A Y !
Why off-Earth?
by D. R. Prescott

We went to the Moon for one primary reason—beat the Russians. Other lesser reasons were dwarfed by the international Space Race. Having done that, we lost our way and abandoned lunar exploration. Only now, is the public getting a glimmer of how fragile our planet really is and that sustaining a growing civilization on it is ultimately impossible without drastic measures. If the human species is to continue to grow and prosper, the Earth is not the place. (See my earlier blog, TOO MANY PEOPLE, at: http://www.inkspot.com/main/view_item/item_id/1620045-Too-Many-People.)

Some are proposing that we ought to return to the Moon in the next ten years. Others stress that Mars ought to be our next major goal in space. Recently, emphasis is shifting to commercial space exploration.

I will suggest that a logical progression is needed. We have the International Space Station where five or six people live pretty much throughout the year. Should we jump over Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Lunar Orbit (LO) and go to Mars? I will suggest that we should learn to live, work and play in space near our home planet where we have readily accessible resources before venturing to other planets, other than with robotic probes from which we have learned much.

Here are some thought-provoking reasons to go back to the Moon and establish a permanent human presence in LO (including at Lagrange points—gravitationally stable places with minimum station-keeping issues.)

1. Obtainable target for exploration, resource development and colonization
2. A very stable, natural space station
3. A good place to research, develop and build artificial 1-g habitats so necessary for our human physiology
4. Study low gravity effects on humans and develop procedures/processes for living in space
5. Lucrative mining operations, such as ores, minerals and helium-3 as well as a source of materials/construction base for L4-L5 (Earth-Moon Lagrange Points) habitats
6. Inexpensive launch capabilities, e.g., magnetic launchers from the Moon
7. Jumping off point for Mars; stepping stones to planets
8. Easier access to and maintenance of geosynchronous satellites (launch crews off the Moon’s 1/6g as opposed to Earth’s 1g gravity well)
9. A step toward colonizing the Solar System to provide needed living space and energy for a growing human population
10. Escape possible negative changes of Earth’s environment, i.e. climate change
11. Strategic defense or offense, both unfortunate ideas but part of the human condition including maybe “hardening” humanity against nuclear war
12. Optical astronomy, radio astronomy and solar research
13. Base to study the origins of the Earth, Moon and our Solar System
14. Potential source of greater international cooperation
15. Travel industry opportunities, e.g., lunar resorts
16. Real estate opportunities
17. Study Earth's ecological system, e.g. remote sensing
18. New low gravity sports
19. Medical research and care in low-g, especially for heart and burn patients
20. Nuclear physics research, accelerators and such
21. Industrial/manufacturing opportunities—vacuum, low gravity, temperature, 24/7 energy supply
22. Maybe safer nuclear waste disposal off-Earth (into the Sun?)
23. Opportunity for interesting social and cultural experimentation
24. Expand our civilization and nurture our minds
25. And, the single, most important reason, to avoid human extinction by having a significant, permanent gene pool living self-sufficiently off-Earth. That is the focus of my new nonfiction book (IS THERE TIME? See my video link:

Most of these reasons are material for a full article, or, even, a book. These are just a starter set of ideas for discussion around the dining table. How many more could you add to this list? If you are so inclined, let me know what you would add.

Would you want to live on the Moon or in an artificial habitat with Earth-like conditions? Would you like to take a vacation at a lunar resort? What type of lunar sports will be in a future Earth-System Olympics? What new job opportunities will become commonplace in space? How will people have fun?

Some of you or progeny may be the ones to live off the Earth finding new lives of opportunity throughout the Solar System. It’s never too early to begin dreaming and planning, at least in our mind’s eye.
© Copyright 2010 D. R. Prescott (donprescott at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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' Copyright 2008 D. R. Prescott (UN: donprescott at Writing.Com). All rights reserved. D. R. Prescott has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work. Questions or Comments? E-mail to prescottdc@sbcglobal.net
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