IMAGE: Visinda and Starfarer, avatars of Jennifer Bolton and Kim Peart, in the South Arm of the Space Pioneers' space station in Second Life, with a Brian Versteeg image of the Kalpana space habitat designed by Al Globus and associates.
Rising to the Challenge
Evidence is now thickening that human survival is in jeopardy on this planet.
To improve our survival options we need to secure a survival presence beyond Earth.
It first became possible to live in space in the 1960s, and ways were developed to build orbital cities and habitats in space in the 1970s.
All the problems that we now face on Earth would have been avoided entirely, if we had reached for the stars by the 1980s.
In this document I explore the problems that present a risk to our survival, the need for swift action, and how ordinary people on Earth can work together to create a stellar future.
A MISSED OPPORTUNITY
At the time explorers from Earth were landing on the Moon, the Princeton physics professor, Gerard K. O’Neill, began working on a blueprint for space settlement.
This began as a student project, and when O’Neill found the concepts worked, he submitted a paper to peer review scrutiny, with the document finally being published in 1974. 
The paper, called The Colonization of Space, was later expanded into a book published in 1977, called The High Frontier. 
O’Neill proposed that orbital habitats be built in space, which would generate an Earth gravity via rotation.
He presented the concept before a United States Senate subcommittee, saw studies made by NASA, and 15,000 would-be space settlers were attracted to the vision with the L5 Society.
O’Neill suggested that, "Almost anything can be done in a ten year period, when we set our minds to it.” 
Considering how the United States had mobilised during the Second World War to defeat the German and Japanese empires, brought together half a million workers to create the first atomic bomb with the Manhattan Project, and mobilized half a million workers to win the race to the Moon, O’Neill had solid historic evidence in mind when making that suggestion.
Unfortunately, the missing element was too little political and popular support for space settlement in the 1970s.
The 15,000 members of the L5 Society were too few to inspire a nation to mobilise for a space settlement program.
As a consequence of too little political interest, human space exploration has remained in low Earth orbit since Eugene Cernan stepped from the lunar surface to return to Earth in 1972.
A later shift in focus to Mars colonization gathered global interest, but no program has yet delivered human feet onto the red planet.
A RUSSIAN SURPRISE
In October 2016 the Russian businessman and former leading arms designer for the Kremlin, Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, launched a proposal for a nation in space, to be called Asgardia, which attracting over half a million would-be space settlers in a couple of weeks.
Numbers have since fallen, and Asgardia is now referred to as a kingdom, which implies a king, so whether this single-nation approach will deliver a city in space, remains to be seen.
The Asgardia space nation proposal revealed that there are a large number of people around the World who were now interested in space settlement, and who were prepared to sign up for a future in space.
A well-presented vision using today’s technology could hope to attract ten million and more space pioneers in ten months, or less, and each space pioneer could be directly engaged in the mission, with hands-on action helping to build a city in space.
Ten million determined space pioneers may prove to be a critical number to mobilise for a human space program.
Past experience has shown that the best drafted plans on Earth will count for naught, if the vision lacks a critical level of political and popular support.
With a fully democratic approach, we can take O’Neill at his word, and look toward creating an Earth-gravity orbital city in space by 2029.
BUILDING AN ORBITAL CITY IN SPACE
Once O’Neill’s blueprint for space had been published, work on the design and engineering of orbital space habitats continued from the 1970s to the present time.
One of the latest concepts is the Kalpana design proposed by Al Globus and his team of space engineers. 
Kalpana can be built, if we are willing to rise to the challenge, win support, refine the plan and raise the funds needed to do the work.
With a view to delivery by 2029, the design work will need to be finalised in 2019, the year when work would commence.
To achieve this objective, mining in space will access raw materials, solar power stations provide the power, and industry be established to do the work.
Most of the work will be the province of robots, which would be managed with remote control systems from Earth, and later from workstations in space.
TEN MILLION SPACE PIONEERS
One person can have a great idea, and two people can share a vision.
Should ten determined individuals form a team to launch this project, their determination will inspire others to participate.
To overcome political obstacles, a support base of ten million and more space pioneers can be aimed for.
We can design a program that can build living space in space for ten million and more people.
