by Greg Matloff, C. Bangs, Les Johnson
What was our planet like in years past? How has our civilization affected Earth and its ecology? Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth, the Second Edition of Paradise Regained: The Regreening of the Earth, begins by discussing these questions, and then generates a scenario for the restoration of Earth. It introduces new and innovative ideas on how we could use Solar System and its resources for terrestrial benefit.
The environmental challenges that face us today cannot be resolved by conservation and current technologies alone. Harvesting Space highlights the risk of humankind’s future extinction from environmental degradation. Population growth, global climate change, and maintaining sustainability of habitats for wildlife are all considered, among other issues.
Rather than losing heart, we need to realize that the solutions to these problems lie in being good stewards of the planet and in the development of space. Not only will the solutions offered here avert a crisis, they will also provide the basis for continued technological and societal progress. Tapping the resources of near-Earth asteroids will lead to methods of diverting those asteroids that threaten Earth. Space-based terrestrial power generation systems will work synergistically with Earth-based conservation.
This book needs to be read urgently and widely, if we are to save ourselves from environmental disaster, reduce the risk of catastrophic cosmic impacts, and build a prosperous and sustainable future for all the creatures of Earth.
The Earth is undergoing rapid climate change, humans are utilizing Earth's resources at an unprecedented rate. If the human population continues this way, we will see ourselves in even more trouble very soon. Matloff, Bangs and Johnson present a different type of solution to some of our climate-change and resource use issues upon the Earth; Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth gives plausible ideas for resource use from space and technology placed in space to assist those on Earth.
The bulk of the book acts as a primer on understanding basic scientific principles, our solar system, the evolution of life on Earth, human's use of the Earth, and climate change principles; all of this however goes to support their thesis that we need to stop polluting and using resources from the Earth and instead carry out processes, harvest resources and use technology in space. Since I studied most of this in school, it was a review for me, but it is written in a way that those not well-versed in science can easily understand. The ideas for harvesting resources from space and using space-based technology to help us on Earth were very interesting to me. In the book the authors describe two camps, and I easily fall into the environmentalist side, where I use less resources, reduce pollution and recycle everything. The author's side of the coin, space advocates, can work with my side, but their ideas were very out of the box for me. One of the proposed ideas was to place heavy industry and pollution-creating processes in a place that is inhospitable to life, like the moon. This idea is hard for me to come to terms with, not because of it's plausibility, but because of it's impact. One of the ideas I liked more was harvesting resources from Near Earth Objects, asteroids and comets that may contain up to a year's worth of iron in one object. These NEO's have also been shown to contain nickel, platinum, copper and gold. Some of these objects might come close to hitting the Earth and would have to be moved off that trajectory, the author's motto of "If we gotta move them, why not use them?" seems very wise. I was also highly intrigued by using solar shade and Dyson dots in space as a way of mitigating the climate change that is already happening. Of course, the catch and cost of these technologies was discussed. Overall, Harvesting Space offers new ideas that need to be readily explored and put into place in order to avoid the environmental downfall that humans are heading towards.
Dr. Greg Matloff, is a leading expert in possibilities for interstellar propulsion , especially near-Sun solar-sail trajectories that might ultimately enable interstellar travel. and is an emeritus and adjunct associate astronomy professor with the physics department of New York City College of Technology, CUNY, a consultant with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, a Hayden Associate of the American Museum of Natural History and a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics. He co-authored with Les Johnson of NASA and C Bangs Paradise Regained (2009), Living Off the Land in Space (2007) and has authored Deep-Space Probes (edition 1: 2000 and edition 2: 2005). As well as authoring More Telescope Power (2002), Telescope Power (1993), The Urban Astronomer (1991), he co-authored with Eugene Mallove The Starflight Handbook. (1989). His papers on interstellar travel, the search for extraterrestrial artifacts, and methods of protecting Earth from asteroid impacts have been published in JBIS, Acta Astronautica, Spaceflight, Space Technology, Journal of Astronautical Sciences, and Mercury. His popular articles have appeared in many publications, including Analog. In 1998, he won a $5000 prize in the international essay contest on ETI sponsored by the National Institute for Discovery Science. . He served on a November 2007 panel organized by Seed magazine to brief Congressional staff on the possibilities of a sustainable, meaningful space program. In 2011, he co-authored with C Bangs an artist’s book entitled Biosphere Extension: Solar System Resources for the Earth.
Professor Matloff is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and a Member of the International Academy of Astronautics. He has chaired many technical sessions and is listed in numerous volumes of Who’s Who. In 2008, he was honored as Scholar on Campus at New York City College of Technology. His most recent astronautics book, co-authored with Italian researcher Dr. Giovanni Vulpetti and Les Johnson, is Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel, Springer (2008). In addition to his interstellar-travel research, he has contributed to SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), modeling studies of human effects on Earth’s atmosphere, interplanetary exploration concept analysis, alternative energy, in-space navigation, and the search for extrasolar planets. His website is www.gregmatloff.com.
“The artist C Bangs and astronomer Greg Matloff are long time partners and collaborators whose mutual interests and complementary talents serve them well. For many years, Bangs has been the artist who provides the graphic interpretation of their scientific books, they have achieved another level; their work has never been so well integrated, as they have found a method where text and image become one, rather than one illustrating the other. The more esoteric points of Matloff’s research find an accessibility, while Bangs more than ever seamlessly offers us, through imagery, a lyrical telling of their story for the quest to access solar system resources for the Earth.” – Maddy Rosenberg, Central Booking Gallery, NYC
Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth, published by Springer, is due out this year.
Visit Bangs at her website, www.cbangs.com.
He is also the Senior Technical Advisor for NASA’s Advanced Concepts Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Les is the NASA Co-Investigator (Co-I) for the European Union’s Deploytech Solar Sail demonstration mission planned for launch in 2015. He was the NASA Co-I for the JAXA T-Rex Space Tether Experiment and PI of NASA’s ProSEDS Experiment. During his career at NASA, he served as the Manager for the Space Science Programs and Projects Office, the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program, and the Interstellar Propulsion Research Project. He thrice received NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal and has 3 patents.
Les is a frequent contributor to the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the National Space Society, the World Future Society, and MENSA. He serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for the British Interplanetary Society and is Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop. Les was the featured “interstellar explorer” in the January 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine and a technical consultant for the movie Europa Report.
Les earned his Master’s degree in physics from Vanderbilt University in 1986 and his Bachelor’s degree from Transylvania University in 1984.
Visit Les at his website, www.lesjohnsonauthor.com.