Getting established in space will be expensive, but once a sustainable industrial presence is established beyond Earth, there will be no further call on resources from Earth.
Beyond a sustainable industrial presence beyond Earth, there will be an infinite return on the investment, from across the Solar System and among the stars.
In my 2006 document, Creating a Solar Civilization, I describe the sustainable industrial presence beyond Earth as the Liberty Line. 
In space the Sun is a virtually infinite energy well, with so much fuel in reserve, it will burn fiercely over the next 5 billion years, until expanding to the orbit of the Earth as a red giant star.
With the energy of the Sun in space, we can do any work, create any dream, and the closer a power station is located to the Sun, the greater the power gained.
The real gold in space is the Sun.
The power of the Sun will be used to process near-Earth asteroids and resources mined on the Moon.
Beyond Mars there are millions of asteroids in the Asteroid Belt, and as many again in the orbital LaGrange areas of Jupiter.
Then further out, "Beyond the orbit of Neptune are the trans-Neptunian objects - millions of icy bodies, held in cold storage. Finally, stretching halfway to the nearest star, is the Oort cloud, thought to contain more than ten trillion cometary nuclei.” 
In space there are no limits to expansion, while on Earth there are limits to growth, but we humans keep breaking all the limits.
The best medicine for the health of the Earth, is for human civilization to expand into space, where there is direct access to the power of the Sun, and from where we will be able to deal with all problems on Earth.
With human progress and industry relocated to space, we will be able to step gently on the home planet, and allow the Earth to recover from the centuries of human industry and progress.
For the sake of the Earth, for the sake of human survival, and for the sake of human advancement and creativity, we need to shift our main environment from Earth into space, and as swiftly as possible.
To paraphrase Neil Armstrong when he stepped onto the Moon in 1969, we need to make a "giant leap” into the future.
With a view to the Liberty Line, there is a powerful incentive to inspire ten million and more space pioneers to rise to the challenge.
Beyond the Liberty Line, there is a future free of poverty, in space and on Earth, where we draw on the infinite wealth created in space to drive amazing levels of human advancement and unbridled flights of personal creativity.
This is a future where the ancient violence of Earth will be transformed into peace in space, and peace will open the way to creativity among the stars.
The ways of space will shape a different path for human civilization, and these different celestial ways will flow back to Earth, even as we mobilise for our “giant leap” into the future.
Our challenge is to identify the swiftest way to secure the Liberty Line, and at the least cost.
Though the “giant leap” will be costly, by securing the Liberty Line, we will open the way to a future where there will be no further cost for space development.
Should ten million and more space pioneers rise to the challenge of the “giant Leap”, by securing the Liberty Line we will be able to create living space in space for ten million and more space pioneers.
With machines created to do the work, ample resources from the Moon and asteroids, and unlimited energy from the Sun, we will be able to create living space in space for all the people of Earth, and the shuttle craft to bring them to the arks in space, should a crisis strike the Earth, or a monster asteroid threaten the home planet.
A CITY OF PEACE IN SPACE
At present it is not lawful under space law for a nation to claim territory in space.
This may change in the future, but at present any nation seeking to expand their territory into space, cannot do so without breaking the law.
One way around this problem could be to establish a United Nations trust territory, open to the citizens of all nations, visa permitting, and be a city of peace among the stars.
With a view to a future in space that is free of poverty and abundant in creativity, an entirely new form of human society would evolve.
Will there be money in space, when the power of the Sun will allow us to do any work and create any dream, where there are more robots than people, and where automated factories can produce any product needed?
The currency of space may be creativity, with all basic needs being met for every citizen.
In space we can be one very large family, which cares for the needs of each citizen, and provides opportunities for personal creativity.
The space society would extend back to Earth, using the wealth of space to send poverty into history, and provide the tools for humans to live in harmony with Nature.
The benefits that industry in space will offer to Earth will win favour and political support from citizens and governments on Earth.
If space is the way to peace, then a “giant leap” to the Liberty Line would be the best way to avoid war on Earth, which we now run the risk of sliding into nuclear madness, should political tit for tat trip beyond reason.
SECOND AND THIRD SPACE CITIES
Once the first orbital space city is designed and the program launched, design teams for the second and third space cities can be formed.
Some cities in space may be small, some may be as large as O’Neill imagined, ten miles long.
Our only limitation in space is our ability to imagine and our willingness to work.
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF EARTH GRAVITY
The gravity we experience on Earth is generated by the mass of the Earth, which pulls us toward the centre of the Earth.
It is the ground we stand on that stops our fall into the centre of the Earth.
Humans have evolved in an Earth gravity environment, where our bones, muscles and organs are in balance with the attraction of the Earth.
Some mammals that evolved on land have gone back into the sea, to be whales and dolphins.
The buoyancy experienced in the oceans has often been compared to the weightlessness of space, and diving is used as part of astronaut training.
When humans venture into space at present, they are like mammals going back into the sea.
If humans moved permanently into the weightlessness of space, they would swiftly become a new species of human, and may be unable to return to Earth.
Rather than become space dolphins and lose access to Earth, we can build habitats that generate an Earth gravity via rotation, called centrifugal force.
This can be demonstrated with water in a bucket swung around on a rope, where the water stays in the bucket due to the outward force being generated.
In space a wheel or drum that is rotating at the right rate, will generate an Earth gravity on the inside surface.
The experience of gravity on the Earth’s surface and on the inside of a turning wheel or drum in space, are both the experience of weight due to a suspended fall.
We can wonder if in the future the denizens of space will require an Earth gravity health certificate to be able to visit Earth.
THE MARS GRAVITRY PROBLEM
Mars has a third of Earth’s gravity, so anyone living or born on the red planet, would have health and safety issues if they wished to visit Earth, or any Earth gravity orbital habitat in space.
For a Martian to visit Earth, it would be like anyone from Earth stepping onto a planet with three times Earth’s gravity.
The mere thought of so much more weight is quite unpleasant, and the reality would be a risk of breaking bones with a fall, difficulty moving around, and extra strain on the heart and other internal organs.
If an Earth gravity fitness certificate is required to visit Earth, or other Earth gravity space cities, this clearance could be secured at Mars, by having an Earth gravity space city in orbit above the red planet.
Human activity around asteroids, on the Moon, and with Mars could see workers being stationed in space cities, and working on the surface via remote control robots.
Much work on the surface would be automated, so visits to the ground could be more about recreation and cultural activities.
Considering the potential beyond the Liberty Line to do any work, and create any dream, there would be no limitation on the building of Earth gravity cities in space to meet all needs.
Earth gravity cities in space would be able to offer the best of all worlds, from an Earth gravity at the rim, to a Mars gravity at a level toward the hub, a Moon gravity further in again, and micro gravity in the hub, as well as access to the liberty of space.
A TERRESTRIAL ECONOMY WITHOUT POVERTY
In space, everything will be different.
Beyond the Liberty Line we will have the power of the Sun and the resources of the Solar System to do any work, and create any dream.
Free of the limitations found on Earth, we will be able to create a far more advanced society.
If the political and popular will to act on space settlement had been there in the 1970s, imagine how more advanced our civilization would be now.
Terrestrial politics has cheated the children of Earth out of quite an amazing future, leaving a planet with entrenched poverty and conflicts over land and resources, and with a growing number of nuclear-armed nations.
On Earth humankind lives a totally unsustainable lifestyle, which is driving the sixth great extinction of life on Earth.
Climate change, driven by global warming, and caused by burning too much fossil fuel for too long, is becoming our greatest threat.
Fossil fuel can be viewed as a transition energy, until we could shift to the power of the Sun in space.
Once a commitment is made to create a future in space, the stellar economy can be designed, and how it will work investigated.
If we can create a stellar economy without poverty, why wouldn’t we do that?
A stellar economy that benefits all citizens on Earth, can only be built on the power of the Sun in space, and the resources available across the Solar System.
At present the economic approach on Earth employs poverty to drive growth, so that some people can grab a larger share of the planet pie, and a few people make an absolute killing, while too many people must go without.
This is a greed-driven growth without compassion.
Before Adam Smith published his tome on economics, The Wealth of Nations (1776), he wrote a work on compassion entitled The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), which "provided the ethical, philosophical, psychological, and methodological underpinnings to Smith's later works, including The Wealth of Nations.” 
Smith later began working on a theory of politics, but found that politics could not be nailed down in that way, abandoned the project and burnt all his notes, so no work could later be produced from them.
The World ran with Smith’s ideas on wealth, but largely lost sight of the need for compassion.
The Industrial Revolution created great wealth, but ways to fairly share the wealth were not worked out, allowing poverty for many to become a life trap.
In theory, anyone could aspire to gain wealth, but in reality, this didn’t happen, and the poor became blamed for their plight, and if anyone committed a crime, even a minor misdemeanour, they could find themselves being transported from England to a colony as a convict slave.
After the nations had been through two terrible wars, better ways were worked out in the United Nations, with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed by all members in 1948, which states in Article 23, "(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.” 
At the time it was believed that a fairer world would help keep peace on Earth, and avoid another terrible war.
As the automation and Internet revolutions progressed, greater wealth was created, and fewer workers were needed, but the wealth created was not fairly shared.
Yet again, the role of compassion was conveniently swept aside in wealthy nations like Australia, with an economic practice emerging that relied on around 5% official unemployment to maintain growth.
In an article by Rose-Marie Stampe and David Fryer this practice is described as, “The Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment is a term used by economists and politicians to refer to the level of unemployment, between 4% and 6%, considered necessary to prevent inflation taking off.” 
The system created results in entrenched poverty, which in a wealthy nation like Australia, is quite crazy, but serves to keep workers in fear of ending up in the ranks of the unemployed, under-employed, or homeless.
The situation becomes even more bizarre when we find that thousands of ex-service personnel, have fallen into the trap of unemployment and homelessness. 
With a flimsy and tattered flag of compassion, a cruel bureaucracy is created in Australia to control the poor, using methods of discipline, punishment and humiliation, like a reverse convict system, offering no hope.
In this negative social environment, the dawning robot revolution is set to sweep away half of current paid work over the next couple of decades. 
With compassion subdued and no systems functioning to be fair to all, the current level of under-employment, unemployment, poverty, homelessness and petty crime can be expected to grow, as more people are left without income or hope.
Some nations, like Norway, worked out a way to build a better future, by using the wealth gained from North Sea oil to invest in the future of the nation.
Australia has been through a decades-long minerals boom, but has not ensured that the bounty was invested in the future of the nation, allowing the wealth gained to be syphoned away and out of the nation.
This political failure leaves Australia on shaky ground with an uncertain future, and a shameful level of poverty.
Being homeless is not a glamorous experience, and can involve severe violence, and for many, an early death on the street.
Wayne Robinson tells of his experience of being homeless, and also how he found hope.
"I've had every bone in my body broken. I've been stabbed. I nearly died on several occasions. What you see (on the streets) is the evil life of society.” 
That “evil life of society” is created, when the focus is on greed, where some must be poor, so others can have more, and some make an absolute killing.
Every citizen should feel the rage, that they have been tricked out of a future with greater prosperity in space, and made part of a system that inflicts suffering on the poor and the homeless.
Anyone who feels that rage, can act and reach to the stars, where the solution to poverty, locally and globally, lies in the power of the Sun.
A STELLAR ECONOMY
As we chart a path from a terrestrial to a stellar economy, we can observe some practical basics.
Finland solved their problem with homelessness, by building homes. 
The Finish Government found that it cost less to provide homes than to finance shelters, and once a person had their own home, it was possible to address other problems in life.
In a similar way, applied compassion can be put to work to provide work with a minimum wage, with a government employment guarantee.
Claire Connelly wrote on this, "A job guarantee program would act as a "Buffer Stock Mechanism" - a term coined by Australian economist Bill Mitchell, Professor of Economics at the University of Newcastle - to describe stabilising the cost of labour.” 
A wealthy nation like Australia could decide to share, and find reasons to ensure that the riches from mineral wealth are used to build a fair nation for all citizens, free of poverty.
Solving the poverty problem globally will require a game-changer, which can happen in the form of securing the Liberty Line in space, and begin to create a fairer world on Earth.
The sooner the Liberty Line is secured in space, the sooner poverty will be history on Earth.
Some business leaders now favour a Universal Basic Income, including the head of SpaceX, Elon Musk, as a way to counter the robot revolution. 
In a stellar economy there could be a basic survival income given to all citizens, because this will become possible.
All citizens able to work could be employed, with a minimum wage, which will then set the standard for wages paid to all workers.
Free enterprise companies will then have to pay more than the minimum wage to attract workers.
In this future, having a home can be seen as a basic human right.
For the enterprising and the creative, there would be no limit to the wealth that can be created, and no limit to expansion in space.
With unlimited wealth, education and health care can be freely available to all citizens.
The main challenge will be to create ways to inspire and motivate.
We can begin designing a stellar economy now, and look toward ways to start building it, as we strive on Earth for a future in space.
One calculation that can be made, is the value of the wealth that can be created in one year with the power of the Sun and the resources of the Solar System, once there is a sustainable industrial presence beyond Earth.
How many trillions of dollars would this calculation reveal?
This sum can now be viewed as wealth pending that can benefit every citizen on Earth.
It will be the wise and compassionate use of celestial wealth that will end poverty on Earth, and this will build peace and avoid war.
SPACE AS THE KEY TO PEACE
In my 2006 document I suggest that security in space is best delivered, by building peace on Earth. 
This is because in space human habitats are fragile bubbles in a vacuum, all too easily burst from within or without by conflict and or terrorism.
The best way to deliver security in space, is to build peace on Earth, so that conflicts and violence on Earth will be history.
If this observation proves correct, then if humankind seeks to succeed in space without building peace on Earth, violence and or conflict may make space settlement too dangerous to be viable, and leave all human dreams trapped on Earth.
Being trapped on third rock from the Sun may be a negative outcome for human evolution, shrinking all survival options.
All who rise to the challenge creating a future in space, and accept the need to improve security in space by building peace on Earth, can consider using the wealth created in space to deal with poverty on Earth.
Offering all Earth’s children freedom from poverty, will win the hearts of parents.
To achieve this objective can be the mission of ten million and more space pioneers, aiming to win the Liberty Line within ten years.
If this mission is not achieved swiftly, it may never happen.
As space pioneers engage in the mission to reach the stars, they can also work toward offering ways out of poverty for people on Earth now.
This will be tough work, but also offer hope.
By working with the homeless and the poor, as they work toward winning the stars, space pioneers will show a new way to improve human society.
On Earth alone, solutions to all problems elude communities and governments.
When space is added to the social toolkit, solutions can be found for all problems.
On Earth alone humankind is trapped in a downward spiral of strife.
By expanding beyond Earth, the trap is broken and liberty is won.
AVOIDING NUCLEAR WAR
On Earth at present tempers are rising between North Korea and the United States, as North Korea seeks to increase its defence and deterrence capability with nuclear weapons.
North Korea has recently fired a rocket higher into space than the International Space Station.
Could space offer a way to around the North Korea nuclear problem?
Rather than relying on the military stick, which could trigger a wider nuclear war, could a space carrot deliver peace?
If the nations rise to the challenge of creating a future in space, North Korea could be invited to participate, if they will work toward peace on Earth.
The promise of a more exciting future in space can be the way to find a viable solution to many geopolitical problems on Earth.
IF THE NUKES START FALLING
If China and or Russia feel forced to strike with nuclear weapons, conflict would be swift and follow a plan worked out long ago.
The eyes in the sky are likely to be first strike targets, to blind the enemy.
Blowing up satellites in space may also lead to a long predicted event, shown in the movie ‘Gravity’, where space debris flying at high velocity strike other satellites and space stations, causing them to break up, leading to more high velocity space junk striking other satellites, until there are no working satellites left above Earth.
Our civilization would be blinded without satellites, and even air travel may be too dangerous, with high velocity space debris flying in.
Access to space would be difficult, or impossible, for hundreds of years.
The collapse that follows may be permanent.
With no satellite surveillance, nations may panic and fire nuclear weapons, falling into a nuclear night.
There is an outside chance that all-out nuclear war could be avoided, and the satellites saved, if nuclear strikes are limited, peace negotiations swiftly offered, and a new world order defined.
The outcome would see American military bases removed from the borders of China and Russia, and a stronger forward defence position for both nations.
The United States could agree, rather than risk losing everything in an all-out nuclear war.
Space development would be able to continue.
I have explored this scenario in an article called ‘World War???’ 
Once nuclear weapons are used, it will be more likely that escalation will deliver nuclear madness.
THE CARBON CRISIS
Carbon in the air as carbon dioxide (CO2) keeps the Earth warm by absorbing reflected radiation, and releasing the heat back into the air, creating a heat blanket.
The higher the level of CO2 in the air, the more effective the heat blanket in the atmosphere, and the higher the average temperature of the Earth.
The Earth system has the ability to keep carbon in balance, so the Earth doesn’t get too hot or too cold for life, a task that gets harder every millennia as the Sun gets hotter.
Carbon is naturally sequestered in rocks like limestone, in coal and oil, and in permafrost and methane hydrate deposits on the ocean floor.
The Industrial Revolution, which led to space development, put coal and oil to work and released sequestered carbon into the air as CO2.
It takes a long time for the level of CO2 in the air to cause the Earth’s temperature to rise, but when this happens, it takes a long time to turn that change around.
Once released, CO2 can remain in the air for centuries, so continued release simply drives the future temperature rise.
Scientists have known about the CO2 problem for over a century, which was reported on in a local newspaper in New Zealand in 1912, declaring, "The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year. When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly. This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its temperature. The effect may be considerable in a few centuries.” 
Most politicians have astutely ignored the CO2 problem, which was totally avoidable.
In 1968 Dr Peter Glaser worked out the way to harvest the Sun’s power in space, and was granted the patent on this in 1973. 
O’Niell planned to employ the sale of space based solar power to terrestrial grids and wrote of this approach to power generation in 1977, "If this development comes to pass, we will find ourselves here on Earth with a clean energy source, and we will further improve our environment by saving, each year, over a billion tons of fossil fuels”. 
Instead of rising to the challenge of space settlement, and energy transition out of fossil fuels, the nations chose to ignore the consequences of burning too much fossil fuel for too long.
In 2009 James Lovelock, the author of the Gaia Theory, warned that too much CO2 had been released into the air, and as a consequence we would see a sudden heat rise, making much of the Earth uninhabitable. 
Heat kills, especially when combined with a high level of humidity, leading to a collapse of internal organs.
Heat death can come on suddenly, even for fit, young and healthy people.
Then there is the problem of no longer being able to grow food in an environment gone too hot and unpredictable for many crops.
Also in 2009, the world’s leading climate scientist, James Hansen, concluded that the Earth’s temperature rise above pre-industrial levels needed to be kept below 1.5C, which was possible if CO2 in the air was kept below 350 parts per million (ppm). 
There is one problem with Hansen’s conclusion: as he refers to a level of CO2 in the air that was passed in the 1980s, which is now going beyond 405 ppm, and is rising at 3 ppm per annum, a rate that is accelerating.
A MESSAGE FROM THE ICE AGE
To understand the implications of the current and rising level of CO2 in the air, we can consider the last ice age, when atmospheric CO2 was around 180 ppm, the temperature a few degrees lower, and the sea level 120 metres down.
The difference between the Ice Age and the past few millennia was quite a huge change over what appears to be quite a small rise in atmospheric CO2, going to around 270 ppm.
This was an increase of 90 ppm CO2 in the air.
Add another 90 ppm CO2, and that is the level passed in the 1990s, of 360 ppm.
We can now wonder if a rise of 90 ppm CO2 in the air, reached in the 1990s, is quite enough to drive temperature rise that would melt all remaining ice, sending the sea level up by a further 70 metres.
We can also wonder if all additional CO2 rise in the air above 360 ppm, will simply mean future heat rise, especially when there is no ice left to absorb the rising heat.
When we accept that what appears to be quite a small rises in CO2 in the air, actually makes a huge difference to the Earth’s temperature rise, then we can begin to grasp Lovelock’s warning of a rapid rise in Earth's temperature to a permanently hotter environment.
Is the World sleepwalking into a carbon apocalypse?